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HQ 089330

October 7, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 089330 MBR


TARIFF NO.: 8471.93.40; 9802.00.80

Mr. Jeffery E. Brown
Intertrans Corporation
250 Lee Burbank Highway
Revere, Massachusetts 02151

RE: "Direct Access Storage Device"; 13.34cm Hard Disk Automatic Data Processing (ADP) Machine Storage Device; Articles Assembled Abroad in Whole or in Part of Fabricated Components, the Product of the United States

Dear Mr. Brown:

This is in reply to your letter of December 5, 1990, on behalf of the EMC Corporation, requesting classification of the model SL/932-EXP "Direct Access Storage Device" for an ADP machine, and the applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The SL/932-EXP "Direct Access Storage Device" is imported in a cabinet and incorporates its own fan cooling and power supply. The SL/932-EXP contains two 5 1/4" 855.8 Megabyte drives and a controller board. After importation, it is frequently mounted in a rack with other similar hard drives and controllers. Up to ten of these units can be configured in EMC's SL/309 rack. The instant merchandise is comparable to and compatible with IBM's 9332 "Direct Access Storage Subsystem." In fact, your literature states that: "EMC's 600MB SL/932-XP DASD subsystem takes advantage of significant improvements in the design of the controller to provide faster performance than IBM's 9332."

Your submissions state that the disk storage subsystem is assembled in Ireland from U.S.-origin and foreign components. You have submitted a list of all of the U.S.-origin parts, and you stated by telephone how these components are assembled into the final product. Assembly is as follows:

1. Labels; assembled by self-adhesive
2. Jumper; assembled by snaps
3. Fan guard; assembled by screws
4. Receptacle; assembled by snaps
5. Filter; assembled by screws
6. Front panel board; assembled by snaps
7. Front panel interface; assembled by screwing into front panel
8. Resistor pack; assembled by screws
9. Connectors; assembled by clipping molded plastic receptacle on one end
10. LEDs; assembled by fitting into certain holes by soldering
11. Switches; assembled by screws
12. Controller front panel; assembled by screws 13. Power supply; assembled by screws
14. Hinge assembly; assembled by screws
15. Membrane switch; assembled by snapping in receptacle 16. Hinge; assembled by screws
17. Plastic control panel; assembled by snaps.


What is the classification of model SL/932 "Direct Access Storage Device" hard disk drive under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?

Whether the disk storage subsystems assembled in Ireland from U.S.-origin and foreign components are entitled to a partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, when returned to the United States?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part:

...classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...

In HQ 085946, dated January 2, 1990, we addressed the classification of similar merchandise called the IBM 9335 "Direct Access Storage Device." In that ruling we stated that:

The determination of a unit's state of completion is made by determining the state of the unit itself and not the final "completed systems" in which they will ultimately function. They are fully assembled, have cooling apparatus and their own power sources. To make them fully functional one need only plug them in. In fact, it is clear that the only purpose of rack-mounting the units together is for the convenience of proximity in connecting them together with cables and, perhaps, space consolidation. Thus, it is our view that these units are complete.

Whether separate or joined, each is complete in and of itself and each is a distinct and separate commercial entity. The most that can be said is that they may (or may not) be used together with another particular type of unit of a data processing system, one as support for the other. It does not make them, for tariff classification purposes, a "part" of the ultimate automatic data processing system. United States v. Willoughby Camera Stores, Inc., 21 CCPA 322, T.D. 46075 (1933).

The fact that each unit at issue requires the attachment of another article in order to be capable of performing its function does not render each of them a "part," in that there is no requirement that a machine must be "self- activating." Nord Light, Inc. v. United States, 49 CCPA 12, C.A.D. 786 (1961). Although incapable of functioning unless placed in configuration with certain other devices, they nevertheless are, in and of themselves, peripheral machines used in conjunction with data processing machines, specifically provided for....Westinghouse Electric International Co. v. United States, 28 Cust. Ct. 209, C.D. 1411 (1952), cited with approval by Fairchild Camera & Instrument Corp., Inter-Maritime Forwarding Co., Inc. v. United States, 53 CCPA 122, 126, C.A.D. 887 (1966). Furthermore, the fact that they are designed to share a common "rack-mounting" does not mandate their classification as a part. General Electric Company v. United States, 2 CIT 84 (1981).

The instant merchandise meets the chapter 84 Legal Note 5.(B) definition of a "unit" of an ADP system. The SL/932-EXP "Direct Access Storage Device" is imported in a housing and incorporates its own fan cooling and power supply. Subheading 8471.93.30, HTSUSA, provides for: "[s]torage units, whether or not entered with the rest of a system: [o]ther: [n]ot assembled in cabinets, and without attached external power supply." The instant merchandise has an "attached external power supply," even though after importation, these "Direct Access Storage Devices" may be mounted in a rack enclosure in the final system configuration. Therefore, we agree with the importer's suggested classification under subheading 8471.93.40, HTSUSA, since the instant merchandise incorporates an "external power supply," and does not have a disk diameter exceeding 21cm.

Subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, provides a partial duty exemption for:

(a)rticles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components, the product of the United States which (a) were exported in condition ready for assembly without further fabrication, (b) have not lost their physical identity in such articles by change in form, shape, or otherwise, and (c) have not been advanced in value or improved in condition abroad except by being assembled and except by operations incidental to the assembly process, such as cleaning, lubricating, and painting.

All three requirements of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, must be satisfied before a component may receive a duty allowance. An article entered under this tariff provision is subject to duty upon the full cost or value of the imported assembled article, less the cost or value of the U.S. components assembled therein, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of section 10.24, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.24).

Section 10.16(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.16(a)), provides that the assembly operation performed abroad may consist of any method used to join or fit together solid components, such as welding, soldering, riveting, force fitting, gluing, laminating, sewing, or the use of fasteners.

Operations incidental to the assembly process are not considered further fabrication operations, as they are of a minor nature and cannot always be provided for in advance of the assembly operations. However, any significant process, operation or treatment whose primary purpose is the fabrication, completion, physical or chemical improvement of a component precludes the application of the exemption under HTSUSA subheading 9802.00.80 to that component. See, 19 CFR 16(c).

Those operations to be performed in Ireland which result in securely joining components together by screwing, snapping, clipping, gluing, taping, soldering, and force fitting, are considered acceptable assembly operations pursuant to 19 CFR 10.16(a). See, Headquarters Ruling Letters 555553 of April 11, 1990, 555564 of May 1, 1990 and 555765 of November 8, 1990. We consider attaching self-adhesive labels to be analogous to gluing and taping operations which, as previously stated, are acceptable assembly operations.


The EMC Corporation SL/932 "Direct Access Storage Device" 13.34cm hard disk drive for ADP machines, incorporating an external power supply, is classifiable under subheading 8471.93.40, HTSUSA, which provides for: "[a]utomatic data processing machines and units thereof: [s]torage units, whether or not entered with the rest of a system: [o]ther: [o]ther." The rate of duty is 3.7% ad valorem.

Those operations to be performed in Ireland which result in securely joining components together by screwing, snapping, clipping, gluing, taping, soldering, and force fitting, are considered acceptable assembly operations pursuant to 19 CFR 10.16(a).


John Durant, Director

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