CLA-2-49:S:N:N8:234 802460

Mr. Dale G. Vander Yacht
Border Brokerage Company
P.O. Box 3549
Blaine, WA 98231

RE: The tariff classification of phone pass cards (telephone access debit cards), from Canada; printed matter; recorded and unrecorded media.

Dear Mr. Vander Yacht:

In your letter dated September 15, 1994, on behalf of your client, Stentor Resource Centre (Burnaby, B.C., Canada), you requested a tariff classification ruling.

A sample was submitted and will be retained for reference. It is a 2 1/8" x 3 3/8" x .024" printed plastic card known as a "HELLO! (TM) Phone Pass." One side of the card is printed with that name, as well as the designation "$20," a telephone company's logo, and a photo of a ski resort. The other side features text (instructions) on how to use the card. In addition to a special "800" telephone number, this text includes a unique 12-digit card number ("PIN") and the phrase, "Do not insert in telephone."

The item is intended to function as a prepaid pass or debit card enabling the bearer to make long-distance telephone calls from any Touch-Tone (TM) phone (not just pay phones). The user simply calls the 800 number provided and enters the "PIN" when prompted to do so by an "automated voice." Subsequently, after the "automated voice" provides a greeting and information on how many units are left on the pass, the user can proceed to "dial" the number he or she wishes to call.

The applicable tariff provision for the above-described phone card will be 4911.99.8000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for other (non-enumerated) printed matter. The general rate of duty will be 4.9%.

Although the sample card does not incorporate a magnetic (or similar media) stripe, you indicated in a telephone conversation that another version of the product will have this feature, thus allowing the user to access the system by swiping the card through a pay phone designed to accommodate it.

The applicable subheading for the phone card with magnetic (or other media) stripe, if pre-recorded in its imported condition, will be 8524.90.4080, HTSUSA, which provides for other (non-enumerated) recorded media. The general rate of duty will be 9.7 cents per square meter of recording surface.

The applicable subheading for the phone card with magnetic (or other media) stripe, if unrecorded in its imported condition, will be 8523.90.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for other (non-enumerated) prepared unrecorded media. The general rate of duty will be 4.2%.

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

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director
New York Seaport