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HQ H003374

January 30, 2007



TARIFF NO: 8519.81.40, HTSUS

Ms. Moncy Nabors
Customs Specialist
JCPenney Purchasing Corporation
6501 Legacy Dr.
Plano, TX 75024-3698

RE: Video Cam Karaoke

Dear Ms. Nabors:

This is in response to your letter of October 25, 2006, to the National Commodity Specialist Division (NCSD), requesting a classification ruling for a “Video Cam Karaoke” set, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter was referred to this office for reply.


The “Video Cam Karaoke” set consists of a child’s video camera housing a detachable cassette tape player/recorder. Included in the box with the video camera/cassette player/recorder unit is a microphone, headphone set, and cables to connect the video camera to a television or VCR. The video camera transmits color video and audio to a television. The microphone and headphones can be plugged into the video camera/cassette player/recorder unit. The microphone can also be clipped into a holder on top of the video camera/ cassette player/recorder unit so that it does not need to be held. The cassette recorder comes locked into the body of the video camera, and it can be removed from the video camera and used separately to play from or record to cassette audiotapes (separate batteries are required for use when detached from the video camera). The items allow a person to sing along with a cassette audiotape, or record themselves speaking or singing, into the microphone, and see his or her image on the television screen, and hear their voice either amplified or through the headphones. The video camera/cassette player/recorder unit has an echo (a.k.a. reverb) feature for use with the microphone, as well as volume control for the sound as amplified through the microphone and headset. One’s voice and image can be recorded by the VCR if the video camera is connected to a VCR or combination television and VCR. The video camera itself does not have any recording capability.

You believe this item to have two distinct functions (video camera and cassette player/recorder), and believe it should be classified as electrical machines and apparatus having individual functions, in heading 8543, HTSUS.


What is the classification under the HTSUS of the Video Cam Karaoke.


Merchandise is classifiable under the HTSUS in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). The systematic detail of the HTSUS is such that most goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, 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 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes (ENs), although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

We find the video camera/cassette recorder/player unit to be a composite machine under Note 3 to Section XVI, HTSUS. Note 3, provides that “composite machines consisting of two or more machines fitted together to form a whole and other machines designed for the purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative functions are to be classified as if consisting only of that component or as being that machine which performs the principal function.”

In HQ 966893, dated March 23, 2004, it was stated that the main purpose of a karaoke machine is to allow a person to sing along to music that has the voice tracks either reduced or eliminated, and that the determining factor in the classification of a karaoke machine is “whether the machine is capable of integrating the user’s singing with recorded songs, often but not always allowing for the reading of lyrics from a television or other monitor.” In HQ 966608, dated April 29, 2004, basic karaoke machines were described as those without cassette recorders, monitors or video cameras, and in the examples cited, all of the machines included either devocalizers or the ability to display the lyrics. In HQ 966608, it was determined that the main function of a karaoke system is to allow a person to sing to reproduced music.

The video camera/cassette recorder/player unit has an echo feature, which is typical of karaoke machines and allows for integration of the user’s singing with recorded songs, as well as a volume control for the user’s voice. Therefore, we find that the analysis of the principal function of complete karaoke systems is applicable under these facts. See, e.g. HQ 966608. Similarly, in HQ 966893, a microphone containing microcomputer chips which allowed for karaoke functions such as voice key selection, tempo, digital echo, volume/tone control, surround sound and 128 musical instrument sounds was determined to be a karaoke machine. Based on the same analysis applied in HQ 966608 and HQ 966893, we find that the video camera/cassette recorder/player unit is a karaoke machine, and its principal function is sound reproduction.

In prior rulings, karaoke machines without recording capability have been classified in heading 8519, HTSUS. However, because heading 8519 specifically covered sound reproducing apparatus “not incorporating a sound recording device,” karaoke machines which did have recording capability were classified in heading 8543, HTSUS, in accordance with the analysis in HQ 966608. The 2007 HTSUS will include changes resulting from modifications in the International Harmonized System nomenclature, which are described in Presidential Proclamation 8097. Presidential Documents, 72 Fed. Reg. 453 (2007). These changes include the amendment of the text of heading 8519, HTSUS, and the deletion of heading 8520, HTSUS.

The applicable 2007 HTSUS provisions of heading 8519 provide as follows:

8519 Sound recording or reproducing apparatus: Other apparatus:
Using magnetic, optical or semiconductor media: Other

The 2007 HTSUS will be effective for goods entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after February 3, 2007. The effective date of the 2007 HTSUS is also set forth in Presidential Proclamation 8097. 72 Fed. Reg. 453, 458.

As the principal function of the video camera/cassette recorder/player unit is sound reproduction, it is classified in heading 8519, HTSUS, specifically subheading 8519.81.40, HTSUS, as “[s]ound recording or reproducing apparatus: Other apparatus: Using magnetic, optical or semiconductor media: Other.” In light of the amended language of the 2007 HTSUS, with respect to classification in heading 8543, HTSUS, HQ 966608 is revoked by operation of law as of the effective date of the 2007 HTSUS.

The entire Video Cam Karaoke qualifies as a GRI 3(b) set, wherein the video camera/cassette recorder/player component imparts the essential character. With respect to classifying sets, GRI 3(b) provides, in pertinent part, that “goods put up in sets for retail sale shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character.” EN Rule 3(b) (X) states that:

For the purposes of this Rule, the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale" shall be taken to mean goods which: (a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings; (b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking (e.g. in boxes or cases or on boards).

We find that all of the subject articles imported together are a set for classification purposes under GRI 3(b). The items are classifiable in different headings (e.g. the video camera/cassette recorder/player unit is classified in heading 8519, HTSUS, and the microphone and headset are classified in heading 8518, HTSUS), they are “put up together” to carry out the specific activity of karaoke, and are offered for sale directly to users without repacking. Consequently, the items may not be classified separately under their respective classifications. The set derives its essential character from the video camera/cassette recorder/player unit, as this is the dominant component by use in relation to the other constituent components.

The importer proposes that the video camera/cassette recorder/player unit be classified in heading 8543, HTSUS, which provides for “[e]lectrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter.” Classification of the video camera/cassette recorder/player unit in heading 8543, HTSUS, is precluded as it is classifiable in a different heading by means of GRI 1 and Legal Note 3 to Section XVI, HTSUS.


By application of GRI 3(b), the Video Cam Karaoke is classified in heading 8519, HTSUS, specifically subheading 8519.81.4010, HTSUSA, as “[s]ound recording or reproducing apparatus: Other apparatus: Using magnetic, optical or semiconductor media: Other: Magnetic tape recorders incorporating sound reproducing apparatus, other than telephone answering machines,” with a column one, general duty rate of free.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the internet at www.usits.gov/tata/hts/.


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