CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 952790 MBR

Mr. Michael R. Doram
Politis, Pollack & Doram
3255 Wilshire BLVD., Suite 1688
Los Angeles, CA 90010

RE: Revocation of HQ 952237 and NY 868205; "Autotalk"; Electromagnetic Wave; Television Reception; Radio Wave; Accessory; Electrical Machines and Apparatus N.S.P.F.

Dear Mr. Doram:

This is in reply to your October 22, 1992, request for reconsideration of HQ 952237, dated October 2, 1992, regarding the classification of the "Autotalk" automotive radio accessory, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


"Autotalk" is a television audio receiver designed for connection to an automobile stereo. It is capable of receiving the audio signal for local television stations as well as "Second Audio Program" (SAP) television transmission which may contain specialized information regarding weather and traffic conditions. The reception frequency coverage includes television channels 2 - 69 (162.44 - 162.55 MHz). The output transmission frequency of the Autotalk is 530 kHz (AM radio).

The Autotalk is designed for attachment to an automotive radio that receives AM band transmissions. The AM signal transmitted through a cable from the Autotalk is selected, detected and amplified by the automotive sound system.


What is the classification of the "Autotalk" television audio receiver, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)?



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:

...classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...

NY 868205, dated November 21, 1991, and HQ 952237, dated October 2, 1992, held that the Autotalk was classifiable in heading 8527, HTSUS, which provides for reception apparatus for radiobroadcasting. However, upon further study and analysis, it is now our understanding that the Autotalk does not, in fact, receive any "radio" waves. Instead, it is exclusively designed for the reception of television electromagnetic waves (channels 2 - 69), and the transmission of an AM radio wave (530 AM).

Radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy, radiobroadcasting and television, are all specifically defined forms of electromagnetic radiation. "The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology, 6th Edition (1987), page 154, defines "Electromagnetic radiation" as follows:

Energy transmitted through space or through a material medium in the form of electromagnetic waves. The term can also refer to the emission and propagation of such energy. Whenever an electric charge oscillates or is accelerated, a disturbance characterized by the existence of electric and magnetic fields propagates outward from it. This disturbance is called an electromagnetic wave. The frequency range of such waves is tremendous, as is shown by the electromagnetic spectrum in the table. (Emphasis added).

McGraw-Hill also delineates that the electromagnetic waves emitted from a source are oscillatory in character and are described in terms of their frequency of oscillation. Local telephone lines (not using carrier systems) carry electromagnetic waves with frequencies of about 200-4000 Hz. Medium-wave radio uses frequencies of the order of 10(6th power) Hz, whereas television utilizes frequencies of the order of 10(8th power) Hz. The frequency of oscillation of infrared transmissions is much higher than that of radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy, radiobroadcasting or television. Therefore, "television" waves cannot be said to be encompassed by the term "radiobroadcasting", as provided for in heading 8527, HTSUS. See also HQ 089160, dated August 2, 1991, and HQ 088599, dated May 2, 1991, in which "infrared" electromagnetic waves were distinguished from "radio" electromagnetic waves.


The instant merchandise remains prima facie classifiable under the following headings:

8528 Television receivers (including video monitors and video projectors), whether or not incorporating radiobroadcast receivers or sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

8525 Transmission apparatus for radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy, radiobroadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

8529 Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8528

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

8543 Electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the HTSUS, page 1374, regarding transmission apparatus for radio-broadcasting, state, in pertinent part that: "[t]he apparatus for radio-broadcasting falling in this heading must be for the transmission of signals by means of electro-magnetic waves transmitted through the ether without any line connection." Therefore, even though the Autotalk transmits AM radio waves, it is not "through the ether," since it transmits only internally through a cable connected directly to the automotive sound system. The Autotalk merely receives the audio television transmission, and as such, cannot be said to fall within the ambit of the term "television receiver," as that term is known commercially and in the HTSUS (detection, selection, and amplification of a visual as well as audio signal). See the ENs page 1378 which exclude apparatus which are merely "tuners."

The court has stated that in determining whether an item is a part of an article, the court looks to the "nature, function, and purpose of an item in relation to the article to which it is attached or designed to serve...." Ideal Toy Corp. v. United States, 58 CCPA 9, 13, C.A.D. 996, 433 F.2d 801, 803 (1979); Gallagher & Ascher Co., Inc. v. United States, 52 CCPA 11, 13, C.A.D. 849 (1964); New York Merchandise Co. v. United States, 59


Cust. Ct. 306, 314, C.D. 3150, 273 F. Supp. 377, 383 (1967); Beacon Cycle & Supply Co., Inc. v. United States, 81 Cust. Ct. 46, 51, C,D, 4764, 458 F.Supp. 813, 817 (1978). The rule set out in United States v. Willoughby Camera Stores, Inc., 21 CCPA 322, 324, T.D. 46,851 (1933), has been modified over the years so that a device may be a part of an article even though the device is not necessary to the operation of the article, provided that once the device is installed, the article cannot function properly without it. To meet this test, the device must be dedicated for use upon the article. See Clipper Belt Lacer Co., Inc., v. United States, Slip. Op. 90-22 (1990).

In the instant case, however, the "Autotalk" is not necessary for the automotive radio to function normally. Therefore, it is an accessory, which increases the capabilities of the automotive sound system. However, there is no HTSUS provision for accessories of the apparatus of heading 8525, HTSUS. Therefore, the "Autotalk" is properly classifiable in subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter: [o]ther machines and apparatus: [o]ther."


The "Autotalk" is classifiable in subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter: [o]ther machines and apparatus: [o]ther." The rate of duty is 3.9% ad valorem.


HQ 952237, dated October 2, 1992, and NY 868205, dated November 21, 1991, are revoked under authority of section 177,9(d), Customs Regulations, for the reasons stated above.


John Durant, Director