United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1990 HQ Rulings > HQ 0085626 - HQ 0085755 > HQ 0085666

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 085666

November 8, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085666 JMH


TARIFF NO.: 8517.30.30, 8471.99.15, 8471.99.90

James F. O'Hara, Esq.
Stein Shostak Shostak & O'Hara
Suite 1240
3580 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90010-2597

RE: Communications processor

Dear Mr. O'Hara:

Your letter of August 22, 1989, requesting a classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for communications processors has been referred to this office for a reply.


The merchandise in question are modular, programmable communications processors imported from Japan by Fujitsu America, Inc. You identify the goods as front end processors, models 4705, 4725 and 4745. The submitted literature describes the processors' abilities to control the interfacing of computers, control the networking equipment, and encode data for transmission to remote locations. The high degree of flexibility in the controllers' programming enables the tailoring of a data communications system to a customer's requirements. Additionally, the controllers play an active role in communications network management by providing data to the network communications control facility and the network problem determination application.


Whether the subject communications processors are classified within heading 8517, HTSUSA, as "Electrical apparatus for line telephony or telegraphy, including such apparatus for carrier- current line systems; parts thereof...", or within heading 8471, HTSUSA as "Automatic data processing machines and units thereof...".


The classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 states in part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...". The competing headings in this instance are headings 8517 and 8471, HTSUSA. The headings describe:

8517 Electrical apparatus for the line telephony or telegraphy, including such apparatus for carrier-current line system; parts thereof...

8517.30.30 Telephonic or telegraphic switching apparatus...Other

8471 Automatic data processing machines and units thereof...

8471.99.15 Other...control or adapter units...

8471.99.90 Other...Other...

It is the opinion of this office that the communications processors are classifiable within subheading 8471.99.15, HTSUSA. Chapter 84, Note 5, HTSUSA, defines the term "automatic data processing machines" for the purposes of heading 8471, HTSUSA. Chapter 84, Note 5(A)(a) states that "automatic data processing machines" includes:

Digital machines, capable of (1) storing the processing program or programs and at least the data immediately necessary for execution of the program; (2) being freely programmed in accordance with the requirements of the user; (3) performing arithmetical computations specified by the user; and, (4) executing, without human intervention, a processing program which requires them to modify their execution, by logical decision during the processing run..." (emphasis added)

The Fujitsu front end processors perform all of the functions listed in the chapter note. Since classification is to be determined by the section and chapter notes when the headings are inconclusive, we find this note to be definitive.

When ascertaining the appropriate subheading for the classification, GRI 6, HTSUSA, provides that GRI 1 through 5 must be followed. GRI 3(a), HTSUSA, when applied to
subheadings, asserts that the most specific subheading is preferred. Although the subject processor meets the definition of an automatic data processing machine (ADP), it appears to be more of a unit used in conjunction with ADP machinery. Since the processor units act to control and interconnect ADP units, it is properly classified within subheading 8471.99.15, HTSUSA. This subheading most specifically describes the communications processor's function.


The Fujitsu America, Inc. communications processors from Japan are to be classified within subheading 8471.99.15, HTSUSA, as "Automatic data processing machines and units thereof... Other...Control or adapter units...".


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: