CLA-2-85:OT:RR:NC:N2:212

Beibei Wang
Beibei Wang, CHB
921 Basket Willow Terrace
Haslet, TX 76052

RE: The tariff classification of USB, Ethernet, and fiber optic cable from China

Dear Ms. Wang:

In your letter dated October 31, 2019, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of Comtop Connectivity Solutions, Inc. Additionally, you request this office to comment on whether or not the subject merchandise is covered by exclusionary language related to Section 301 Trade Remedies.

There are three cables at issue with this request. The first is described as a Category 5e Ethernet patch cable. This cable is comprised of four twisted pairs of copper wire that is insulated and affixed with RJ45 connectors at each end. The cable is primarily used to transmit data in networking systems.

The second cable is described as a USB 2.0 male cable. This cable is comprised of a length of insulated 24AWG cable affixed with a male USB connector at each end. The cable is primarily used to connect and transfer data and power between a personal computer and external devices.

The final cable is described as a multimode duplex fiber optic cable. The cable is comprised of two strands of insulated optical fiber affixed at each end with optical connectors. The cable is primarily used to transmit data within a networking system.

The applicable subheading for the Category 5e Ethernet patch cable and the USB 2.0 male cable will be 8544.42.2000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for "Insulated (including enameled or anodized) wire, cable (including coaxial cable) and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fiber cables, made up of individually sheathed fibers, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors: Other electric conductors, for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V: Fitted with connectors: Other: Of a kind used in telecommunications." The general rate of duty will be free.

The applicable subheading for the multimode duplex fiber optic cable will be 8544.70.0000, HTSUS, which provides for "Insulated (including enameled or anodized) wire, cable (including coaxial cable) and other insulated electric conductors, whether or not fitted with connectors; optical fiber cables, made up of individually sheathed fibers, whether or not assembled with electric conductors or fitted with connectors: Optical Fiber cables." The general rate of duty will be free.

Pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, products of China classified under subheading 8544.42.2000, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 25 percent ad valorem rate of duty. At the time of importation, you must report the Chapter 99 subheading, i.e., 9903.88.03, in addition to subheading 8544.42.2000, HTSUS, listed above. Additionally, products of China classified under subheading 8544.70.0000, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 25 percent ad valorem rate of duty. At the time of importation, you must report the Chapter 99 subheading, i.e., 9903.88.01, in addition to subheading 8544.70.00, HTSUS, listed above.

The HTSUS is subject to periodic amendment so you should exercise reasonable care in monitoring the status of goods covered by the Note cited above and the applicable Chapter 99 subheading. For background information regarding the Section 301 trade remedy, you may refer to the relevant parts of the USTR and CBP websites, which are available at https://ustr.gov/issue-areas/enforcement/section-301-investigations/tariff-actions and https://www.cbp.gov/trade/remedies/301-certain-products-china, respectively.

With regard to your request for the applicability of the subject goods to exclusion from Section 301 Trade Remedies (i.e. classification under subheading 9903.88.01 or 9903.88.03, above), this office does not have sufficient information to comment. The exclusionary language covering the Ethernet patch cable and USB cable reads as follows: "Insulated electric conductors for a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V, fitted with connectors of a kind used for telecommunications, each valued over $0.35 but not over $2 (described in statistical reporting number 8544.42.2000)." See U.S. Note 20(II)(62) to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS. The subject Ethernet and USB cables appear to satisfy two of the criteria set forth in that they are electric conductors and are fitted with connectors of a kind used in telecommunications. However, no information was provided as to the valuation of the cables. As such, we are unable to fully determine whether or not the exclusion is applicable. It is the opinion of this office that if the goods are correctly valued within the parameters set forth in the exclusionary language, then they would be eligible for exclusion from Section 301 Trade Remedies.

Additionally, the exclusionary language for the fiber optic cable reads: "Digital optical fiber cables, with connectors, of a length exceeding 0.5 m but not exceeding 4.0 m (described in statistical reporting number 8544.70.0000)." See U.S. Note 20(x)(83) to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS. The subject fiber optic cable appears to satisfy two of the criteria set forth in the exclusionary language in that it is a digital optical fiber cable fitted with connectors. However, no specific information is provided as to the length of the cable. Research indicates that the cable can be manufactured and sold at varying lengths. As such, we are unable to determine whether or not the exclusion is applicable. It is the opinion of this office that if the fiber optic cables are imported at a length within the parameters set forth in the exclusionary language, then they would be eligible for exclusion from Section 301 Trade Remedies.

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 the World Wide Web at https://hts.usitc.gov/current.

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 Luke LePage at luke.lepage@cbp.dhs.gov.

Sincerely,

Steven A. Mack
Director
National Commodity Specialist Division