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
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:
...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"
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.
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"
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
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
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
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
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.
EFFECT ON OTHER RULINGS:
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