CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 953115 MBR

Mr. Donald Alford Weadon, Jr.
Dickstein, Shapiro & Morin
2101 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037-1526

RE: Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc.; Visual Signaling Apparatus; Liquid Crystal Display; LCD; Avionics LCD Module; Models TFD-32W20 and TFD-32W02; 8531; 9013; HQ 952502; HQ 952246; HQ 951609; HQ 951288; HQ 952360

Dear Mr. Weadon:

This is our reply to your letter of December 17, 1992, on behalf of Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC), requesting classification of the Avionics Liquid Crystal Display ("LCD") Modules, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


You state that the "Toshiba Avionics LCD Modules," which are designed to serve as the indicator panel portion of an air transport indicator ("ATI"), consist of a dot matrix LCD sandwich installed upon and connected to a specially designed printed circuit board ("PCB") populated with specially designed row and column LCD driver integrated circuits. The viewing area of the graphics modules consists of sub-pixels arranged in columns and rows across the active viewing area. The driver circuits receive a display output signal from a device such as a collision avoidance system ("TCAS"), and electronically address specific areas on the dot matrix of the LCD sandwich through a multiplex drive time- sharing sequence. When thus electronically addressed and stimulated, the molecules in the normally transparent liquid crystal medium, within the LCD sandwich, uniformly align and become opaque, creating a visible dot or series of dots, which then display a visual signal.


The instant importation also incorporates a bezel which is specially designed to aid in its physical incorporation into existing slots of an ATI. These importations are finished, ready to install ("plug and play") Avionics LCD Modules.

Toshiba specially designs the Avionics LCD Modules to meet stringent aircraft part specifications. The Avionics LCD Modules must withstand a much broader operating temperature range than standard indicator panel LCD modules. The Avionics LCD Modules must also withstand the incessant vibration which occurs during flight. In addition, the light transmittance, viewing angle and response time characteristics of the avionics LCD modules are specifically engineered to meet exacting air worthiness certification standards. As a result of their special design, color, and qualities, the cost of the Avionics LCD Modules is many times greater than that of standard indicator panel LCD modules of the same resolution. The sub pixel array of the Toshiba Avionics LCD Module is 240(2) X 240(2).


Are the instant Toshiba Avionics LCD Modules classified under heading 8531, HTSUS, which provides for electric sound or visual signaling apparatus, or under heading 9013, HTSUS, which provides for LCDs not provided for more specifically in other headings, or under heading 9014, HTSUS, which provides for parts and accessories of other navigational instruments?


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...

The instant Avionics LCD Modules are prima facie classifiable under the following subheadings:

8531 Electric sound or visual signaling apparatus (for example, bells, sirens, indicator panels...:

8531.20.00 Indicator panels incorporating liquid crystal devices (LCD's) or light emitting diodes (LED's)

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

9013 Liquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings:


9013.80.60 Other devices, appliances and instruments: Other

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

9014 Direction finding compasses; other navigational instruments and appliances; parts and accessories thereof:

9014.90.20 Parts and accessories: Of articles covered by subheading 9014.20.40

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

Heading 8531, HTSUS, provides for electric sound or visual signaling apparatus. Therefore, to be classifiable in this heading, the apparatus must be designed for "signaling."

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) to heading 8531, HTSUS, page 1381, are fairly descriptive and restrictive as to the types of "signaling" indicator panels and the like must perform in order to be classifiable in that provision. It states: "[t]hese are used (e.g., in offices, hotels and factories) for calling personnel, indicating where a certain person or service is required, indicating whether a room is free or not. They include:

(1) Room indicators. These are large panels with numbers corresponding to a number of rooms...

(2) Number indicators. The signals appear as illuminated figures on the face of a small box; in some apparatus of this kind the calling mechanism is operated by the dial of a telephone. Also clock type indicators in which the numbers are indicated by a hand moving round a dial.

(3) Office indicators, for example, those used to indicate whether the occupant of a particular office is free or not...

(4) Lift indicators. These indicate, on an illuminated board, where the lift is and whether it is going up or down. etc.

We have uniformly stated in HQ 952502, dated March 18, 1993, HQ 952246, dated November 10, 1992, HQ 951868, dated October 31, 1992, HQ 952360, dated October 15, 1992, and HQ 951288, dated July 7, 1992, that only those LCDs which are limited by design and/or principal use to that of "signaling," are classifiable in heading 8531, HTSUS.

Due to the specific design, function, and principal use of the instant Toshiba Avionics LCD Modules for avionic visual signaling,


they are clearly classifiable under heading 8531, which provides for "signaling apparatus." See HQ 951288, dated July 7, 1992, for a protest decision regarding Epson LCDs, distinguishing between "visual signaling" LCDs, and other types.

Section XVI, Legal Note 1(m) states that: "[t]his section does not cover: [a]rticles of chapter 90." Heading 9013, HTSUS, provides for: "[l]iquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings." Therefore, since the Toshiba Avionics LCD Modules are provided for more specifically in another heading (8531, HTSUS), they are not classifiable in heading 9013, HTSUS.

The Toshiba Avionics LCD Modules are also prima facie classifiable under subheading 9014.90.20, HTSUS, which provides for parts of navigational instruments. However, the Legal Notes to chapter 90, in pertinent part, direct as follows:

2. Subject to note 1 above, parts and accessories for machines, apparatus, instruments or articles of this chapter are to be classified according to the following rules:

(a) Parts and accessories which are goods included in any of the headings of this chapter or of chapter 84, 85 or 91 (other than heading 8485, 8548 or 9033) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings; Therefore, since the Toshiba Avionics LCD Modules are included in heading 8531, HTSUS, (visual signaling apparatus), they are not classifiable under the provision for parts of navigational instruments (heading 9014, HTSUS).


The Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc., Avionics Liquid Crystal Display Modules Models TFD-32W20, and TFD-32W02, for avionics visual signaling, are classifiable in subheading 8531.20.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectric sound or visual signaling apparatus (for example, bells, sirens, indicator panels...: [i]ndicator panels incorporating liquid crystal devices (LCD's) or light emitting diodes (LED's)." The rate of duty is 2.7% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director