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 0950132 - HQ 0950246 > HQ 0950195

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 950195

October 21, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 950195 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8473.30.40

Ms. Qui Do
Apple Computer, Inc.
20525 Mariani Avenue
Cupertino, California 95014

RE: Apple StyleWriter Ink cartridge/print head; 3215.11.00; 8471.92.15; Section XVI, Note 2(b); EN 32.15

Dear Ms. Do:

This is in response to your July 25, 1991 letter to the Customs Service office in San Francisco requesting the classification of the Apple StyleWriter Ink Cartridge under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Your letter was referred to this office for a response.


The Apple StyleWriter Ink Cartridge (model M8052G/A) is an ink cartridge/print head for a computer ink jet printer. The device consists of an ink sponge, cartridge body, printed circuit board, bubble jet head unit, heating element, and side and head covers. The ink sponge contains about 20 grams of black ink for printing about 450 pages of regular office paper. The plastic cartridge body holds the ink sponge and bubble jet head unit. The bubble jet head is formed on the silicon plate based on semiconductor technology, and also incorporates temperature sensors and warm-up heaters.


What is the proper tariff classification for the ink cartridge/print head?


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...

Heading 8473, HTSUSA, provides for "[p]arts and accessories (other than covers, carrying cases and the like) suitable for use solely or principally with machines of headings 8469 to 8472." Subheading 8473.30.40, HTSUSA, provides for "[p]arts and accessories of the machines of heading 8471 . . . [n]ot incorporating a cathode ray tube." Heading 8471, HTSUSA, provides for "[a]utomatic data processing machines and units thereof . . . ." Subheading 8471.92.65, HTSUSA, provides for "[a]utomatic data processing machines and units thereof . . . [o]ther . . . [i]nput or output units . . . [o]ther . . . [p]rinter units . . . [a]ssembled units incorporating at least the media transport, control and print mechanisms."

The article in question is basically an ink cartridge and print head for a computer ink jet printer. Section XVI, Note 2(b), HTSUSA, states that "parts, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine, or with a number of machines of the same heading (including a machine of heading 8479 or 8543) are to be classified with the machines of that kind." The Apple StyleWriter Ink Cartridge is an integral part of the jet printer, and is thus, classifiable under the heading which provides for the classification of parts of automatic data processing machines and units thereof.

In pre-entry classification list 863862, dated May 6, 1991, Apple was advised that the ink cartridge was classifiable in subheading 3215.11.00, HTSUSA, which provides for "[p]rinting ink, writing or drawing ink and other inks, whether or not concentrated or solid . . . [p]rinting ink . . . [b]lack." This pre-entry classification was incorrect. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Note (EN) 32.15, pg. 469, states that this heading covers printing inks, which are "pastes of varying consistency." The heading covers products that are generally in the form of liquids or pastes, although it also provides for products "when concentrated or solid . . . to be used as inks after simple dilution or dispersion." While the article in question does store printing ink, it also performs other functions.

Similar to the print head of a dot matrix printer, this ink cartridge device also serves as the print head for a jet printer
as it moves over the paper during the printing process. This expendable device performs not only ink storage functions, but also heating and printing functions. Therefore, the article is not classifiable under subheading 3215.11.00, HTSUSA, which provides solely for "[p]rinting ink."


The Apple StyleWriter Ink Cartridge is classifiable under subheading 8473.30.40, HTSUSA, which provides for parts and accessories for automatic data processing machines not incorporating a cathode ray tube. This subheading is a duty free provision.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: