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"Multimedia" Monitors Are Now Entitled To Duty-Free Entry Into The U.S.

Friday, July 06, 2012
STR Client Advisory

"MULTIMEDIA" MONITORS ARE NOW ENTITLED TO DUTY-FREE ENTRY INTO THE U.S. 

Importers May Consider Pursuit of Refunds on Entries from 1997 Forward

As of July 1, monitors capable of displaying signals or data from a computer and other devices are entitled to duty-free entry into the United States.  This includes so-called “multimedia” monitors, which can connect to computers, but also permit the connection of devices capable of producing video signals (such as DVD players, game consoles and set top boxes).  Historically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection classified multimedia monitors in a dutiable provision, finding that they were not “solely or principally” used in or with a computer. 
 
On June 29, President Obama modified the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States to include specific, duty-free provisions [subheadings 8528.59.21 and 8528.59.31] for monitors “able to display signals or data” from a computer, even if they are not solely or principally used with a computer and are able to display signals or data from other devices.  This Presidential Proclamation seeks to remedy CBP’s past decisions, which prohibited the classification of multimedia monitors in the duty-free, computer monitor provision [presently, subheading 8528.51.00].  This rate was established pursuant to the Information Technology Agreement, a 1996 international treaty designed to eliminate tariffs on specified information technology products, including computer monitors.  Under ITA, computer monitors with cathode ray tubes and flat panel displays for computers were required to receive a duty-free rate regardless of where they were classified.  However, shortly after ITA implementation, CBP significantly limited the scope of the provision to exclude multimedia monitors, classifying them in other – dutiable – provisions.  

The Proclamation corrects this limitation, expressly stating that new subheadings 8528.59.21 and 8528.59.31 are designed “to provide the intended tariff treatment to certain products covered by the ITA ....”  While importers of multimedia monitors are entitled to duty-free treatment for all current and future entries, the Proclamation does not address the improper treatment received by importers on past entries (entries from January 1997 forward).  Legislative action for past entries is likely needed.

For more information on this Proclamation or the potential for refunds on past entries, please contact Larry Ordet at (305) 894-1003 or Deborah Stern at (305) 894-1007.

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