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HQ H014564

December 6, 2007



TARIFF NO.: 8526.91.00

Port Director
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
P.O. Box 17423
Washington, DC 20041
Attn: Pia Hall, Import Specialist

RE: Request for Internal Advice; Immusys, LLC; Global Positioning System Receiver

Dear Port Director:

This is in response to the request for internal advice initiated by the Port of Dulles, dated June 27 2007, which was made in accordance with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Regulations Part 177 (19 CFR 177). This regulation allows requests for “advice or guidance to the interpretation or proper application of the Customs and related laws with respect to a specific Customs transaction . . . from the Headquarters Office at any time, whether the transaction is prospective, current, or completed." 19 CFR §177.11(a). Specifically, the request for internal advice was made pursuant to 19 CFR §177.11(b)(2). The Port of Dulles forwarded this request for internal advice to CBP headquarters on August 22, 2007.


The subject merchandise is the Holux GR-213 Series GPS Receiver set, manufactured by Holux Technology Inc. (hereinafter, GR-213). Generally, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) operate as a position locator and navigational system. According to the record and sample provided, the GR-213 set contains: the GR-213, a CD-Rom, a manual, and a warranty card. The GR-213 contains 20 parallel satellite tracking channels and a SiRF starIII chipset utilizes a USB connector and has the appearance of a computer mouse. The GR-213 GPS receiver, commonly referred to in the GPS industry as a (USB) Mouse GPS receiver, interfaces with mobile computer technology such as a laptop, ibook, Mp3 player or personal digital assistant (PDA) to display its locator functionality.

Microsoft Street & Tips 2007, USB GPS Review, at www.everythingusb.com As distinguished from a dashboard GPS unit, the (USB) GPS model, does not feature its own view screen and therefore must rely on other mobile technology for visual monitoring of its navigational performances. Id. The Port of Dulles is concerned that the GR-213 should be classifiable as an accessory to a GPS system whereas the importer, Immusys, LLC, believes the GR-213 to be a GPS receiver.


Whether the subject GPS merchandise is classifiable under heading 8526, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as a GPS receiver or as an accessory (or part) to a GPS receiver under heading 8529, HTSUS. Also at issue is whether the subject merchandise is classifiable under heading 8504, HTSUS.


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 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.

In light of the fact that the item consists of several components which in addition to the GR-213, include: a CD-Rom, a manual, and a warranty card, not specifically provided for at the heading level, it cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1.

According to GRI 3(b), mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and 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. We are of the opinion that the GR-213, by reason of its function and essential nature, imparts the essential character of the GR-213 set as a whole.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8504 Electrical transformers, static converters (for example rectifiers) and inductors:

8504.40 Static converters:

8504.40.85 [f]or telecommunication apparatus

8526 Radar apparatus, radio navigational aid apparatus and radio remote control apparatus:


8526.91.00 [r]adio navigational aid apparatus

8529 Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8528:

8529.90.16 Of radar, radio navigational aid or radio remote control apparatus: Assemblies and subassemblies, consisting of 2 or more parts or pieces fastened or joined together

Of radio navigational aid apparatus

The GR-213 receiver set is classifiable as a retail set in accordance with GRI 3(b) (iv) which provides for goods put up in sets for retail sales. In such cases the goods shall be classified as if they consisted of the component which imparts their essential character. Here the GR-213 imparts the essential character of the retail set. Hence, this analysis will discuss the classification according to the appropriate heading(s) at issue, 8504, 8526 and 8529, HTSUS.

The broker originally suggested that the GR-213 is classifiable under heading 8504, as a static converter for a telecommunication apparatus. However, the GR-213 does not transmit or convert electrical energy to a telecommunication apparatus but rather is itself a radio navigational aid apparatus. Therefore classification under heading 8504 is precluded. (See HQ 968226 dated August 8, 2006, which discusses the essential character of battery chargers classifiable under heading 8504, HTSUS; see also, HQ 08411 dated, August 22, 1989, which generally defines electrical transformers).

It is well established that GPS receivers are classified under heading 8526. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not 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).

