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HQ 965903

November 19, 2002

CLA-2: RR:CR:GC 965903 DBS


TARIFF NO.: 9013.80.90

Mr. Daniel Ninedorf
Specialized Camera Sales & Services, LLC
N4068 Co Rd ZZ
Montello, WI 53949

RE: CoroSMART and CoroCAMs I, II, III and IV viewers and cameras

Dear Mr. Ninedorf:

This is in response to your letter of September 4, 2002, to the Director, Commercial Ruling Division, requesting the classification of certain ultraviolet and bispectoral viewers and cameras, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The instant merchandise consists of five types of corona inspection cameras, CoroSMART and CoroCAM Models I, II, III and IV (the CoroCAM series, collectively). They are used to inspect corona discharge activities on high voltage equipment. They operate in the ultraviolet and visible light ranges.

The CoroSMART is described as the most basic corona-viewing camera in the CoroCAM series. It is a filtered ultraviolet viewer that works like a telescope by pointing the camera at the object under observation and viewing the image through the eyepiece. It has no video output. It is used for quick inspections.

The CoroCAM I is described as a filtered ultraviolet camera used for corona detection, with an eyepiece or optional liquid crystal display (LCD). It is designed for on-site inspections. It includes video output for recording the displayed images of the corona and the object viewed.

The CoroCAM II is described as being designed as a research corona detection tool to provide the engineer with real-time pictorial corona information. It is the highest sensitivity ultraviolet camera with desktop computer control for corona image grabbing and sizing of the corona volume in each image or frame of video. The CoroCAM II software database allows for capture and management of data.

The CoroCAM III is described as being designed for indoor or low-light level electrical corona on-site inspections and to extend the working hours of the CoroCAM I to include dawn and dusk. It produces a video image of the corona and the object.

The CoroCAM IV can detect and display corona discharges in the brightest daylight conditions through the use of special optics. It switches between “as seen” images and the corona images, and has a video output for recording.

The CoroSMART, the CoroCAM I, CoroCAM III and CoroCAM IV are battery-powered portable devices imported and used to locate electrical coronas by industry, electric utilities and service companies. The CoroCAM II was designed for research and development purposes.

In your letter requesting a classification ruling, you stated the cameras were previously being entered incorrectly under heading 9006, HTSUS, as other photographic cameras. You suggest the cameras are properly classifiable in heading 9027, HTSUS, as instruments for measuring or checking quantity of light.


What is the tariff classification under the HTSUS of the 5 cameras?


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that articles are to be classified by the terms of the headings and relative Section and Chapter Notes. For an article to be classified in a particular heading, the heading must describe the article, and not be excluded therefrom by any legal note. In the event that 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 (ENs) may be utilized. ENs, though not dispositive or legally binding, provide commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

9006 Photographic (other than cinematographic) cameras; photographic flashlight apparatus and flashbulbs other than discharge lamps of heading 8539; parts and accessories thereof:

9006.59 Other:

9006.59.90 Valued over $10 each

9013 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:

9013.80 Other devices, appliances and instruments:

9013.80.90 Other

9027 Instruments and apparatus for physical or chemical analysis (for example, polarimeters, refractometers, spectrometers, gas or smoke analysis apparatus); instruments and apparatus for measuring or checking viscosity, porosity, expansion, surface tension or the like; instruments and apparatus for measuring or checking quantities of heat, sound or light (including exposure meters); microtomes; parts and accessories thereof:

9027.50 Other instruments and apparatus using optical radiations (ultraviolet, visible, infrared):

9027.50.40 Electrical

Heading 9006, HTSUS, covers photographic cameras. EN 90.06 states that the heading "does not apply to apparatus consisting of an instrument equipped to record images by photographic means, but essentially designed for some other purpose, e.g., a telescope, microscope, spectrograph, stroboscope." Though several of the instruments incorporate a video output, they do not record by photographic means, nor are they designed to do so. They are designed to detect and observe corona discharges. Therefore, we agree that the classification of these cameras in heading 9006, HTSUS, in incorrect.

You contend that the CoroCAM line of cameras are classifiable under heading 9027, HTSUS, which provides for, among other things, instruments for measuring or checking quantities of light. However, as the heading indicates, instruments of this heading give a quantitative verification or measure of light. The CoroCAM cameras utilize ultraviolet filters to detect or observe the electrical light intensity, and display it in the form of images for engineers to evaluate. Based upon the information you provided us, none of the cameras perform any quantitative verification or measurement. Thus, the cameras do not meet the terms of heading 9027, HTSUS.

Additional U.S. Note 3 to Chapter 90, HTSUS, states that “optical appliances” and “optical instruments,” for purposes of the chapter, “incorporate one or more optical elements, but do not include any appliances or instruments in which the incorporated optical element or elements are solely for viewing a scale or for some other subsidiary purpose.” Optical elements include, but are not limited to, lenses and prisms. All five cameras incorporate at least one optical element that is essential to the detection of corona discharge, which is the primary purpose of the cameras. Thus, the cameras are optical appliances.

In HQ 961289, dated March 30, 1998, Customs classified a thermal imaging system used by firefighters to see through dense smoke under heading 9013, HTSUS, which provides, in part, for other optical appliances. The system detected the infrared radiation emitted by object and materials in the form of heat, and utilized optical elements such as prisms and lenses to create images. The CoroCAM cameras are analogous to the thermal imaging system in that they detect coronas emitted by high-voltage equipment with ultraviolet and visible radiations, and utilize lenses and video to view or create an image.

There is no other heading in Chapter 90 or any other chapter of the HTSUS that covers these cameras more specifically. As with the thermal imaging system, these products are classifiable in the basket provision for optical appliances, heading 9013, HTSUS.


The CoroSMART, CoroCAM I, CoroCAM II, CoroCAM III and CoroCAM IV are classifiable in subheading 9013.80.90, HTSUS, which provides for, “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: other devices, appliances and instruments: other.”


Myles B. Harmon, Acting Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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