Mr. Michael J. Skidmore
Customs Consultant
103 Greenleaf Street
Quincy, MA 02169

RE: The tariff classification of a video magnifier display from Japan.

Dear Mr. Skidmore:

In your letter dated November 4, 2008, on behalf of Optelec US Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The merchandise under consideration is a video magnifier display, which is referred to as the FarView. The FarView is a composite machine, which consists of a CCD camera with built in storage capability and a monitor to view the captured images. This handheld video magnifier is designed to take a picture of a magnified image or text and then display it onto the LCD monitor to assist one in seeing or reading images or texts. This device can also be connected to a VGA monitor to read the images at a more comfortable size. It is stated that this portable device can magnify images up to 42 times their original size.

It is the opinion of this office that the LCD monitor (classified in heading 8528, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) and the camera (classified in heading 8525, HTSUS) are of equal importance for the correct functioning of the FarView. Based upon this factor and in accordance with General Interpretative Rule 3(c), this merchandise shall be classified in the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those equally meriting consideration.

In your letter you suggest classification under 8528.59.2500, HTSUS, which provides for flat panel screen monitors, other than incorporating video recording or reproducing apparatus, with a video display diagonal not exceeding 34.29 cm. However, since this device incorporates video recording and reproducing capabilities, it is more specifically classified under 8528.59.1500.

The applicable subheading for the Farview will be 8528.59.1500 , Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for Monitors and projectors, not incorporating television reception apparatus; reception apparatus for television, whether or not incorporating radio-broadcast receivers or sound or video recording or reproducing apparatus: Other monitors: Other: Color: With a flat panel screen: Incorporating video recording or reproducing apparatus: With a video display diagonal not exceeding 34.29 cm. The rate of duty will be Free.

Regarding your proposed secondary classification for this item in HTSUS 9817.00.94, you cite the application of that subheading to a “video magnifier,” which was “designed to greatly magnify only flat surfaces such as newsprint and photographs,” most likely for the “legally blind” in New York Ruling Letter J87958 – 108, 8-22-03.  However, Headquarters Ruling Letter  H020515 – GOB, 5-20-08, applied HTSUS 9817.00.96 to a “Portable SenseView,” which could be “used for reading a road map, a can of food while shopping in a grocery store, a menu at a restaurant, and a medicine bottle” and “suitable for use by certain individuals who have a severe visual impairment, but are not necessarily blind.”  

The illustrations in your attached information indicate that this item is typically used in reading items that are not difficult for those with vision correctible by ordinary eyeglasses, e.g., regular sized print in books and the menu behind the counter in a delicatessen.

On that basis a secondary classification will apply in HTSUS 9817.00.96 as specially designed or adapted for the use or benefit of the permanently or chronically physically or mentally handicapped, except articles for the blind, if all applicable entry requirements are met, including the filing with the Customs port of entry of the U.S. Department of Commerce form ITA-362P.  This merchandise is already duty free, but if you elect to claim the secondary classification in Chapter 98 of 9817.00.96 and meet the entry requirements, no merchandise processing fee will apply to those importations even if they are non-NAFTA, noting, e.g., Headquarters Ruling Letter 229110 IDL, 8-29-02.  This classification has no effect on any quota, visa, or restricted merchandise requirements.   

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Lisa Cariello at (646) 733-3014.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity Specialist Division