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 > 1992 HQ Rulings > HQ 0088520 - HQ 0089261 > HQ 0088772

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 088772

October 23, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 088772 AJS


TARIFF NO.: 8517.82.00

William J. Maloney, Esq.
Rode & Qualey
Attorneys at Law
295 Madison Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10017

RE: Network interface and ethernet controller board; heading 8471; HQ 086615; HQ 086105.

Dear Mr. Maloney:

This is in reply to your requests of January 29 and July 1, 1991, for the tariff classification of network interface and controller boards under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The subject merchandise is described as a network interface and ethernet controller board which will be physically incorporated within IBM personal computers (PCs), IBM compatible PCs, and certain automatic data processing (ADP) units to allow such PCs and other units to be interconnected to form, or to be added to, a local area network (LAN).

The subject boards are populated printed circuit boards upon which various electronic components including programmed chips, resistors, transistors, and logic devices are mounted. The board cannot be operated independently of its host machine, and will be located within the PC or other unit on the expansion bus. It will be interconnected with peripheral devices in the LAN by coaxial cable which will be plugged into the connector board. The board is designed to support LAN systems based on Ethernet 802.3 and incorporates as its
principal electronic component an ethernet controller chip which is responsible for Ethernet LAN protocol implementation.

The boards at issue are operated with networking software that will be sold with the boards and which will be stored on the memory or memory storage of the PC within which the board is installed. The boards will receive data from the PC's central processing unit (CPU) in binary format. This data will be stored in the boards buffer storage pending conversion, processing, and formation of such data. The board will then control the transmission of this data.


Whether the subject boards are classifiable within heading 8471, HTSUSA, which provides for ADP machines and units thereof; or classifiable within heading 8517, HTSUSA, which provides for electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy.


In HQ 086615 (4/20/90), Customs addressed the classification of various ARCNET boards used in local area networks. We ruled that these boards were classifiable within subheading 8517.82.00, HTSUSA, based on the conclusion that they were used for the transmission of data. We are of the view that the subject boards are similar to the ARCNET boards because they perform similar data communications functions. Accordingly, the subject boards are properly classifiable within subheading 8517.82.00, HTSUSA. For rulings on similar merchandise see HQ 089596 (9/17/91), HQ 089597 (9/5/91), HQ 089277 (8/14/91), HQ 089227 (7/24/91), HQ 086035 (8/2/90), HQ 086478 (4/9/90), HQ 087468 (1/8/91), HQ 086615 (4/20/90), and HQ 085661 (2/15/90).

It is claimed that the subject boards are not different in any material respect from the network interface boards (NIBs) considered in HQ 086105 (May 7, 1990). As stated previously, we are of the view that the subject boards are similar to boards classifiable within heading 8517, HTSUSA. In HQ 086105, Customs was of the opinion that the principal function of the NIBs was data processing. However, we are presently reviewing this issue. In the instance case, it is our view that the subject boards are principally used for the transmission of data and classifiable within heading 8517, HTSUSA.


The subject boards are properly classifiable within subheading 8517.82.00, HTSUSA, which provides for "[e]lectrical apparatus for line telephony or telegraphy . . . other apparatus . . . telegraphic."; currently dutiable at the General Column 1 rate of 4.7 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling