Proposed Changes to Tariff Classification of Wireless Headphones from China


Trade Update • November 14, 2022

he U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is proposing to change the classification of wireless headphone sets from China under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The proposal is to reclassify these Bluetooth sets as headphones under HTSUS 8518.30.20 (duty-free) rather than as wired/wireless communication apparatus under HTSUS 8517.62.0050 (duty-free). If this change is finalized, wireless headphones would no longer be subject to existing Section 301 tariffs on imports from China.

To reflect the proposed reclassification, CBP is proposing to revoke three ruling letters pertaining to the tariff classification of wireless headphone sets: Rulings NY N022195, NY N022204, and NY N240329.

According to CBP, headphones include components that together perform complementary functions, and so they are considered composite machines, the classification of which is governed by Note 3 of Section XVI. Note 3 states the following:

Unless the context otherwise requires, composite machines consisting of two or more machines fitted together to form a whole and other machines designed for the purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative functions are to be classified as if consisting only of that component or as being that machine which performs the principal function.

In general, multi-function machines are classified according to the principal function of the machine.

So in this case, Bluetooth headphones are considered composite machines and should be classified according to their principal function: converting incoming signals to sounds. The wireless functionality does not give rise to a product with the principal function of transmitting or receiving data.

Have Your Say

Comments on this proposal are due no later than December 9, 2022.

Electronic Comments:

Written Comments: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Trade, Regulations and Rulings, Attention: Erin Frey, Commercial and Trade Facilitation, Division, 90 K St., NE, 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20229–1177

All comments should reference the title of the proposed notice at issue and the Customs Bulletin volume, number and date of publication.

For questions about these proposed changes and how your goods might be affected, please contact us, we’re here to help.


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