CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087404 AJS
Mr. Samuel Pontieri
K & M Custom Brokers, Inc
342 Westminster Avenue
P.O. Box 847
Elizabeth, New Jersey 07207-0847
RE: VHS modular component video system; Subheading 8521.10.00;
Subheading 8525.30.00; Subheading 8528.10.80; General Rule of
Interpretation 3; Explanatory Notes General Rule of
Interpretation 3(b); composite good; General Rule of
Interpretation 5(a); Explanatory Notes General Rule of
Interpretation 5(a); specially shaped or fitted containers.
Dear Mr. Pontieri:
Your letter of May 14, 1990, requesting a tariff
classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United
States Annotated (HTSUSA), has been forwarded to this office for
The article in question is a compact VHS modular component
video system. The main component of the video system is a
compact stand-alone VHS recorder/player. The other core
components of the system are a LCD monitor with a built-in
speaker, and a television camera with microphone which can be
connected via cable or directly attached to the recorder/player.
The system also includes an adapter, battery pack and cables.
These components are put up together in a plastic carrying case
with a molded interior.
Whether the components of the video system in question are
properly classifiable as a composite good within one subheading
or each as a separate components within individual subheadings.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed
by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides
that classification shall be determined according to the terms
of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. If
classification cannot be determined by the application of GRI 1
then the subsequent GRIs must be consulted.
Heading 8521, HTSUSA, provides for video recording or
reproducing apparatus. The main component of the video system is
a video recorder/player. Subheading 8521.10.00, HTSUSA, provides
for magnetic tape-type video recording or reproducing apparatus.
The video recorder/player satisfies the terms of this subheading.
However, the video system does not satisfy the terms of this
subheading because the system contains other core components
which are, prima facie, described within subheading 8525.30.00
(camera) and subheading 8528.10.80 (monitor). Accordingly, the
video system is precluded from classification within subheading
8521.10.00, HTSUSA, by the application of GRI 1.
GRI 3 governs the classification of "composite goods
consisting of different components" ("composite goods") which
are, prima facie, classifiable within two or more headings. The
term "composite goods" refers to an article consisting of
"separable components, provided these components are adapted one
to the other and are mutually complementary and that together
they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in
separate parts." GRI 3(b) Explanatory Note (EN) (IX). The video
system satisfies this description. The system consists of
components which are separable but can be attached by cables or
fitted together. The components are adapted to be used in
different combinations as a portable and complete video system.
They are mutually complementary to each other in that they
perform operations essential for the use of video technology.
The camera takes pictures, which are recorded on the
recorder/player, and then viewed on the monitor when it is
attached to the recorder/player. In addition, the system is
designed to be carried about in carrying case with a separate
molded compartment for each component. Lastly, the design and
intended use of these components would prevent them from normally
being sold separately. Accordingly, the video system is a
"composite good" classifiable by the application of GRI 3(b).
GRI 3(a) requires the heading which provides the most
specific description of the composite good to be preferred to
headings which provide a more general description. However, when
two or more headings each refer to part only of the components
contained in a composite good, those headings are to be regarded
as equally specific in relation to those goods. GRI 3. Headings
8521, 8525, and 8528 of the HTSUSA refer to only part of the
components in the video system. Accordingly, no heading provides
a specific description of the video system.
GRI 3(b) requires "composite goods", which cannot be
classified by reference to 3(a), to be classified as if they
consisted of the component which gives the composite good its
essential character. The factor which determines essential
character will vary as between different kinds of goods. GRI
3(b) EN (VII). It may, for example, be determined by the nature
of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or
value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to
the use of the goods. EN (VII). In this case, the role of the
video recorder/player in relation to the use of the video system
determines essential character. The submitted literature states
that the main component of the system is the video recorder/
player. The recorder/player can separately be used with either
the monitor or camera. The other core components (i.e., monitor
and camera) both must be used with the video recorder/player in
order to function properly. Accordingly, the video system is
classifiable as if it consisted solely of the video recorder/
player because this component gives the composite good its
essential character. As stated previously, the video
recorder/player is classifiable within subheading 8521.10.00,
HTSUSA. Therefore, the video system as a whole is also properly
classifiable within this subheading.
GRI 5(a) states that certain cases and similar containers
which are "specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific
article or set of articles, suitable for long-term use and
presented with the articles for which they are intended, shall be
classified with such articles when of a kind normally sold
therewith." Containers which are "specially shaped or fitted" to
contain a set of articles are those designed specifically to
accommodate the articles for which they are intended. GRI 5(a)
EN I(1). The interior of the subject container is molded to
specifically accommodate each component of the video system.
This type of container is specially shaped or fitted to contain a
specific set of articles.
A GRI 5(a) container must also be suitable for long term
use. GRI 5(a) EN I(2). It must be designed to have a durability
comparable to that of the articles for which it is intended. EN
I(2). These containers also serve to protect the articles when
not in use (during transport or storage, for example). EN I(2).
The container at issue satisfies these requirements. It is
suitable for long term use, possesses durability, and serves to
protect the video system.
A GRI 5(a) container must additionally be presented with the
articles for which it is intended. GRI 5(a) EN I(3). The
subject container will be presented with each of the components
of the video system located in their intended compartments.
Accordingly, the container at issue satisfies this requirement.
A GRI 5(a) container must be of a kind normally sold with
such articles. A system such as this necessarily requires some
type of container in order to enable the system to be portable.
We consider the container at issue of the kind which would
normally be sold with a miniaturized and portable video system.
A GRI 5(a) container must not give the whole its essential
character. The subject container is designed to accommodate a
monitor, recorder/player, and camera as well as other components.
It is used for transport and protection of its contents. This
type of container does not give the whole its essential
The container in question satisfies all of the requirements
of GRI 5(a). Accordingly, it a specially fitted container which
is required to be classified with the articles which it is
intended to contain. GRI 5(a). The carrying case is intended to
contain the components of the video system. Therefore, the case
is classifiable with the video system within subheading
The subject video system satisfies the description of a GRI
3(b) composite good and is properly classifiable within
subheading 8521.10.00, HTSUSA, which provides for magnetic tape-
type video recording or reproducing apparatus, dutiable at the
rate of 3.9 percent ad valorem.
The subject carrying case satisfies the description of a GRI
5(a) specially shaped or fitted container and is properly
classifiable with the video system within subheading 8521.10.00,
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division