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HQ 563313

October 13, 2005

CLA-02 RR:CTF:VS 563313 NL


Fusae Nara, Esq.
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
1540 Broadway
New York, NY 10036-4039

RE: Classification of LCD Flat Panel TV & Components; NAFTA Eligibility

Dear Mr. Nara:

This is in reply your letter dated July 14, 2005, on behalf of Sharp Electronics Corporation (Sharp) requesting a prospective ruling pursuant to Part 177, CBP Regulations (19 CFR Part 177). Specifically, you request a ruling that Sharp’s model No. LC-32DA5U liquid crystal display (LCD) television receiver is an originating good for the purposes of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In support of this position you state that the LCD and its components are classified in certain tariff provisions. The classifications dictate which NAFTA rule of origin is applicable and whether the assembly using non-NAFTA materials satisfies the applicable rule. In consultation with CBP’s National Commodity Specialist Division we have considered the relevant tariff classifications and have determined the NAFTA eligibility for this LCD TV. Our ruling follows.


Sharp plans to import from Mexico a liquid crystal display television receiver, Model No. LC-32DA5U, a device having a diagonal measurement of approximately 32 inches. The television receiver will be manufactured in Mexico by Sharp Electronica Mexico S.A. de C.V. (“SEMEX”), from the following components that are not NAFTA originating goods:

LCD Panel Unit – consisting of an LCD display glass subassembly, optical sheets, backlight unit, inverter and LCD control printed wiring boards (PWBs). The display glass subassembly is an LCD glass panel affixed with driver (gate and source) electronics. The optical sheets include a reflection/deflection sheet, diffusion sheets and a diffusion panel and are affixed to the frame of the LCD panel unit. Three inverter PWBs mounted on the back of the display glass assembly control the fluorescent lamps in the backlight unit. The backlight unit consists of fluorescent lamps, lamp fixing holders and a back shield panel. The backlight unit and the inverter units provide the visibility of the LCD panel screen. The LCD control PWB, also attached to the back of the display glass, controls the timing of the signals transmitted to the LCD panel from the Main Unit PWB described below. The asserted classification for the LCD Panel Unit is subheading 9013.80.90, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).

PWBs – 1) a main unit PWB which converts broadcast signals to digital signals suitable for LCD by converting interlace signals into progressive signals, asserted to be classified in subheading 8529.90.06, HTSUS; 2) a central processing unit (CPU) unit PWB, which controls the overall operation of the television receiver and consists of a CPU and memory devices, asserted to be classified in subheading 8529.90.06; 3) power unit PWB, which supplies power to the inverter and signal circuits, and is asserted to be classified in subheading 8529.90.06; and 4) a single, combined board configuration, asserted to be classified in subheading 8529.90.03, HTSUS, which upon importation into Mexico is divided into separate boards consisting of a) audio/visual unit PWB, which incorporates analog tuner, external terminals, their switches, supplemental audio program decoder, amplifier, and digital input and other terminals; b) remote control/light emitting diode unit PWB, which incorporates the reception device for remote control signals and two LEDs for power and “sleep” functions; and c) key operation unit PWB, which incorporates the main power switch, input selection, tuner selection, volume selection, and key selection functions.

Front and Back Television Cabinets – the front cabinet contains the television speakers, and the back cabinet connects to the adjustable stand and houses the video, audio, and antenna input and output terminals. A chassis frame onto which the PWBs, 1) –4), listed above are mounted after importation into Mexico, is incorporated into the cabinet. The asserted classification for the cabinets is subheading 8529.90.93, HTSUS.

Adjustable stand – which has a carrying handle and an angle that allows the screen to be adjusted backwards between 12 and 35 degrees. The asserted classification for the stand is subheading 8529.90.93, HTSUS.

You clarify, in a follow-up submission, dated August 23, 2005, that the components listed above are not imported into Mexico together, but are imported from various countries at various times. After assembly in Mexico, the finished Model No. LC-32DA5U television receiver is tested and affixed with model labels and wrapped with paper and buffer materials, and packaged for shipment with a non-originating remote control unit, AC cord, cable clamps, antenna cable, and batteries.


1) Classification under the HTSUS of the LCD television receiver components;

2) Eligibility for preferential tariff treatment under the NAFTA of the subject LCD television receiver assembled in Mexico



We confirm that the component materials of the subject LCD television receiver are classified under the HTSUS as asserted in your submission. Specifically with respect to the LCD Panel Unit, it is classified under subheading 9013.80.90, HTSUS, which provides for “[l]iquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings: Other devices, appliances and instruments: Other.” In Sharp Microelectronics Technology, Inc v. United States, 122 F.3d 1446 (Fed. Cir. 1997), the court held that heading 9013, HTSUS, is not a basket provision; the language in the heading invites a relative specificity analysis. The court concluded that heading 9013, HTSUS, is more specific than a heading providing for parts. Therefore, although the subject LCD panel unit could be described in heading 8529, HTSUS, which provides for [p]arts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8528,” under the decision in Sharp, it is more specifically described in heading 9013, HTSUS. In addition, a clarification, dated August 4, 2004, signed by the NAFTA parties, specifically states that flat panel screen assemblies incorporating liquid crystal devices are not classifiable under the heading for parts, heading 8529, HTSUS, but are classifiable under the heading for liquid crystal devices, which provides the most specific description, heading 9013, HTSUS.

