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HQ 966447

JULY 21, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 966447 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8525.10.30

Mr. Mick W. Blakely
UPS Supply Chain Solutions, Inc.
2150 Peace Portal Drive
Blaine, WA 98230

RE: Mobile Television Broadcasting Apparatus

Dear Mr. Blakely:

In letters to the Director of Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, dated January 31 and March 28, 2003, on behalf of Shooters Production Services Inc., you inquire as to the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a mobile television broadcasting system called the Shooters Mobile Production Center or Shooters 48’. You also inquire as to the its status as an originating good under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Your request has been forwarded to this office for reply and was accompanied by photographs and other descriptive materials.


As described, a semi-trailer of United States origin, designed to accommodate sophisticated television broadcasting equipment, is exported to Canada where it will be outfitted with all the apparatus necessary to produce, control and televise live sports and entertainment events. The fully outfitted semi-trailer will be returned to the U.S. where it will be mated with a truck tractor to enable it to travel from event site to event site.

The 48 foot-long semi-trailer, designated the Great Dane 48’, is 52 ft. 5 in. in overall length, 13 ft. 6 in. high, 8 ft. 6 in. wide, and weighs 40,000 lbs. The equipment installed in Canada, all of which to your knowledge and belief
is of Canadian origin, includes numerous digital and remote cameras, video switching apparatus, routers, audio input/output system, videotape recorders and monitors, computer graphics apparatus, telephone, intercom and walkie-talkie communications, 208 volt power system, air conditioning/heating apparatus. All the foregoing is housed in production desks and cabinetry.

You state that the Shooters 48’ is configured to form a complete functional television transmission system. The apparatus captures and records live images in digital form and sends an output broadcast signal, through the routers, to either a satellite uplink truck which boosts the signal or to fiber lines installed at the site. The uplink truck or fiber lines are required to transmit a “live” broadcast. You propose that the apparatus be classified as a special purpose motor vehicle of heading 8705, HTSUS, or, alternatively, in heading 8716, HTSUS, as a trailer or semi-trailer, or in heading 8543, HTSUS, as an electrical machine and apparatus.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Transmission apparatus fortelevision, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus;:

Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 85]

Special purpose motor vehicles, other than those principally designed for the transport of persons or goods:

8716 Trailers and semi-trailers;:


Whether Shooters 48’ is television transmission apparatus of heading 8525.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

Section XVI, Note 4, HTSUS, provides, in part, that combinations of machines consisting of separate components intended to contribute together to a clearly defined function covered by a heading in chapter 84 or chapter 85, are classifiable in the heading appropriate to that function. Whether for convenience or other reasons, the machines or components remain subject to this note whether separate or interconnected by piping (carrying air, compressed gas, oil, etc.), by devices used to transmit power, by electric cables or by other devices.

Under General Note 12(b)(i), HTSUS, goods imported into the customs territory of the United States which are wholly obtained or produced entirely in the territory of Canada, Mexico and/or the United States, are eligible for the tariff treatment and quantitative limitations set forth in the tariff schedule as “goods originating in the territory of a NAFTA party.”

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Initially, headings 8525 and 8543 are in Section XVI, HTSUS, while headings 8705 and 8716 are in Section XVII, HTSUS. But, Section XVI, Note 1(l), HTSUS, excludes articles of Section XVII. Therefore, we must first determine whether either heading 8705 or heading 8716 applies. Heading 8705 ENs state the heading encompasses special purpose motor vehicles, specially constructed or adapted, equipped with various devices that enable them to perform certain non-transport functions, i.e., the primary purpose of such vehicles is not the transport of persons or goods. Outside broadcast vans and telegraphy, radio-telegraphy or radio-telephony transmitting and receiving vans are among the vehicles included in heading 8705. As the system is not a motorized vehicle, it does not meet the terms of heading 8705. Consideration was given to whether the broadcasting system, lacking a truck tractor for propulsion, might be an incomplete or unfinished good for tariff purposes, which GRI 2(a) permits to be classified in heading 8705 as if complete or finished. However, Chapter 87, Additional U.S. Note 1, HTSUS, states that road tractors and trailers and semi-trailers remain separately classified in headings 8701 and 8716, respectively, even when entered together. Because the broadcasting system coupled to a road or truck tractor could never be imported as a special purpose motor vehicle of heading 8705, we conclude that heading does not apply.

The heading 8716 ENs state the provision includes semi-trailers, i.e., those with rear wheels only, the forward end resting on the platform of the towing vehicle to which it is coupled. However, the classification of vehicles with permanently built-on machines or appliances is determined according to the classification of the whole. Units deriving their essential character from the machine or appliance incorporated in the vehicle, and not from the vehicle itself, are excluded from heading 8716 and referred to the heading appropriate to the machine or appliance. It is clear that the essential character of the Shooters 48’ is derived from the equipment installed in it and not from the semi-trailer. Heading 8716, therefore, is also inapplicable.

Heading 8543 covers all electrical machines and appliances not falling in any other heading of chapter 85, or covered more specifically by any other chapter of the HTSUS. So, our focus now turns to heading 8525. Transmission apparatus for radio-broadcasting or television is included in this heading. The relevant ENs include in heading 8525 television apparatus, to include transmitters of all kinds and relay apparatus used to pick up a broadcast and transmit it and so increase the range, whether the transmission is by electro-magnetic waves or by line. Also included in the heading are television cameras, still image video cameras, other video camera recorders and digital cameras.

From the facts presented we conclude that the apparatus, consisting in the main of digital and remote cameras, video switching apparatus, routers, audio input/output system, videotape recorders and monitors, computer graphics apparatus, etc., some separate but many connected by power transmission lines and cables, contribute together to the transmitting of television broadcast signals, a function described by heading 8525. Regarding the preferential tariff treatment of the Shooters 48’ under the NAFTA, the origin of the television broadcasting equipment may be subject to verification.


Under the authority of GRI 1 and Section XVI, Note 4, HTSUS, the Shooters 48’ is provided for in heading 8525. It is classifiable in subheading 8525.10.30, HTSUS. The Shooters 48’ qualifies as an originating good and, therefore, is eligible for preferential tariff treatment under the NAFTA.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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