Ms. Terrie Hanrahan
Mail Drop #376
Hallmark Cards Incorporated
Kansas City, MO 64141-6580
RE: The tariff classification of recordable greeting cards (electronic "talking" cards) from China.
Dear Ms. Hanrahan:
In your letter dated March 1, 1994, you requested a tariff classification ruling.
Samples representing three versions of "recordable cards" were submitted and are being returned as requested. They are identified as "795EPV 819-7," "795EPV 8204," and "prototype--no number."
Each sample resembles a conventional 6" x 9" paper greeting card, except that its back "leaf" (i.e., the right side of the card when open) is about 3/8 of an inch thick. The paper surface of this portion of the card conceals various small electronic components (microphone, batteries, integrated circuit, wiring, etc.) mounted on an interior plastic frame. These components enable the purchaser to record any voice message, up to ten seconds long, which will be "played back" when the recipient opens the card. The message can be changed ("re-recorded") and/or played back any number of times.
The face of each card features a cartoon drawing accompanied by a printed message ("Do you know who's sending you this birthday card?"; "Been hearing great things about you!"; "You should hear what everyone has been saying about you while you've been gone..."). The interior sometimes has a printed follow-up verse or message, but sometimes does not. Each card is accompanied by a white paper envelope, suitable for mailing.
We note your suggestion that these cards be classified as "recordable apparatus," in heading 8520, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). However, the electrical "recording" devices contained within them appear to employ integrated circuits rather than magnetic tapes, disks or the like. It has been established that integrated circuits, "chips," and similar electronic modules are not "media," for tariff purposes. And since Customs has taken the position that the audio recording devices of heading 8520 are those which store sound using impulses directed to "media," we find that products like the instant ones, which record on solid state devices, are not of a kind encompassed by that heading. We note, in addition, that Customs has previously declined to classify greeting cards having electronic novelty features as "other electrical articles," in heading 8543, HTS.
Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the instant "recordable cards" will be 4909.00.4020, HTS, which provides for printed greeting cards, with or without envelopes or trimmings. The rate of duty will be 4.9%.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).
A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.
Jean F. Maguire
New York Seaport