CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951158 MBR
U.S. Customs Service
909 First Ave., Rm 2039
Seattle, WA 98174
RE: Protest No. 3001-9X-XXXXXX; Soundesign; AC AM/FM, Dual
Cassette Stereo with Clock
This is our response to Protest Number 3001-9X-XXXXXX, dated
January 6, 1992, and Application for Further Review, regarding
the classification of AM/FM dual cassette stereo with clock,
under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
The imported merchandise consists of a stereo system which
combines in one housing, an AM/FM stereo receiver, a digital
clock and frequency readout display, a dual cassette deck, and a
three-band graphic equalizer. The imported stereo also includes
two speakers and a wireless remote control. It is AC-powered
Is the appropriate classification for nonportable,
combination AC stereos under subheading 8527.31.40, HTSUS, which
provides for combination stereos incorporating tape players which
are incapable of recording, or is the proper classification under
subheading 8527.31.50, HTSUS, which provides for other
combinations incorporating tape recorders?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS
govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI
1 states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes,
classification shall be determined according to the terms of the
headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."
Heading 8527, HTSUS, in pertinent part, describes reception
apparatus for radiobroadcasting, whether or not combined in the
same housing with sound recording or reproducing apparatus.
There is no dispute that the stereo combinations under
consideration are described by this heading.
GRI 6 governs the classification of goods in the subheadings
of a heading. GRI 6 provides in pertinent part that the
classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading is
determined according to the terms of the subheadings. In the
instant case, the competing subheadings are as follows:
8527.31.40 Combinations incorporating tape players which
are incapable of recording
8527.31.50 Other combinations incorporating tape
Subheading 8527.31.40, HTSUS, is inapplicable in this
instance because the dual cassette decks incorporated into the
systems are capable of recording. The systems do not incorporate
tape players which are incapable of recording. See HQ 087179,
dated May 31, 1991.
Unlike subheading 8527.31.40, HTSUS, which restricts the
tape players described to those which are incapable of recording,
subheading 8527.31.50, HTSUS, does not restrict the tape
recorders described to those which are incapable of playing.
Because the combinations under consideration incorporate tape
recorders, they are classifiable under subheading 8527.31.50,
The protestant argues that the units are classifiable under
subheading 8527.31.40, HTSUS, which provides for combinations
incorporating tape players which are incapable of recording.
The dual cassette deck physically and functionally
integrates two tape wells to allow the wells to be used together
to record ("dubbing") from one well to the other. One can also
use the dual cassette deck for single well play or record.
However, the "play only" well cannot operate without the motor
and many common tape deck parts it shares with the "record/play"
well. The motor and common parts are clearly not separate or
distinct to either tape well.
If classified separately, the dual cassette deck would be
described by Heading 8520 as a tape recorder incorporating a
sound reproducing (playing) device. The fact that the dual
cassette deck may be housed together with tuner/amplifiers and
other components does not erase its identity as a dual cassette
deck that records as well as plays. The dual cassette deck
component of the audio systems under consideration is not
described in the promotional literature as a separate tape player
and tape recorder, but is identified as a "Dual Cassette with
High Speed Dubbing."
Furthermore, as the court has emphatically stated, "it is
not for us to distort the statute to 'fix' what Congress either
intentionally or inadvertently failed to anticipate." Sea-Land
Service, Inc. v. United States, Appeal No. 90-1311 (Decided
November 30, 1990), citing Unimed, Inc. v. Quigg, 888 F.2d 826,
829 (Fed. Cir. 1989); See Crooks v. Harrelson, 282 U.S. 55, 60,
51 S.Ct. 49, 51, 75 L.Ed. 156 (1930) ("Laws enacted with good
intention, when put to the test, frequently, and to the surprise
of the law maker himself, turn out to be mischievous, absurd or
otherwise objectionable. But in such case the remedy lies with
the law making authority, and not with the courts.").
In HQ 089413 (addressed to you), dated May 31, 1991, Customs
revoked HQ 083065 (addressed to you), dated August 29, 1989. In
HQ 089413, Customs stated that you may apply for relief from the
binding effects of that decision as may be warranted by the
circumstances. You have applied for such relief and have
satisfactorily demonstrated that you reasonably relied on the
earlier ruling to your detriment. Therefore, after careful
consideration of the facts and documentation in this case, in
accordance with 19 CFR 177.9(d)(3), Customs has determined that
it is appropriate to delay the effective date of HQ 089413, dated
May 31, 1991, for a period of 90 days from May 31, 1991, for the
purposes of application to the entries of the protestant.
The Soundesign AC combination stereos incorporating clocks
are classified in subheading 8527.31.50, HTSUS, which provides
for reception apparatus for radiobroadcasting, combined in the
same housing, with sound recording or reproducing apparatus,
other radiobroadcast receivers, combined with sound recording or
reproducing apparatus, other, other combinations incorporating
You should deny the protest in full, except to the extent
that we have granted detrimental reliance to any entries in the
90 day period beginning May 31, 1991. 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