CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 088748 AJS
TARIFF NO: 8517.81.00
U.S. Customs Service
Port of Buffalo
111 West Huron Street
Buffalo, NY 14202
RE: Protest No. 0901-0-700634; Digital intercom; Subheading
8517.81.00; Subheading 8531.10.00; Subheading 8527.32.00;
Explanatory Note 85.17; Section XVI, note 3.
Dear District Director:
Protest for further review 0901-0-700634 dated 7/19/90, was
filed against the tariff classification of the EP-1000 Digital
Intercom/Security system within subheading 8517.81.00, Harmonized
Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).
The subject system consists of an audio intercom and AM/FM
radiobroadcasting receiver combined with a clock. The system
also possesses a security/monitoring option if the RS-1000 keypad
is connected. However, no RS-1000 keypads were included in the
shipment which is the subject of this protest.
Whether the subject system is properly classifiable within
subheading 8517.81.00, HTSUSA, which provides for telephonic
apparatus; or classifiable within subheading 8531.10.00, HTSUSA,
which provides for burglar or fire alarms and similar apparatus;
or classifiable within subheading 8527.32.00, HTSUSA, which
provides for radiobroadcast receivers combined with a clock.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed
by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides
that classification is determined first in accordance with the
terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or
Heading 8517, HTSUSA, provides for electrical apparatus for
line telephony or line telegraphy. This heading covers
"apparatus for the transmission between two points of speech or
other sounds (or of symbols representing written messages, images
or other data), by variation of an electric current or of an
optical wave flowing in a metallic or dielectric (copper, optical
fibres, combination cables etc.) circuit connecting the
transmitting station to the receiving station." Explanatory Note
(EN) 85.17. The digital intercom portion of this system
satisfies this description. It allows for the transmission of
speech between two stations within the system in the above
manner. More specifically, the intercom is provided for within
subheading 8517.81.00, HTSUSA, as an other telephonic apparatus.
However, the AM/FM radio combined with clock does not satisfy the
terms of this heading. Therefore, the subject system cannot be
classified by the terms of heading 8517, HTSUSA.
Heading 8527, HTSUSA, provides for reception apparatus for
radiobroadcasting, whether or not combined in the same housing
with a clock. The subject system consists of an AM/FM radio
combined with a clock which satisfies the terms of this heading.
However, the intercom discussed previously does not satisfy the
terms of this heading. Accordingly, the subject system also does
not satisfy the terms of this heading.
The relative section notes provide for the classification of
composite machines consisting of two or more machines fitted
together to form a whole and other machines adapted for the
purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative
functions. Section XVI, note 3. The subject system satisfies
this description. It consists of a digital intercom and AM/FM
radio combined with a clock. These machines are incorporated
into a system to perform the alternative functions of telephonic
communications or radiobroadcasting reception. The machines of
note 3 are to be classified as if consisting only of that
component or as being that machine which performs the principal
function. In this instance, the digital intercom performs the
principal function. The submitted literature indicates that the
principal use of the system revolves around the intercom function
and that the radio function is subordinate to that of the
intercom function. For instance, the literature states that any
type of intercom call will automatically mute the radio.
Accordingly, the subject system is classifiable within subheading
8517.81.00, HTSUSA, as if it consisted only of the intercom.
The protestant argues that the subject system is
classifiable within subheading 8531.10.00, HTSUSA, as a burglar
or fire alarm and similar apparatus. This argument is based on
the claim that the security portion of the system performs the
principal function of the system. However, the security system
is an optional feature which can only be added by the addition of
the RS-1000 keypad. These keypads were not included in the
shipment under protest. Therefore, this system does not satisfy
the terms of subheading 8531.10.00, HTSUSA, and cannot be
The EP-1000 system is properly classifiable within
subheading 8517.81.00, HTSUSA, which provides for other
telephonic apparatus. You should deny the protest in full. A
copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19
Notice of Action and forwarded to the protestant.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division