RR:CR:GC 964973 JLV
Ms. Karen Gibson
880 Apollo Street, Suite 101
El Segundo, CA 90245
RE: LG Electronics PC Camera model LPC-UC35; subheading 8525.30; subheading 8525.40; subheading 8471.60; input units for ADP machine; still image video camera; television camera
Dear Ms. Gibson:
In a letter dated September 15, 2000, on behalf of LG Electronics, U.S.A., you requested a ruling on the classification of a PC camera under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). In a letter of January 30, 2002, you affirmed that you still await a decision on classification of the product. Our decision follows. We regret the delay in our response. A sample was submitted. If you want the sample returned, please provide us with a prepaid mailer or billing code for shipper of your choice.
The camera is LG Electronics’ model LPC-UC35. The camera is designed to be connected to the USB port of a computer without the need for a video board in the computer. It measures approximately 70 x 44 x 95 mm (WxHxD), weighs approximately 90 grams, and is detachable from a swivel base.
The basic components in the camera, all of which are incorporated into a housing mounted on the swivel base, are as follows: a ¼-inch CCD (charged-coupled device) image sensor, a manually-focused lens, a “snapshot” button for capturing still images, and a data-conversion device for converting the analog data from the CCD into digital data format for transmission by USB cable.
Typically, these small cameras capture images in the form of electrical charges created by light hitting the pixels on the CCD. These electrical charges are then converted to digital signals (e.g., by an analog-to-digital converter chip), compressed and transmitted to the computer. These images may then be processed by a variety of software programs installed on the computer.
The camera has a maximum video capture resolution of 640x480 pixels, a maximum frame rate of 30 fps (frames per second), and a focus range of 15 mm to infinity. The camera does not have an internal memory for storage of images and cannot function when disconnected from the computer.
Included with the camera is a USB cable, a small booklet with information for the user, and a CD-ROM with software which, when installed on a computer, enables the camera to be used with the computer for several different purposes, such as for the capture of still images or moving images, video conferencing, and editing of video or still images.
It is your position that the PC camera is classifiable in heading 8471, HTSUS, or, in the alternative, in heading 8473, HTSUS.
Is the LG USB PC camera classifiable as a unit of an ADP machine in subheading 8471.60, HTSUS, as a part or accessory of an ADP machine in subheading 8473.39, HTSUS, as a television camera in subheading 8525.30, HTSUS, as a still image video camera or other video camera recorder in subheading 8525.40, or as a digital camera in subheading 8525.40, HTSUS?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The underlying classification issue is not new. In HQ 958632, dated January 25, 1996, the TeleCamera Series 4000, 5000 and 6000 cameras, designed to be connected to an ADP machine and used for videoconferencing, were classified in subheading 8525.30 as television cameras. In other rulings on similar cameras, all of which were designed to be connected to an ADP machine, Customs held that these cameras were classifiable in subheading 8525.30 as television cameras (see NY A84032 of May 31, 1996; NY B81818 of February 13, 1997; NY A81240 of March 18, 1996; and NY F88315 of June 29, 2000).
The HTSUS is based on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System). At the time of the request for a ruling on behalf of LG Electronics, the legal text of heading 8525, HTSUS, was based on the implementation of the 1996 Harmonized System and provided for the following:
Heading 8525 (1996 Harmonized System)
8525 Transmission apparatus for radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy, radiobroadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras or other video camera recorders:
Effective on January 10, 2002, the United States implemented the 2002 Harmonized System. One of the changes in the Harmonized System was in heading 8525. The term “digital cameras” was added to the heading text for heading 8525, HTSUS (2002), as follows:
Heading 8525 (2002 Harmonized System)
8525 Transmission apparatus for radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy, radiobroadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras or other video camera recorders; digital cameras:
We note this difference in the texts because it is possible that your client may have entries under the current 2002 HTSUS as well as entries made prior to January 10, 2002.
The facts indicate that, as presented, the camera is designed to be connected to an ADP machine for capturing images that must be transmitted to the ADP machine. As such, it satisfies the criteria (a) through (c) set out in Note 5(B) to Chapter 84 and could be considered an input unit for an ADP machine.
Inasmuch as the camera satisfies the criteria for “units of ADP machines,” classification as a part or accessory of an ADP machine in heading 8473 would be precluded.
