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NY N023457

February 29, 2008



TARIFF NO.: 8540.20.2080

Ms. Olga Rivkin
N-Vision Optics LLC
220 Reservoir Street, Suite 26
Needham, MA 02494

RE: The tariff classification of night vision image intensifier tubes (IIT) from Russia

Dear Ms. Rivkin:

In your letter dated February 18, 2008 you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The merchandise subject to this ruling is a night vision image intensifier tubes (IIT). They are identified in your letter as Generation 2 and above. The night vision image intensifier tubes (IIT) are used in night vision monoculars, binoculars, and goggles to enable the user to see what cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Image converters and intensifiers are classifiable under heading 8540 within the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). However, you stated in your letter that IITs of Generation 2 and above do not belong in that section of the HTSUS due to the very significant difference in technical and physical principles of operation between IIT’s Generation 2 and above and all other devices listed in this section. You also stated that the key element in Generation 2 and above IITs is a micro-channel plate (MCP), which sets devices that use it apart from everything else in this section.

In Generation 2 and above systems, the objective lens collects light that cannot be seen with the naked eye and focuses it on the image intensifier. Inside the image intensifier a photocathode absorbs this energy and converts it to electrons. These electrons are then drawn toward a phosphor screen, but first pass through a micro-channel plate that intensifies the electrons thousands of times. When this highly intensified electron image strikes the phosphor screen, it causes the screen to emit light that can be seen. Since the phosphor screen emits this light in exactly the same pattern and degree of intensity of the light collected by the objective lens, the bright nighttime image seen in the eyepiece corresponds precisely to the outside scene being viewed.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUS, although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading and are the official interpretation of the Harmonized Schedule at the international level. EN 85.40 (2) (c) provides for Image intensifier tubes and states:

“These are electronic tubes in which an image projected on to a photoemissive surface produces a corresponding intensified image on a luminescent surface.”

The Generation 2 and above night vision image intensifier tubes (IIT) meets the terms of the scope of an image intensifier tube. As such, the Generation 2 and above night vision image intensifier tubes (IIT) are classifiable under subheading 8540.20.2080, which provides for “Image converters and intensifiers.”

The applicable subheading for the night vision image intensifier tubes (IIT) will be 8540.20.2080, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Television camera tubes; image converters and intensifiers; other photocathode tubes: Cathode-ray tubes: Other”. The rate of duty will be 6.0 percent ad valorem.

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 World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

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

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Linda M. Hackett at 646-733-3015.


Robert B. Swierupski

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