August 2009 saw developments in four areas with particular emphasis on mobile phones:
Following the recommendations made by the Customs Code Committee and after much reporting (and controversy) in the news the European Commission has finally issued Regulation 718/2009 concerning the classification of mobility carts. Unfortunately, the carts have been re-classified and now will be liable to an import duty rate of 10%.
Certain four-wheeled and three-wheeled mobility carts will now be classified under Commodity (CN) Code 8703.10.18 attracting a 10% duty rate instead of a duty-free rate.
Commission Regulation No. 594/2009 deals with the classification of elastomers that are most often used in the insulating of electric cables. The regulation has classified:
- “Vinylidene fluoride and hexafluoro propylene copolymer in primary form” under CN Code 3904.69.90 (6.5% duty rate) and;
- “Fluoroelastomer O-ring seals (vinylidene fluoride and hexafluoropropylene copolymer)” under CN Code 3926.90.97 (also 6.5% duty rate).
Commission Regulation No. 717/2009 deals with the classification of multi-purpose mobile phones. The issue of a product that can be used for more than one function is one of the longest running and difficult areas of customs classification. The regulation stipulated that given that mobile phones are designed to be equipped with a SIM and given that a phone with an activated SIM is thus primarily used for mobile telephony purposes (which subsequently takes precedence over all of the other functions (determined by the fact that an incoming call will override any other function at that time)), multi-purpose mobile phones should be classified under CN 8517.12.00 (0% duty).
The powers that be in Brussels have deemed it necessary to amend the Tariff description in the Customs Nomenclature Explanatory Notes (CNEN) following recent controversy as to the correct classification of mobile phones. CN Code 8517.12.00 now states:
“Mobile phones” have the following characteristics:
- They are “pocket-sized”, that is, they are of dimensions that do not exceed 170mm x 100mm x 45mm when measured in their compact form.
- They are capable of operating without an external source of electric power.
- They have both, a microphone and an earphone and/or a loudspeaker, either in the same unit or in the form of a detachable headset presented together with the “mobile phone” for the transmission and reception of voice-enabling voice communication.
- They incorporate other components such as an amplifier and an antenna for telephony which provide for short-range transmission of voice within a network consisting of base stations of subheading 8517.61 and using mobile telephony frequency bands.
- They are able to do telephony communication using cellular networks when equipped with a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) of various types (physical or software) that has been activated. They may provide that emergency calls be made without the SIM.
“Mobile phones” may also have other features such as sending and receiving SMS (Short Message Service) and MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) messages; emails; packet switching for access to the internet; sending and receiving positioning signals; navigating, routing, maps, instant messaging, VOIP (voice over Internet protocol); PDA (Personal Digital Assistant); gaming; receiving radio or television signals; capturing, recording and reproducing sound and images.
Irrespective of such additional features, the mobile telephony function is generally the principal function of mobile phones that meet of all the above listed characteristics. This is the case, for example, when the telephony function takes precedence over all other functions including when incoming calls are normally notified to the user regardless of secondary functions used.
If you are affected by any of the above or have any questions then please contact our team of classification specialists on (01905) 619229 or email us at: email@example.com