However, Note 5 to Chapter 84 also provides in pertinent part, at (E), that “machines performing a specific function other than data processing and * * * working in conjunction with an automatic data processing machine are to be classified in the headings appropriate to their respective functions.” In this case, the product in question is a machine known as a “camera.” The function of this camera is to transmit video images captured by the CCD. Heading 8525 provides, in relevant part, for certain types of cameras that are not film-based cameras. Cameras of heading 8525 are digital or analog cameras that either transmit signals or record images on magnetic or other non-film media.
Entries prior to January 10, 2002
Prior to January 10, 2002, heading 8525 (HTSUS 2001) provided for two categories of cameras: “television cameras” (subheading 8525.30) and “still image video cameras or other video camera recorders” (subheading 8525.40).
Cameras, whether digital or analog, which are “still image video cameras or other video camera recorders” are cameras which have the ability to record and store still images or video on media within the camera. The legal text describes these cameras as “recorders.” While not legally binding, Explanatory Note (EN) 85.25 to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS), section (D), page 1489, (2nd Edition, 1996), indicated that the cameras of this category “record the images taken by the camera.” Therefore, the PC camera would not fall within the terms of heading 8525 for still image video cameras and other video camera recorders.
The other category of cameras in heading 8525 is the category of television cameras. Television cameras are typically cameras used for transmission of video. EN 85.25, section (E), at page 1488 (2nd Edition, 1996), describes these cameras as including, for example, “television cameras for television studios or for reporting, those used for industrial or scientific purposes or for supervising traffic.” Television cameras, in effect, are essentially cameras designed to transmit video images. The LG Electronics LPC-UC35 USB PC camera captures and transmits video images to the ADP machine (computer) for processing or for direct transmission over the Internet. Whether a camera transmits video directly to a television, to a video monitor for surveillance, or to a computer for display or processing, it performs the function of a category of cameras that fall within the term “television cameras” of heading 8525.
Therefore, to the extent that it is a “camera” and performs the function of image transmission, it performs a function of a good of heading 8525 (HTSUS 2001), specifically that of a television camera. Pursuant to Note 5(E) to Chapter 84, cameras are precluded from classification as units of ADP machines in heading 8471 and is properly classifiable in heading 8525 (HTSUS 2001), and specifically in subheading 8525.30.90, HTSUS, as other television cameras.
Entries since January 10, 2002
Since January 10, 2002, heading 8525 (HTSUS 2002) provides for three categories of cameras: “television cameras” (subheading 8525.30), “still image video cameras or other video camera recorders” (subheading 8525.40) and “digital cameras” (subheading 8525.40).
This amendment to the international text of the Harmonized System was not intended to affect the scope of the existing subheadings within heading 8525, but was intended merely to make it clear that digital cameras were classified in heading 8525. This is reflected, in part, by the amended Explanatory Note for the 2002 text for heading 8525 of the Harmonized System. The description of “television cameras” in EN 85.25 (C), page 1668, was not amended. The description for the products of subheading 8525.40 in EN 85.25 (D), page 1669, was amended to describe three types of “recording” cameras. In the three descriptions, the cameras are described as those that “record” images.
We also note that there is no indication of a change in the scope of subheadings 8525.30 and 8525.40, HTSUS, in Publication 3430 (June 2001), a report by the U.S. International Trade Commission on Investigation 1205-5 (Proposed Modifications to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States). It was known by published rulings in the United States that these cameras were classifiable in subheading 8525.30, HTSUS. Therefore, we conclude that the addition of the term “digital cameras” in subheading 8525.40 did not affect the classification of these cameras that were previously classifiable as "television” cameras in subheading 8525.30, HTSUS.
To the extent that the LPC-UC35 USB PC camera is a “camera” and performs the function of image transmission, it performs a function of a good of heading 8525 (HTSUS 2002), specifically that of a television camera. Pursuant to Note 5(E) to Chapter 84, camera is precluded from classification as a unit of an ADP machine in heading 8471 and is properly classifiable in heading 8525, and specifically in subheading 8525.30.90, HTSUS (2002), as other television cameras.
By application of General Interpretative Rule 1, Note 5(E) to Chapter 84 and the terms of heading 8525, HTSUS, the LG Electronics model LPC-UC35 USB PC cameras are classifiable in subheading 8525.30.90, HTSUS, as other television cameras.
Myles B. Harmon
Commercial Rulings Division