Explanatory Note 85.26 (1) pg. XVI-8526-1, to heading 8526, HTSUS states, in pertinent part that: [r]adio navigational aid equipment also includes global position system (GPS) receivers.

The Port of Dulles argues that the GR-213 is not fully operational as a stand alone unit. That is, that the GR-213 is otherwise inoperable as an independent unit and is therefore an accessory to a GPS receiver rather than a GPS receiver in its own right. As such, the Port of Dulles believes that the GR-213 is classifiable as a part (or accessory) [to a GPS receiver] under heading 8529.

The GR-213, according to its description and functionality requires no further assembly and only utilizes a USB port connector to interface with a personal or laptop computer. As such, the GR-213, when used in conjunction with a mobile computer system, is fully operable as a radio navigational aid apparatus pursuant to heading 8526, HTSUS.

The literature within the GPS industry demonstrates that the nature of a (USB) GSP receiver and in this case, the GR-213, is designed for use with other mobile computer products by connecting to the USB port. A (USB) GPS receiver must interface with other mobile technology such as a laptop, Mp3 player, ibook or PAD, See Holux Products at www.holux.com See also, Microsoft Street & Tips, supra note 1 at www.everythingusb.com However, there is no suggestion that a (USB) GPS receiver and here the GR-213, rely on or interface with a traditional dashboard GPS receiver for its function or performance. Id. Furthermore, the GR-213 features an embedded SiRF starIII chipset, which is a microcontroller, typically found in GPS receivers which allow GPS receivers to acquire and track satellite signals. See SiRF Technology at www.sirf.com This built-in hardware allows its user to locate, track and navigate a given geographic position. Id.

In HQ 955510, dated September 16, 1994, CBP distinguished a GPS adapter from a GPS Card, finding in part that a GPS Card, designed for use in a personal computer, was a technological improvement in the area of radio navigational equipment and was therefore itself a navigational device rather than an adapter to an automatic data processing machine (ADP). HQ 955510 noted that an “improvement in the design of an article does not militate against its continuing to be a form of the named article.” See Simmon Omega, Inc. v. United States, 83 Cust. Ct. 14, C.D. 4815 (1979). Likewise, the GR-213 is a technological advancement among GPS receivers which performs a specific navigational function.

Similarly, NY C81313, dated November 19, 1997, discussed the classification of a GPS Smart Antenna (Smart Antenna) as a GPS receiver. In the NY ruling, the subject merchandise was a product used solely with a personal computer (PC) or Notebook computer (NB). Designed to rely on the interaction with a PC or NB, the Smart Antenna received and translated satellite signals which where then read by a common map finder software previously loaded on the PC. Like the GR-213, the Smart Antenna also contained SiRF star hardware and was designed for navigational purposes. Also similar to the GR-213, the Smart Antenna did not act in conjunction with or in addition to an existing GPS receiver. Instead the Smart Antenna received and transmitted satellite signals and interfaced with a PC or NB to bring navigation performance to the end user. As such, in NY C81313, the Smart Antenna was classified under heading 8526, HTSUS, and not under heading 8529, HTSUS, as a part (or accessory).

Both NY C81313 and HQ 955510 correctly emphasize that machines and/or products are classified in the headings appropriate or specific to their respective functions. The specific function of the GR-213 is to provide navigation and location performance. And as EN 85.26 (1) pg. XVI-8526-1 points out “radio navigational aid equipment also includes global position system (GPS) receivers.” Accordingly, the GR-213 is appropriately classified under heading 8526, HTSUS, which provides for radio navigational aid apparatus. Therefore, classification under heading 8529, HTSUS, as parts of radio navigational equipment is precluded.


By application of GRI 3(b), the subject merchandise is classified under heading 8526, HTSUS as specifically provided for in subheading 8526.91.00, HTSUS, which provides for: “radio navigational aid apparatus.” The 2007, column one, general rate of duty is free.

You should advise the Internal Advice Applicant of this decision. This decision should be mailed by your office to the internal advice applicant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date, Regulations and Rulings of the Office of International Trade, will take steps to make the decision available to CBP personnel, and to the public on the CBP Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.cbp.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division

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