CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 950431 DWS
Area Director of Customs
Jamaica, NY 11430
RE: Hearing Aid Parts and Accessories; GRI 2 (a); HQ 089204;
Components Shipped in Bulk Form
This is our decision on Application for Further Review of
Protest No. 1001-1-104272, dated May 25, 1991, concerning your
action in classifying and assessing duty on hearing aid parts and
accessories under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United
The merchandise consists of various hearing aid parts and
accessories such as miniaturized microphones, amplifiers,
batteries, wires, noise limiters, ear pieces, switches,
potentiometers, coils, insulators, etc. All of these items are
specifically designed for an "Otican" hearing aid. After
importation into the United States, and based upon a prescription
written for a particular patient by a physician, "Otican" hearing
aids will be assembled from these items. These items are shipped
in bulk form from Denmark. Even though the merchandise is
shipped in bulk form, it is claimed that any number of hearing
aids can be assembled with the spare parts and accessories in one
The entry documents indicate that some portions of the
entries were complete, finished hearing aids. It is not clear as
to the disposition of this merchandise. We assume they were
properly classified under subheading 9817.00.96, HTSUS, which
provides for "[a]rticles specially designed or adapted for the
use or benefit of the blind or other physically or mentally
handicapped persons: [o]ther", and are not included in this
What is the proper classification of the subject hearing aid
parts and accessories under the HTSUS?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in
accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's),
taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined
according to the terms of the headings and any relative chapter
or section notes.
The subject merchandise was entered under subheading
9817.00.96, HTSUS. However, the merchandise was liquidated under
subheading 9021.90.40, HTSUS, which provides for: "[p]arts and
accessories for hearing aids and for pacemakers for stimulating
It is argued that the merchandise shipped in bulk form
consists of unassembled hearing aids under GRI 2 (a). GRI 2 (a)
[a]ny reference in a heading to an article shall be taken
to include a reference to that article incomplete or
unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or
unfinished article has the essential character of the
complete or finished article. It shall also include a
reference to that article complete or finished (or falling
to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this
rule), entered unassembled or disassembled.
In understanding GRI 2 (a), the Harmonized Commodity
Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized.
The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive, are to be used
to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed.
Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). Explanatory Note 2 (V) (p.
2), HTSUS, states, in part, that "[w]hen goods are so presented,
it is usually for reasons such as requirements or convenience of
packing, handling, or transport." Explanatory Note 2 (VII) (p.
2), HTSUS, states, in part, that "[f]or the purposes of this
Rule, 'articles presented unassembled or disassembled' means
articles the components of which are to be assembled either by
means of simple fixing devices (screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) or by
riveting or welding, for example, provided only simple assembly
operations are involved."
HQ 089204, dated November 22, 1991, dealt with shipments in
bulk form of component parts for alarm systems. It was said that
the bulk shipments of numerous components and parts are "not the
type of 'convenience of packing, handling or transport' that the
[Explanatory Notes] contemplate. We have previously addressed
this issue in Internal Advice 4/91, HQ 088595, and HQ 087888,
dated December 3, 1990, and held that these types of shipments
are 'nothing more than disparate components in bulk form.'"
The importer has made no statements or offered any evidence
that these shipments would include anything more than bulk
shipments of numerous components and parts. Also, no evidence
has been provided as to whether simple assembly operations are
involved in creating hearing aids from the parts and accessories.
Therefore, the volume shipments of parts and accessories would
not be considered as having the essential character of complete
hearing aids because they are apparently nothing more than
disparate components shipped in bulk form.
As noted earlier, you classified the various parts and
accessories under subheading 9021.90.40, HTSUS. Note 2 (a) to
chapter 90, HTSUS, provides that:
[p]arts and accessories which are goods included in any of
the headings of this chapter or of chapter 84, 85, or 91 are
in all cases to be classified in their respective headings.
It appears that some of the merchandise, although parts and
accessories for hearing aids, may have been erroneously
classified in heading 9021, HTSUS, rather than in their
respective headings under GRI 1 and Note 2 (a) to chapter 90,
HTSUS. However, no claim has been made as to the proper
classification. 19 CFR 174.13 (5) and (6) noted.
The subject merchandise is not classifiable under subheading
9817.00.96, HTSUS. Under GRI 1 and Note 2 (a) to chapter 90,
HTSUS, some items may have been erroneously classified in heading
9021, HTSUS, rather than in their respective headings. Those
items that are not specifically provided elsewhere are
classifiable under subheading 9021.90.40, HTSUS.
The protest should be denied in full. A copy of this
decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided
to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division