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HQ 964506

January 8, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964506 BJB


TARIFF NO.: 8528.21.65

Port Director of Customs
U.S. Customs Service
555 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94126

RE: Protest 2809-00-100559; In-vehicle video monitor

Dear Port Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 2809-00-100559, filed by Sharp Electronics Corporation (“protestant”), concerning the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”), of a liquid crystal display (“LCD”) module described as an “LCD color video monitor.”

In preparing this decision, consideration was given to supplemental submissions of August 31, 2000, November 7, and December 13, 2001, submitted by protestant’s counsel. A sample of the LCD display panel was also provided.


The subject merchandise is a thin film transistor (“TFT”) active matrix liquid crystal display panel (“LCD”) module, model LQ064A5CG01, with a display diagonal of 6.4 inches. This constitutes a diagonal measurement that does not exceed 34.29 centimeters. The display panel screen has a 480 x 234 pixel matrix, which produces a full color, high resolution, image in red, green and blue (“RGB”) stripe configuration. Attached to the LCD panel is a printed circuit board with driver integrated circuits, a plastic diffuser panel, and a backlight, all of which are encased in a metal housing (“bezel”).

Protestant states that the module is to be used as a color video monitor for an “in-vehicle video-cassette player.” The module contains a built-in video interface circuit at the time of importation and can only receive video signals conforming to the composite NTSC system format. The driver
electronics are also specifically designed to generate points of light synchronously with the source signal on the LCD display screen. The module does not incorporate a television type radio frequency (“RF”) tuner. It is not capable of receiving television broadcast signals or radio signals as imported.

Counsel for the protestant states that the module is not exclusively designed for use in one specific “in-vehicle” video monitor player system, and that it may be adapted to other systems using a video monitor. Sharp designs this LCD module pursuant to specific customer needs.

LCD modules are dedicated to their respective functions by their design, as dictated by: pixel size and configuration, voltage requirements, resolution, backlighting applications, National Television Systems Committee (“NTSC”) signal receiver and/or radio frequency antenna capability. The present module has a 10-pin electrical connection configuration. This configuration does not include a pin for an RF antenna connection. However, the module does include a pin connection that is composite NTSC video signal compatible and enables it to demodulate video signals. The NTSC standard provides for a broadcast bandwidth of approximately 4-6 megahertz. A module that is composite NTSC standard compatible alone, would not be capable of demodulating GPS signals that are limited to transmission on two substantially higher L-band frequencies (1575 MHz, and 1227 MHz). The present module, as entered, is not capable of demodulating signals transmitted at GPS frequencies.

When the module is plugged-in at its 10-pin electrical connector, and video signals are supplied from a video-cassette player/recorder, video camera, or DVD player equipment, video images will appear on the module’s LCD display panel.

The merchandise was entered on September 26, and 29, 1999, under subheading 8528.21.65, as “video monitors with an LCD panel.” These entries were liquidated on August 11, and 17, 2000, under subheading 9013.80.90, HTSUS, as “liquid crystal displays not elsewhere specified.” The protest was timely filed on August 25, 2000.


Whether the subject LCD module is classifiable in heading 8528, HTSUS, which provides for “video monitors,” or in heading 8531, HTSUS, which provides for “visual signaling apparatus;” or in heading 9013, HTSUS, which provides for “liquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings”?


We note initially that the protest was timely filed under the statutory and regulatory provisions for protests, 19 U.S.C. 1514(c)(3)(A) and 19 CFR 174.12(e)(1).

Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRIs”). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes (ENs), although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 98-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8528 Reception apparatus for television, whether or not incorporating radiobroadcast receivers or sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus; video monitors and video projectors: Video monitors:

8528.21 Color:
With a flat panel screen:

With a video display diagonal not exceeding 34.29 cm

Electric sound or visual signaling apparatus (for example, bells, sirens, indicator panels, burglar or fire alarms), other than those of heading 8512 or 8530; parts thereof:

Indicator panels incorporating liquid crystal devices (LCD’s) or light emitting diodes (LED’s) . . . . .

Liquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings; lasers, other than laser diodes; other optical appliances and instruments, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts and accessories thereof:

Other devices, appliances and instruments:


Protestant claims that the principal use of this model LCD module is as a “video monitor,” provided for in heading 8528, HTSUS. As noted above, protestant submitted a sample, sales information, and specifications, all in support of its claim that the module is for use as a video monitor with an “in-vehicle” videotape cassette player/entertainment center. However, principal use as a “video monitor” is not required for classification in heading 8528, HTSUS. See HQ 961466, dated April 6, 1999. Rather, classification of the instant monitor in heading 8528 depends on its technical capabilities.

Heading 8528, HTSUS, in pertinent part, provides eo nomine for “video monitors.” EN 85.28 provides the following:

“This heading covers television receivers (including video monitors and video projectors), whether or not incorporating radio-broadcast receivers or sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus.