The imported LCD television receiver, Model No. LC-32DA5U is classifiable in subheading 8528.12.72, HTSUS, which provides for “[r]eception apparatus for television, whether or not incorporating radiobroadcast receivers or sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus; video monitors and video projectors: Reception apparatus for television, whether or not incorporating radio broadcast receivers or sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus: Color: With a flat panel screen: Other: Other.”

NAFTA Eligibility

General Note 12, HTSUS, incorporates Article 401 of NAFTA into the HTSUS. General Note 12(a)(ii) provides, in pertinent part:

Goods that originate in the territory of a NAFTA party under the terms of subdivision (b) of this note and that qualify to be marked as goods of Mexico under the terms of the marking rules set forth in regulations issued by the Secretary of the Treasury (without regard to whether the goods are marked), when such goods are imported into the customs territory of the United States and are entered under a subheading for which a rate of duty appears in the “Special” subcolumn followed by the symbol “MX” in parentheses, are eligible for such duty rate, in accordance with section 201 of the NAFTA Implementation Act.

Accordingly, the Sharp Model No. LC-32DA5U LCD TV will be eligible for the “Special” “MX” rate of duty provided it is a NAFTA “originating” good under General Note 12(b), HTSUS, and qualifies to be marked as a product of Mexico under the marking rules. General Note 12(b), HTSUS, provides, in pertinent part:

For the purposes of this note, goods imported into the customs territory of 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 only if— (i) they are goods wholly obtained or produced entirely in the territory of Canada, Mexico and/or the United States; or (ii) they have been transformed in the territory of Canada, Mexico and/or the United States so that— (A) except as provided in subdivision (f) of this note, each of the non-originating materials used in the production of such goods undergoes a change in tariff classification described in subdivisions (r), (s) and (t) of this note or the rules set forth therein, or (B) the goods otherwise satisfy the applicable requirements of subdivisions (r), (s) and (t) where no change in tariff classification is required, and the goods satisfy all other requirements of this note; or (iii) they are goods produced entirely in the territory of Canada, Mexico and/or the United States exclusively from originating materials.

The LCD TV is not eligible to be treated as originating within the meaning of GN 12(b)(i) as a good that is wholly obtained or produced entirely within the NAFTA territories, as non-originating materials are used in its production. However, pursuant to GN 12(b)(ii)(A) & (B), the LCD TV will be an originating good if each non-originating material used in its production undergoes the prescribed change in tariff classification and meets the other applicable requirements for that good.

For a good classified in subheading 8528.12.72, HTSUS, the rule of origin under GN 12(b)(ii) requires that non-originating components used in the assembly of the LCD TV undergo:

A change to tariff items 8528.12.62, 8528.12.64, 8528.12.68 or 8528.12.72 from tariff items 8528.12.04 or 8528.12.08 or any other heading, except from tariff item 8529.90.53.

We have determined that the components (LCD panel unit, printed wiring boards, front and back cabinets and adjustable stand) are classified in headings other than heading 8528 in which the assembled LCD TV is classified. These undergo a change to heading 8528 from any other heading as prescribed. Moreover, the LCD panel unit is classified in heading 9013 (specifically, subheading 9013.80.90, HTSUS), and not in subheading 8529.90.53, HTSUS, a prohibited source of non-originating components under this rule. Assembly of the LCD TV in Mexico with non-NAFTA components thus meets the applicable NAFTA rule of origin.

In your supplemental submission of August 23, 2005, you requested a determination whether a finished Model No. LC-32DA5U television, assembled from an unfinished LCD television, classifiable under subheading 8528.12.08, HTSUS, for which all of the parts are imported into Mexico at the same time, would qualify for NAFTA preferential treatment. We are unable to address your request for a ruling at this time as we have not been provided with a sufficient description, as required by section 177.1 et seq (19 CFR. 177.1), CBP Regulations, of the transaction for which you seek clarification.


The components used in the assembly of the Sharp model No. LC-32DA5U LCD flat panel television receiver are classified as set forth above. The television itself is classified in subheading 8528.12.72, HTSUS.

By application of the rule set out under General Note 12(b)(ii), HTSUS, under the facts presented the Sharp LCD flat panel television receiver model No. LC-32DA5U is eligible for preferential tariff treatment under the NAFTA.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time the goods are entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Monika R. Brenner, Chief
Valuation and Special Programs Branch

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