CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 088639 MBR
Mr. Alan Foster
Director of Purchasing
P.O. Box 1847
Des Moines, Iowa 50306
RE: Reconsideration of HQ 087547, dated October 10, 1990;
Sunfire Video Display Screen; 8543
Dear Mr. Foster:
We have been asked to reconsider our ruling letter to you,
HQ 087547, dated October 10, 1990, regarding classification of
the Sunfire video display screen, under the Harmonized Tariff
Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).
The article in question is the Sunfire video display screen.
It is a transportable, full color, video display screen that is
capable of displaying a variety of images from sources such as:
CATV, television cameras, video tapes, and computer-generated
data or images. The display occurs when the screen's numerous
modules are illuminated in various ways.
The screen's overall size is 8.8' x 12', 1.6' thick, and it
weighs 2860 lbs. At the appropriate viewing distance the
picture quality is comparable to standard color television sets.
The luminance of the Sunfire Screen may be fixed for either
indoor or outdoor viewing. This video display screen is capable
of operating outdoors, in any weather condition. A personal
computer and digitizer are required to control the screen. The
digitizer processes the received television, video or computer
signal for display.
Whether the Sunfire Screen is classified in subheading
8531.20.00, HTSUSA, which provides for "Electric sound or visual
signaling apparatus (for example, bells, sirens, indicator
panels, burglar or fire alarms)...: Indicator panels
incorporating liquid crystal devices (LCD's) or light emitting
diodes (LED's)," or in subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUSA, which
provides for "Electrical machines and apparatus, having
individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this
chapter; parts thereof: Other machines and apparatus: Other."
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is
governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1,
HTSUSA, states in part that "for legal purposes, classification
shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and
any relative section or chapter notes..."
HQ 087547, dated October 10, 1990, held that the Sunfire
Screen was classifiable under 8531.20.00, HTSUSA, which provides
for: "Electrical sound or visual signaling apparatus (for
example, bells, sirens, indicator panels, burglar or fire
alarms)...: Indicator panels incorporating liquid crystal devices
(LCD's) or light emitting diodes (LED's)" In HQ 087547, we
No one heading exactly covers screens of this type used to
display images. However, it is the opinion of this office
that the Sunfire Screen is a type of indicator panel most
specifically described by heading 8531, HTSUSA.
However, HQ 086032, dated January 17, 1990, held that a
message display center which operated on a computer program to
generate full color animation, graphics, and text, was properly
classifiable under subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUSA, which provides
for electrical apparatus having an individual function, not
provided for elsewhere. In that decision, we stated that:
Nevertheless, the message display centers perform a function
which is different than that of signalling equipment.
Although the instant merchandise can flash graphics or
animation to call attention to the display, its primary
purpose is to convey a substantive message; this function is
more than that of signalling equipment which is designed to
provide a signal to a viewer who normally will
instantaneously understand the meaning of the signal.
Additionally, HQ 077392, dated September 23, 1986, held that
under the TSUS, moving message displays were not classifiable
under the provision for "other sound or visual signalling
apparatus," provided for in 685.70, TSUS. Here, Customs relied
on the court in Oxford International Corporation v. United
States, 75 Cust. Ct. 58, C.D. 4608 (1975), which stated that this
provision encompasses only those devices whose function is to
call attention to temporary or abnormal conditions. Therefore,
the court concluded that the general provision "other sound or
visual signalling apparatus" must exclude articles which operate
continuously and which do not warn of the existence of
emergencies or of special circumstances.
Therefore, it is now our position that the Sunfire video
display screen is not properly classifiable under heading 8531,
HTSUSA, which provides for "electrical sound or visual signalling
apparatus," since it operates continuously and does not warn of
the existence of emergencies or of special circumstances.
The Sunfire video display screen is properly classifiable
under subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUSA, which provides for:
"Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions,
not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts
thereof: Other machines and apparatus: Other." The rate of duty
is 1.5%, if the provisions of the United States - Canada Free
Trade Agreement are met.
EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
In order to insure uniformity in Customs classification of
this merchandise and eliminate uncertainty, we are modifying HQ
087547 to reflect the above classification, effective with the
date of this letter.
This notice to you should be considered a modification of HQ
087547, dated October 10, 1990, under authority of Section 19 CFR
177.9(d)(1). It is not to be applied retroactively to HQ 087547
(19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)), and will not affect past importations of
your merchandise. However, HQ 087547 will not be valid
precedent for future transactions.
We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely
affected by this modification. If such a situation arises, you
may notify this office and apply for relief from the binding
effects of this decision, as may be warranted by the
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division