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HQ 965097

July 19, 2002

RR:CR:GC 965097 JLV


TARIFF NO.: 8525.30.90

Mr. Ed Kwas
Expeditors Tradewin, LLC
1015 Third Avenue, 12th Floor
Seattle, WA 98104

RE: iBOT™ FireWire webcam; subheading 8525.30; subheading 8525.40; subheading 8473.30; input units for ADP machine; still image video camera; television camera

Dear Mr. Kwas:

In a letter dated May 25, 2001, on behalf of Orange Micro, Inc. (OMI), you requested a ruling on the classification of a desktop video camera under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). A sample of the camera was submitted. Our decision follows. We regret the delay in our response.


The product is OMI’s iBOT™ FireWire 1394 desktop video camera. The camera is designed to be connected to a computer with FireWire (IEEE 1394) serial bus interface, which is a standard that offers high-speed communications up to 400 megabits per second.

The basic components in the camera, all of which are incorporated into a spherical housing (approximately 2-1/2 inch diameter) that is supported by a wire stand attached to the “sides” of the housing, are as follows: a ¼-inch CCD (charged-coupled device) image sensor, a lens, a data-conversion device for converting the analog data from the CCD into digital data format for transmission by FireWire cable, and an integral cable. The wire stand was not presented with the sample.

Typically, these small cameras capture images in the form of electrical charges created by light hitting the pixels on the CCD. These electrical charges are then converted to digital signals (e.g., by an analog-to-digital converter chip), compressed and transmitted to the computer. These images may then be processed by a variety of software programs installed on the computer.

The camera has a video capture resolution of 640x480 pixels, is capable of non-compressed full-motion video at 30 frames per second at that resolution, and is able to transmit video data at 400 megabits per second. The camera does not have internal memory or removable memory for storage of images and cannot function when disconnected from the computer.

It is your position that the iBOT™ camera is classifiable in heading 8473, HTSUS, as a part of an ADP machine of heading 8471, HTSUS. You state that the camera is merely one component in a “desktop video camera subassembly” and cannot function as a camera until it is combined with (1) a computer, (2) a FireWire communications card and (3) software. You refer to a bill a materials in which fifty-one components are said to comprise the desktop video camera subassembly. However, we note that the bill of materials is a list of components in an iBOT™ PC kit (assembly 70HTL00102). The bill of materials indicates the following:

1. The kit consists of a FireWire camera and a FireWire PCI card.

2. The specific list in the bill of materials identifies one iBOT™ FireWire webcam (untested), one PCI FireWire board (untested), software, and the metal base and “ears” for the camera.

3. The list also identifies the multiple individual parts of the PCI FireWire board, the stand for the camera, and the various packaging and marketing materials.

Only the camera has been presented for classification. In this respect, we note that the iBOT™ camera may be marketed separately or in a kit with a FireWire communications board because, no doubt, some computers already have this interface standard for use with other peripherals.

You point out that, without appropriate software installed on a computer, the camera is incapable of transmitting video images. The software enables the camera to be used with a computer for several different purposes, such as the production of video clips, video teleconferencing, video E-mail, and editing of video images. However, we believe that most, if not all devices attached to a computer require the installation of software that will allow the device to be recognized and to function with the computer.


Is the iBOT™ FireWire 1394 camera classifiable as a part or accessory of an ADP machine in heading 8473, HTSUS, or as a television camera in heading 8525, HTSUS?


The underlying classification issue is not new. In HQ 958632, dated January 25, 1996, the TeleCamera Series 4000, 5000 and 6000 cameras, designed to be connected to an ADP machine and used for videoconferencing, were classified in subheading 8525.30 as television cameras. In other rulings on similar cameras, all of which were designed to be connected to an ADP machine, Customs held that these cameras were classifiable in subheading 8525.30 as television cameras (see NY A84032 of May 31, 1996; NY B81818 of February 13, 1997; NY A81240 of March 18, 1996; and NY F88315 of June 29, 2000).

We have recently issued a decision on the classification of a similar camera used with computers. In HQ 964973, dated July 17, 2002, we concluded that a USB PC camera was classifiable in subheading 8525.30 as a television camera. Functionally, the camera considered in HQ 964973 is distinguishable from the iBOT™ camera only by the fact that it transfers video data by a USB communications standard rather than a FireWire communications standard.

