CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 954255 DWS

Mr. Alan E. Edmonds
Yusen Air & Sea Service, Inc.
230 McClellan Highway
East Boston, MA 02128

RE: Optical Isolator; Chapter 90, Additional U.S. Note 3

Dear Mr. Edmonds:

This is in response to your letters of February 4, 1993, to the District Director, Boston, Massachusetts, and April 5, 1993, to the Area Director, New York Seaport, on behalf of Nissei Sangyo America, Ltd., concerning the classification of optical isolators under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise consists of optical isolators which are principally used as components of laser semiconductor devices. An optical isolator, composed of a Faraday rotator, a polarizer, a permanent magnet, and an analyzer with a holder, is a passive component which utilizes magnetic-optical properties to eliminate the back reflection of light. It is not a semiconductor device. The optical isolator contains a miniature glass polarizer which incorporates a silver matrix to polarize light.

The optical isolator is mounted in a laser semiconductor module in the light path between the laser chip and the transport medium (optical fibers). It operates to transmit a forward beam and shut off a backward beam in optical communication and measuring instruments.


Whether the optical isolator is classifiable under subheading 9013.80.60, HTSUS, as an other optical instrument?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Chapter 90, additional U.S. note 3, HTSUS, states that:

[f]or the purposes of this chapter, the term "optical appliances" and "optical instruments" refer only to those appliances and instruments which incorporate one or more optical elements, but do not include any appliances or instruments in which the incorporated optical element or elements are solely for viewing a scale or for some other subsidiary purpose.

Inasmuch as the optical isolator meets the definition of an "optical instrument" under chapter 90, additional U.S. note 3, HTSUS, it is our position that it is classifiable under subheading 9013.80.60, which provides for: ". . . other optical appliances and instruments, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter . . .: [o]ther devices, appliances and instruments: [o]ther."


The optical isolator is classifiable under subheading 9013.80.60, HTSUS, as an other optical instrument. The general, column one rate of duty is 9 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director