CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 967545 DSS
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
3600 East Paisano Drive, Bldg. B
El Paso, TX 79905
Attn: Protest and Control
RE: Further Review of Protest No. 2402-04-100012; cartridges for wireless microphones from Mexico
Dear Port Director:
This is our decision on Protest 2402-04-100012, filed by Barnes, Richardson and Colburn on behalf of the importer, Shure, Inc. (protestant), against your classification of what was described on the entry documents as cartridges for wireless microphones under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).
The subject merchandise is described as a cartridge for a wireless microphone on the entry documents. The instant cartridge for a wireless microphone, also known as a complete wireless microphone head, is imported from Mexico.
The wireless head is screwed into the top of a wireless microphone. The head contains the instruments and controls that help transform acoustic signals into electro-magnetic waves, which are then transmitted by the wireless microphone to a wireless receiving device and reproduced as sound.
The wireless microphone cartridges or heads at issue consist of an outer grille with a screw-on base. Inside the microphone head is a layer of foam. The screw-on base consists of a plastic support, a condenser cartridge, a closing ring, and charged backplate for the condenser. The microphone head may be attached to a wireless microphone for use in a wireless microphone system as a replacement part.
The subject merchandise was liquidated under subheading 8518.90.8000, HTSUSA, which provides for “Microphones and stands therefor; . . . ; parts thereof: Parts: Other: Other.” The protestant agues that the merchandise should be classified under subheading 8529.90.9900, HTSUSA, which provides for “Parts for use solely or principally with the apparatus of heading 8525 to 8528: Other: Other: Other.”
The subject merchandise was entered between September 22 and September 26, 2003. The entries were liquidated on August 6, 2004, and this protest was filed on November 4, 2004.
Whether the instant cartridges for wireless microphones are classified as parts of microphones under heading 8518, HTSUS, or under heading 8529, HTSUS, which provides for, among other things, parts for microphones of heading 8525, HTSUS.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Initially, we note that the protest was timely filed and that the classification made at the port of entry is protestable (see 19 U.S.C. § 1514(a)(2) and (5)).
Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied.
The HTSUS provisions under consideration (2003) are as follows:
Microphones and stands therefor; loudspeakers, whether or not mounted in their enclosures; headphones and earphones, whether or not combined with a microphone, and sets consisting of a microphone and one or more loudspeakers; audio-frequency electric amplifiers; electric sound amplifier sets; parts thereof:
* * * *
Parts for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8528:
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).
The protestant argues that the cartridge is correctly classified under heading 8529, HTSUS, as a part of a wireless microphone. The protestant makes the following arguments in support of the claimed classification: the complete wireless microphone head is utilized with Shure wireless microphone systems; it is not physically compatible with any wired microphone systems and cannot be used in a wired microphone; wireless microphones are classified under heading 8525, HTSUS; the cartridge is not provided for more specifically in another heading; therefore, according to Note 2(b) to Section XVI, it is classified under heading 8529, HTSUS.
CBP has classified wireless microphones with a transmitter that transmit sound through electro-magnetic waves under heading 8525, HTSUS, which provides for “Radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy, radiobroadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reproducing apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus.” See, e.g., New York Ruling Letter (NY) 808351, dated December 30, 1996; K83794, dated March 4, 2004; NY D81807, dated September 2, 1998.
Moreover, EN 85.25 provides in relevant part:
TRANSMISSION APPARATUS FOR RADIO-TELEPHONY OR RADIO-TELEGRAPHY
This apparatus is used for the transmission of signals (representing speech, messages or still pictures) by means of electro-magnetic waves which are transmitted through the ether without any line connection.
This group includes, inter alia: . . .
8) Cordless microphones consisting of a housing containing a transmitter which sends the signals received by the microphone inside the housing. Attached is a short length of cable (which acts as an aerial) or small metal aerial.
CBP generally will consider an article to be a part if: it is combined with other articles to be used; or it is an integral, constituent or component, without which the article to which it is joined could not function. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 962634, dated October 25, 2001, and HQ 082976, dated March 20, 1990.
Furthermore, Section XVI, Note 2 states in pertinent part:
Subject to note 1 to this section, note 1 to chapter 84 and to note 1 to chapter 85, parts of machines (not being parts of the articles of heading 8484, 8544, 8545, 8546 or 8547) are to be classified according to the following rules:
Parts which are goods included in any of the headings of chapter 84 or 85 (other than headings 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8485, 8503, 8522, 8529, 8538 and 8548) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings;
(b) Other parts, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine, or with a number of machines of the same heading (including a machine of heading 8479 or 8543) are to be classified with the machines of that kind or in heading 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8503, 8522, 8529 or 8538 as appropriate. However, parts which are equally suitable for use principally with the goods of headings 8517 and 8525 to 8528 are to be classified in heading 8517;
From the information provided, it is apparent that the instant cartridges are used as heads on wireless microphones. The cartridges (or heads) contain instruments, controls and other components that aid in converting sounds into radio signals for the transmitters that transmit the acoustic signals from the microphone to the receiver. Information provided in the file indicates the instant cartridges are only used on wireless microphones. Thus, they are necessary to the functioning of the wireless microphones and are considered parts for tariff purposes. The instant cartridges do not fall under any of the headings of Chapters 84 or 85, HTSUS. Therefore, Note 2(a) to Section XVI, HTSUS, does not apply.
As wireless microphones are classified under heading 8525, HTSUS, the instant cartridges fall under heading 8529, HTSUS, as parts solely or principally used with the apparatus of heading 8525, HTSUS, by application of Note 2(b) to Section XVI.
By application of GRI 1 and Note 2(b) to Section XVI, the cartridges for wireless microphones are provided for in heading 8529, HTSUSA. They are classified under subheading 8529.90.9900, HTSUSA, which provides for “Parts for use solely or principally with the apparatus of heading 8525 to 8528: Other: Other: Other.” The 2003 column one, general rate of duty is duty free.
Duty rates are provided for convenience only and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov/tata/hts.
The protest should be ALLOWED. In accordance with the Protest/Petition Processing Handbook (CIS HB, June 2002, pp. 18 and 21), you are to mail this decision, together with the CBP Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to CBP personnel, and to the public on the CBP Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.cbp.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.
Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division