Ms. Susan Kohn Ross
S. K. Ross & Assoc., P.C.
5777 West Century Blvd., Suite 520
Los Angeles, CA 90045-5659
RE: The tariff classification of an optical engine from Mexico.
Dear Ms. Ross:
In your letter dated January 7, 2002, on behalf of your client Hitachi Home Electronics (America) Incorporated, you requested a tariff classification ruling.
The item in question is denoted, as an optical engine (no model specification). It is stated that this particular device is designed exclusively for use in a rear projection television set.
This device does not employ the traditional configuration of three cathode ray tubes by which the image passes through and the cathode ray tubes combine to process the colors and generate the image. It however employs, in part, a technology known as Digital Light Processing (DLP).
This technology is based upon the use of a Digital Micro-mirror Device (DMD). The DMD is composed of microscopic hinged mirrors. These “mirrors” are actually semi-conductors. They are not mirrors in the traditional sense but rather they build the image through switching as well as reflect and process the image in the same manner that an integrated circuit processes data. Although the DMD can be used in a wide variety of applications it is the additional hardware and circuitry which specify its application in a particular mode.
In this particular application (optical engine), the DMD is combined with specific circuitry and hardware for use only in a rear projection television. It is specifically composed of an item designated as a MSC2 unit, a DLP PWB unit, lenses, light filters and circuitry on a single printed circuit board. A high-pressure lamp generates the light source, which is located beneath the optical engine.
The video signal is obtained from the tuner circuit and designated video input terminal. It is processed and amplified by the circuit in the signal printed wiring board (PWB) and the other signal processing circuits. This processed signal is then fed into the MSC2 unit, of the optical engine, which changes the received signal from 480p to 720p.
The optical engine also employs light filters. These filters are composed of a color disc and both an ultraviolet cut and infrared cut filters. They filter the colors of red blue and green as well as ultraviolet and infrared lights. They are optically worked. The lenses are made of glass and plastic and it is presumed that they are ground and polished.
Consideration was given to classification under heading 9013, Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States (HTS) as optical appliances. The “mirrors” are actually semi-conductors, not optical mirrors. The optic lenses and filters, are considered subsidiary to the electronic components incorporated in the optical engine. Therefore it is the opinion of this office that classification under 9013 is not appropriate. The optical engine cannot function as a stand-alone device. It can only function in conjunction with all other necessary parts and circuitry of the rear projection television receiver. Therefore classification of this item will be in accordance with heading 8529, Harmonized tariff Schedules of the United States (HTS).
The optical engine is configured with a number of different elements and with only one printed circuit board. It is indicated that this item will be solely entered, not with other defined elements of Additional U.S. note 4 of chapter 85. Based upon its design function (schematic provided), which in essence replaces the function of the standard three cathode ray tubes, it does not function as the elements defined in Additional U.S. Note 10 to chapter 85. Those elements are not contained within the optical engine.
The applicable subheading for the optical engine will be 8529.90.9380, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of headings 8525 to 8528: Other: Of television receivers: Other. The general rate of duty will be 2.9 percent ad valorem.
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 Michael Contino at 646-733-3014.
Robert B. Swierupski