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NY J87358

August 6, 2003

CLA-2-98:RR:NC:3:353 J87358


TARIFF NO.: 9817.00.9800

Mr. David E. Thompson
572 South Fifth Street
Pembina, ND 58271

RE: The tariff classification of sound and lighting equipment for concerts and productions from Canada.

Dear Mr. Thompson:

In your letter dated July 3, 2003, on behalf of Sound Art Canada, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

This request was a follow-up to binding ruling request J84868 that had been rejected by this office on June 18, 2003. In the original request you informed us that Sound Art Canada is a distributor of sound and lighting equipment for concerts, productions, etc. An arena or production company in the United States will rent the equipment from Canada for temporary use in the United States. The equipment will be returned to Canada upon completion of the event.

You asked if the sound and lighting equipment could be entered under subheading 9817.00.9800 as “Theatrical scenery, properties and apparel brought into the United States by proprietors or managers of theatrical, ballet, opera or similar productions arriving from abroad for temporary use by them in such productions.”

Customs rejected the request on June 18, 2003 for further information. You responded to the questions on July 3, 2003, and made additional inquiries beyond those of the original request. The Customs question and your response follow.

Question: Who will be the importer of record? Is the importer a proprietor or manager? Answer: The importer would be the proprietor of the production. Does the proprietor or manager have to be a foreign-based entity?

Question: Will the equipment be used directly the importer or leased to others? Answer: The equipment will be used directly by the importer. However, the goods may move to a different venue before the goods are returned to Canada.

Question: Will the sound and lighting equipment be the only merchandise imported? Is it directly involved in the production? Answer: The sound and lighting equipment will be the only merchandise imported and will be directly involved in the production.

Question: You mention that the merchandise will be used at concerts and productions. Please define “productions.” Answer: Productions includes musical concerts, theatrical plays, fairs and festivals, business conventions, etc.

Your questions are answered as follows. In order to be entered under subheading 9817.00.9800, the production must arrive in the US from abroad; it cannot be a US production based in the US. Goods must be returned to Canada after each production. Your definition of “productions” includes venues that may not be, or are not “theatricalor similar productions” (fairs and festivals, business conventions).

Subheading 9817.00.9800 is a subheading with very specific requirements. It very much relies on the specific circumstances of the particular shipment. You have not provided enough information involving an actual, specific set of circumstances to issue a binding ruling. It may be that some of your shipments would qualify for classification under 9817.00.9800. It is certain that many of your shipments will not qualify for classification under 9817.00.9800 because:

The production will not be arriving from abroad (fairs and festivals). The merchandise is not always exported at the end of the production. An importer who wishes to claim preferential treatment under subheading 9817.00.98, HTSUS, which has no bond requirement, must be able to establish to the satisfaction of Customs officials at the port of entry that the scenery, properties and apparel which it imports will be used temporarily in a theatrical production or touring show until that production or show ends in the United States or until the merchandise is no longer being used in the production or show, and will be exported at that time. Some of the importers are not using the sound and lighting equipment for theatrical, ballet, opera or similar productions. It is doubtful that fairs and festivals are “theatricalor similar productions.” It is certain that business conventions are not, and do not qualify.

You must provide specific information and circumstances regarding the importer, equipment, usage and exportation before you will be able to obtain a binding ruling on that particular set of circumstances.

We suggest you go to our Web site at www.cbp.gov, click on “Import,” then click on the Customs Rulings Online Search System (CROSS), and review rulings HQ 562342 of April 26, 2002; HQ 561876 of October 10, 2001; HQ 561742 of July 21, 2000, HQ 562339 of April 1, 2002; and NY G82082 of September 9, 2000, which address classification of goods under subheading 9817.00.9800.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Kenneth Reidlinger at 646-733-3053.


Robert B. Swierupski

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