Amos Mui
Virtual Instruments
2331 Zanker Road
San Jose, CA 95131

RE: The tariff classification of the Optical TAP Cassette from China

Dear Mr. Mui:

In your letter dated December 19, 2018 you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The merchandise under consideration is identified as the Optical TAP Cassette which is described as a 5" x 3.5" x 1.5" enclosure containing a number of fiber optic connectors on the input and output sides. Internally, the fiber optic input connections are split, or “tapped”, which duplicates and routes the signal to a separate connector on the output side. The purpose of the cassette is to provide an access point for real-time monitoring of network traffic via the duplicated signal. You state that the Optical TAP Cassette is a passive device and no electronic components are present.

In your request you suggest the Optical TAP Cassette is properly classified in subheading 8543.70.6000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Electrical machines and apparatus…: Other machines and apparatus: Articles designed for connection to telegraphic or telephonic apparatus or instruments or to telegraphic or telephonic networks”. We disagree.

Classification in heading 8543, HTSUS, requires that the articles being classified are not provided for elsewhere in the tariff. This office is of the opinion that the Optical TAP Cassettes are accurately described in subheading 8536.70, HTSUS, because they consist of a collection of fiber optic connectors and do not alter the signal being split. As you provide in your request, the subject cassettes are passive and merely provide an additional connection without enhancing or amplifying the signal. Furthermore, in NY Ruling N142557, similar optical cassettes were classified under subheading 8536.70, HTSUS, because the fiber optic cassette “mechanically aligns optical fibers end to end from a single bundle into twelve individual strands for a digital line system. It does not perform any other function, such as the amplification, regeneration or modification of a digital signal.” Thus, 8543.70.6000, HTSUS, is not appropriate.

The applicable subheading for the Optical TAP Cassette will be 8536.70.0000, HTSUS, which provides for “Electrical apparatus for switching or protecting electrical circuits, or for making connections to or in electrical circuits…connectors for optical fibers, optical fiber bundles or cables: Connectors for optical fibers, optical fiber bundles or cables.” The general rate of duty will be Free.

Effective July 6, 2018, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) imposed an additional tariff on certain products of China classified in the subheadings enumerated in Section XXII, Chapter 99, Subchapter III U.S. Note 20(b), HTSUS. The USTR imposed additional tariffs, effective August 23, 2018, on products classified under the subheadings enumerated in Section XXII, Chapter 99, Subchapter III U.S. Note 20(d), HTSUS. Subsequently, the USTR imposed further tariffs, effective September 24, 2018, on products classified under the subheadings enumerated in Section XXII, Chapter 99, Subchapter III U.S. Note 20(f) and U.S. Note 20(g), HTSUS. For additional information, please see the relevant Federal Register notices dated June 20, 2018 (83 F.R. 28710), August 16, 2018 (83 F.R. 40823), and September 21, 2018 (83 F.R. 47974). Products of China that are provided for in subheading 9903.88.01, 9903.88.02, 9903.88.03, or 9903.88.04 and classified in one of the subheadings enumerated in U.S. Note 20(b), U.S. Note 20(d), U.S. Note 20(f) or U.S. Note 20(g) to subchapter III shall continue to be subject to antidumping, countervailing, or other duties, fees and charges that apply to such products, as well as to those imposed by the aforementioned Chapter 99 subheadings.

Products of China classified under subheading 8536.70.0000, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to the additional 25 percent ad valorem rate of duty. At the time of importation, you must report the Chapter 99 subheading, i.e., 9903.88.02, in addition to subheading 8536.70.0000, HTSUS, listed above.

The tariff is subject to periodic amendment so you should exercise reasonable care in monitoring the status of goods covered by the Notice cited above and the applicable Chapter 99 subheading.

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 Karl Moosbrugger at


Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division