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HQ 089808

October 24, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 089808 MBR


TARIFF NO.: 8442.10.00

Mr. Robert E. Burke
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
200 East Randolph Drive
Chicago, IL 60601

RE: Purup North America; ImageMaker; Typesetting Machinery, Apparatus And Equipment; Graphics and Lettering Composing System; Laser Imagesetters; Raster Image Processor (RIP); Incomplete; Imported Without Automatic Data Processing Equipment

Dear Mr. Burke:

This is in response to your letter dated June 25, 1991, requesting a classification ruling on behalf of Purup North America, regarding the "ImageMaker," under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The Imagemaker is a high-technology device used for the production of texts, forms, and illustrations that are used in professional printing. It consists of a laser imagesetter with a dedicated computer control console, and a Post Script-Link Raster Image Processor (PS-Link RIP). A freely programmable Apple Macintosh personal computer is the front end of the system, through which copy enters the system. The Apple PC is not imported with the system. The Apple PC will utilize "PostScript" software that outputs the input copy as a mathematically described printed page.

The RIP translates the "PostScript" output into its smallest elements, which are a series of "ons" and "offs" that create a raster or bit map. The PS-Link accelerates this translation. The rasters are then communicated to the laser imagesetter via the console, which then instructs the laser when to expose a given photo-sensitive surface. The Imagemaker system provides output on photo sensitized film, paper, and polyester plates. Your product literature states that the ImageMaker "allows precise output of line art, text and halftone 4-color images at

1,270 or 2,540 dpi." Dot size can be as small as 13 microns. The ImageMaker comes with either an argon-ion laser or a laser diode.


Is the Purup ImageMaker, consisting of a laser imagesetter with a dedicated computer control console and a PostScript-Link Raster Image Processor, imported without the requisite Apple PC, classified as machinery, apparatus and equipment for typesetting in Heading 8442?


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

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

Heading 8442, HTSUSA, in part describes machinery, equipment and apparatus for typesetting. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) to Heading 8442, HTSUSA, p. 1234, provide that the heading covers machines "...used to assemble (compose or set) it [(type)] for use in printing, whether by hand or mechanically..." and "...includes composing machines using a laser beam projected onto photographic film." The Explanatory Notes, p. 1237, provide that Heading 8442 "...covers only phototype-setting or composing machines which actually set type even if the type is photographed after it has been set" (emphasis in original).

The classification of the Purup graphics and lettering composing system, and all its system components entered separately, except the scanner and imagesetter, was determined in Headquarters Ruling Letter HQ 086122, dated January 17, 1991. The classification of a scanner and imagesetter entered separately will be determined in a subsequent ruling under HQ 088459.

An ImageMaker system consisting of a Purup laser imagesetter with a dedicated computer control console and a PS-Link RIP, perform the function of phototypesetting or composing. Chapter 84, Legal Note 5, provides in part, that machines incorporating or working in conjunction with automatic data processing machines and performing a specific function are classified in the heading appropriate to their respective functions. The laser imagesetter and PS-Link RIP have no other utility than the performance of the specific function of phototypesetting or composing, a function described by Heading 8442, HTSUSA.

GRI 2.(a) provides, in pertinent part, that: "[a]ny reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article."

The ImageMaker system, consisting of the laser imagesetter with a dedicated computer control console and the PS-Link RIP, has the essential character of the complete phototypesetting and composing machine, even though it requires the subsequent addition of a general purpose Apple Macintosh personal computer and PostScript software.

It should be noted that the use of the instant merchandise for phototypesetting clearly destinguishes it from the merchandise ruled upon in HQ 086082.


The Purup ImageMaker phototypesetting system, consisting of the laser imagesetter with a dedicated computer control console and the PostScript-Link Raster Image Processor, has the essential character of the complete phototypesetting and composing machine, even though it requires the addition of an Apple PC. Therefore it is classifiable in subheading 8442.10.00, HTSUSA, which provides for: "[m]achinery, apparatus and equipment..., for type- founding or typesetting, for preparing or making printing blocks, plates, cylinders and other printing components: [p]hototypesetting and composing machines. The rate of duty is Free.

Please be advised that all software is classifiable under subheading 8524.90.40, HTSUSA, which provides for recorded media, whether or not entered with the rest of the system. The rate of duty is 9.7 cents/m2 of recording surface.


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