The heading includes: . . .

(6) Video monitors which are receivers connected directly to the video camera or recorder by means of co-axial cables, so that all the radio-frequency circuits are eliminated. They are used by television companies or for closed-circuit television (airports, railway stations, steel plants, hospitals, etc.). These apparatus consist essentially of devices which can generate a point of light and display it on a screen synchronously with the source signals. They incorporate one or more video amplifiers with which the intensity of the point can be coded in accordance with a particular standard (NTSC, SECAM, PAL, D-MAC, etc.). For reception of coded signals, the monitor must be equipped with a decoding devices covering (the separation of) the R, G, and B signals. The most common means of image reconstitution is the cathode-ray tube, for direct vision, or a projector with up to three projection cathode-ray tubes: however, other monitors achieve the same objective by different means (e.g., liquid crystal screens, diffraction of light rays on to a film of oil).”

As noted above, the module is a complete monitor, with a TFT matrix liquid crystal display, an electrical connector, and built-in video interface circuit. It generates a point of light and displays that point on a screen synchronously with the source signals. The module has a 10-pin electrical connector for connection to a video-cassette player or recorder (“VCP” or “VCR”) by multiple-pin ribbon. This method of connection serves to eliminate radio frequency (“RF”) circuits as described in EN 85.28. The built-in video interface circuit enables the module to receive and display composite NTSC standard video signals on its display panel. These specifications indicate that the module is a “video monitor.”

However, protestant also advertises LCD module #LQ064A5CG01 on its Internet website as “ideal for automotive navigation systems and rear seat entertainment center displays.” The specifications for this article listed there is entitled: “Sharp model LQ064A5CG01,” “Color TFT-LCD Module [for] (LCD TV/Car Navigation).”

Use of this module specifically with global positioning systems (“GPS”) is not mentioned in protestant’s submitted specifications and sales information. Counsel’s August 31, 2000 letter does, however, state that the module may be used for other purposes, or in conjunction with other systems.

Heading 8531, HTSUS, provides in pertinent part for “electric sound or visual signaling apparatus.]” EN 85.31 provides that indicator panels, “are used (e.g., in offices, hotels and factories) for calling personnel, indicating where a certain person or service is required, indicating whether a room is free or not.

They include:

Room indicators. These are large panels with numbers corresponding to a number of rooms. . . .

Number indicators. The signals appear as illuminated figures on the face of a small box; in some apparatus of this kind the calling mechanism is operated by the dial of a telephone. Also clock type indicators in which the numbers are indicated by a hand moving round a dial.

Office indicators, for example, those used to indicate whether the occupant of a particular office is free or not . . .

Lift indicators. These indicate, on an illuminated board, where the lift is and whether it is going up or down . . .”

These examples demonstrate that only a small amount of information can be displayed and remain within the scope of “visual signaling apparatus” of heading 8531. See HQs 960110 and 959945, dated November 19, 1997; 957723, dated June 2, 1995; 955062, dated March 21, 1994; and 955294, dated March 18, 1994.

The sales literature shows the module in use as a video monitor. The module has a high resolution capability, with 480 x 234 pixel density, and a demonstrated capacity to display video signals in motion. The module is not limited to visual signaling of a few characters, and is therefore not classifiable in heading 8531, HTSUS. It is made for processing video signals, and accomplishes this through the presence of a built-in video interface circuit. Moreover, it can only receive video signals conforming to the composite NTSC system format.

Customs classified this merchandise under heading 9013, HTSUS, which provides for “[l]iquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings[.]” In Sharp Microelectronics Technology, Inc. v. United States, 932 F. Supp. 1499 (CT 1996), aff’d., 122 F. 3d 1446 (CAFC 1997), this provision was interpreted to mean that if the subject merchandise is provided for more specifically in another heading, it would not be classifiable in heading 9013, HTSUS. See also HQ 960110, dated November 19, 1997, and 959175, dated November 25, 1996. In this case, the module is more specifically provided for in heading 8528, at GRI 1, as a “video monitor.”

Our determination is supported by New York Ruling (“NY”) F80459, dated December 14, 1999, which classified a TFT active matrix LCD module, with a display diagonal of 6.4 inches, without television tuner but capable of receiving NTSC standard video signals, and designed for use with an “in-vehicle” VCP or VCR, in subheading 8528.21.65, HTSUS.


The Sharp LCD module, Model LQ064A5CG01, for use as a “video monitor” with an “in-vehicle” video-cassette player, is classifiable in subheading 8528.21.65, HTSUS, which provides for: “Reception apparatus for television, whether or not incorporating radio broadcast receivers or sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus; video monitors and video projectors: Video monitors: Color: With a flat panel screen: Other: With a video display diagonal not exceeding 34.29 cm.”

The protest should be ALLOWED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision. Sixty (60) days from the date of the decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director

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