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HQ 966208

December 18, 2003

CLA-2 RR: CR: GC 966208 TPB


TARIFF NO.: 9027.50.40

Mr. Harvey Karlovac
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
303 E. Wacker Drive
Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60601

RE: Electrical corona camera with a photon counter

Dear Mr. Karlovac:

This is in response to your letter dated January 23, 2003, filed on behalf of your client, Specialized Camera Sales & Service, LLC (“Specialized”), requesting classification of the Corocam IV+ under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). In reaching our conclusion, consideration was given to supplemental information submitted on August 6, 2003.


The camera at issue measures and forms an image from the intensities of ultraviolet emissions. Its primary function is to detect and observe corona discharge on high voltage equipment, such as insulators and equipment for the purpose of maintenance and safety.

A corona is an electrical field, such as that typically created by high voltage equipment. When the electric-field intensity on the surface of the high voltage wires or equipment exceeds the electrical breakdown strength of the surrounding air, the nitrogen in the air becomes excited and creates nitrogen ions. This ionization process creates a discharge in the form of daylight invisible light (the strongest emissions of which are in the ultraviolet), audible noise, radio noise, vibration, deterioration of surrounding materials, generation of ozone, nitrogen oxides and nitric acid and other forms of dissipation of energy. The greater the electrical discharge, the more ionization and therefore the more ultraviolet radiation. The ultraviolet radiation takes the form of photon emissions. These emissions enter the lens of the camera and are processed by a filter. They then proceed to a detector that converts the photons into an electrical signal relative to the ultraviolet emission signal strength. The electrical signal is displayed in the camera’s viewer for the user to view this spatial representation of ultraviolet radiation signal strength. In the case of the CoroCam IV+, the photons may also be registered in a photon counter to allow the user to determine the intensity (measured in photons per second) of the ultraviolet radiation and to analyze it.

In addition, the CoroCam IV+ is marketed as a “Daylight Corona observation and detection system.” The camera is manufactured from an optical component (a solar blind filter lens), and electronic ultraviolet filter and an electronic ultraviolet detector, printed circuit assemblies, various wiring harnesses and mechanical components and a housing. This model is bi-spectral, meaning it measures optical radiation on both ultraviolet and the visible spectra. The CoroCam IV+ makes daytime viewing of corona discharges possible by detecting only the solar-blind portion of the ultraviolet spectrum.


What is the classification under the HTSUS of the CoroCam IV+ corona camera?


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.

Specialized had indicated to Customs that the CoroCam IV+ is properly classified as a spectrometer, under subheading 9027.30.40, HTSUS, which provides for electrical spectrometers, spectrophotometers and spectrographs using optical radiations (ultraviolet, visible, infrared).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

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:

9027.30 Spectrometers, spectrophotometers and spectrographs using optical radiations (ultraviolet, visible, infrared):

9027.30.40 Electrical

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

9027.50.40 Electrical

GRI 6, HTSUS, provides as follows:

6. For legal purposes, the classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related subheading notes and, mutatis mutandis, to the above rules on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable. For the purposes of this rule, the relative section, chapter and subchapter notes also apply, unless the context otherwise requires.

After determining the appropriate heading in accordance with the first five rules, we then apply the GRIs again, to the appropriate subheading.

When making comparisons of subheadings, we compare the same level six-digit to six-digit, or eight-digit to eight-digit subheading, also taking into consideration section and chapter notes at the subheading level, unless the context otherwise requires.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“ENs”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80. EN 90.27 provides, in pertinent part:

This heading includes:

(5) Spectrometers. These instruments are used to measure the wave-lengths of emissions and absorption spectra. They consist essentially of an adjustable slit collimator (through which the beam of light to be analysed passes), one or more adjustable prisms, a telescope and a prism table. Some spectrometers (particularly those used for infra-red or ultra-violet rays) are fitted with prisms or with diffraction gratings.

This group includes spectroscopes for the observation of spectra; spectrographs for recording the spectrum on a photographic plate or film (spectrograms); monochromators, instruments for isolating a particular line in a line spectrum or for isolating certain parts of a continuous spectrum.


As indicated by the EN above, spectrometers are used to measure the wave-lengths of emissions and absorption spectra. They differ from spectrographs in that they contain some form of detector other than photographic film. Spectrometers measure the distribution of radiation in a wavelength region through a slit collimator. While the CoroCam IV+ operates in the ultraviolet region, it does not measure the wavelength of the spectra. It does not use a prism or diffraction grating to disperse optical radiation. We therefore conclude that the CoroCam IV+ is not a good of subheading 9027.30, HTSUS and does not fall to be classified there.

Subheading 9027.50 provides for other instruments and apparatus using optical radiations (ultraviolet, visible, infrared). Customs has previously classified infrared cameras which measure levels of heat in this subheading. The controlling factor in classifying these cameras under this provision was that they performed measurement, in these cases, of heat. See HQ 966171, dated June 27, 2003; and NY 875965, dated July 28, 1992. The merchandise presently before us is capable of entering a photon counting mode which can count the number of photons released by the corona source and display that number to the operator in a formula of “x photons/sec.” Since the CoroCam IV+ can measure or check quantities of ultraviolet light, it is classified under subheading 9027.50, HTSUS, specifically, 9027.50.40, HTSUS, which provides for instruments and apparatus for measuring and checking quantities of heat, sound or light other electrical instruments and apparatus using optical radiations.


For the reasons stated above, by virtue of GRI 1, the CoroCam IV+ is classified under subheading 9027.50.40, HTSUS, as instruments and apparatus for measuring and checking quantities of heat, sound or light other instruments and apparatus using optical radiations (ultraviolet, visible, infrared), electrical.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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