At issue is a fully functional unit, the complete unit, the iBOT™ camera, which is ready to be attached to a computer and used as a peripheral input device for transmitting video images to a computer. We do not consider this to be a component in a subassembly as you have described it. Notwithstanding the bill of materials for the kit, the only product under consideration is the completed camera which, by design, captures images for the purpose of transmitting them to a receiver unit for processing. The iBOT™ camera does not record images because it does not incorporate its own storage media or use removable storage media.

The facts indicate that, as presented, the camera is designed to be connected to an ADP machine for capturing images that must be transmitted to the ADP machine. As such, it satisfies the criteria (a) through (c) set out in Note 5(B) to Chapter 84 and could be considered an input unit for an ADP machine.

Inasmuch as the camera satisfies the criteria for “units of ADP machines,” classification as a part or accessory of an ADP machine in heading 8473 would be precluded. Therefore, classification as a part or accessory of an ADP machine in heading 8473 is not applicable.

With regard to classification in heading 8471, Note 5(E) to Chapter 84 which provides in pertinent part, that “machines performing a specific function other than data processing and * * * working in conjunction with an automatic data processing machine are to be classified in the headings appropriate to their respective functions.” In this case, the product in question is a machine known as a “camera.” The function of this camera is to transmit video images captured by the CCD. Heading 8525 provides, in relevant part, for certain types of cameras that are not film-based cameras. Cameras of heading 8525 are digital or analog cameras that either transmit signals or record images on magnetic or other non-film media.

Heading 8525 provides for certain “still image video cameras or other video camera recorders” which have the ability to record and store still images or video on media within the camera. The legal text describes these cameras a “recorders.” Furthermore, while not legally binding, Explanatory Note (EN) 85.25 (D)(1) and (2) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS), section (D), page 1669, (3rd Edition 2002), indicates that the cameras of this category “record images” or “record sequential images.” Therefore, the iBOT™ camera would not fall within the terms of heading 8525 for still image video cameras and other video camera recorders.

Heading 8525 also provides for “digital cameras.” This term was inserted into the heading text as a result of the 2002 amendments to the Harmonized System. The United States implemented the amendment in the HTSUS, effective January 10, 2002.

This amendment to the international text of the Harmonized System was not intended to affect the scope of the existing subheadings within heading 8525, but was intended merely to make it clear that digital cameras were classified in heading 8525. This is reflected, in part, by the amended Explanatory Note for the 2002 text for heading 8525 of the Harmonized System. Whereas the description of “television cameras” in EN 85.25 (C), page 1668, was not amended, the description for the products of subheading 8525.40 in EN 85.25 (D), page 1669, was amended to describe the three categories of cameras. In the three descriptions, the cameras are described as cameras that “record” images.

We also note that, in a report by the U.S. International Trade Commission on the 2002 amendments, there is no indication of a change in the scope of subheadings 8525.30 and 8525.40, HTSUS, or a transfer of goods from one to the other. See Publication 3430 (June 2001), a report by the U.S. International Trade Commission on Investigation 1205-5 (Proposed Modifications to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States). Published rulings by Customs had made it know that these PC cameras were classifiable in subheading 8525.30, HTSUS. Therefore, we conclude that the addition of the term “digital cameras” in subheading 8525.40 did not affect the classification of such PC cameras that were previously classifiable as "television” cameras in subheading 8525.30, HTSUS.

Finally, heading 8525 provides for television cameras. Television cameras are typically cameras used for transmission of video. EN 85.25, section (E), at page 1668 (3rd Edition, 2002), describes these cameras as including, for example, “television cameras for television studios or for reporting, those used for industrial or scientific purposes or for supervising traffic.” Television cameras, in effect, are essentially cameras designed to transmit video images. The iBOT™ FireWire camera is designed to capture and transmit video images to an ADP machine (computer) for processing or for direct transmission over the Internet. Whether this camera transmits video directly to a television set, to a video monitor for surveillance, or to a computer or other device for display or processing, it performs the function of a category of cameras that fall within the term “television cameras” of heading 8525.

Therefore, to the extent that it is a “camera” and performs the function of image transmission, the camera performs a function of a good of heading 8525, HTSUS, specifically that of a television camera. Pursuant to Note 5(E) to Chapter 84, these cameras are precluded from classification as units of ADP machines in heading 8471 and are properly classifiable in heading 8525, and specifically in subheading 8525.30.90, HTSUS, as other television cameras.


By application of General Interpretative Rule 1, Note 5(E) to Chapter 84 and the terms of heading 8525, HTSUS, The iBOT™

FireWire camera is classifiable in subheading 8525.30.90, HTSUS, as other television cameras.


Myles B. Harmon
Acting Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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