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HQ 950435

February 20, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 950435 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 9013.80.60

Mr. Kevin O'Brien
Baker & McKenzie
815 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006-4078

RE: Laser Imager Base; Heading 8471; Heading 9017; Chapter 90, Note 2(a); Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation 1(c)

Dear Mr. O'Brien:

This is in response to the August 22, 1991, letter by Thomas C. Lloyd, Customs Administrator for 3M Logistics, and your letter of February 10, 1992, concerning the classification of a laser imager base under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise consists of a laser imager base, imported for inclusion into one of three models of laser imagers. You claim that the base cannot function unless it is combined with other essential components. Upon importation, the base is not even dedicated to a particular laser imager model.

The complete laser imager consists of laser technology which prints images created by another product onto a film backing. The resolution of the laser imager is approximately 300 pixels per inch. You have stated that "[t]he primary markets for laser imagers are satellite, medical, graphic arts, color proofing/photofinishing, and other industrial/commercial applications."


Whether the laser imager is a machine of principle use or of general use? Whether the laser imager base is a part of a laser imager, or is a machine unto itself?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative chapter or section notes.

Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation 1(a), HTSUS, provides that:

[a] tariff classification controlled by use (other than actual use) is to be determined in accordance with the use in the United States at, or immediately prior to, the date of importation, of goods of that class or kind to which the imported goods belong, and the controlling use is the principal use.

It has been suggested that the merchandise is classifiable in heading 9017, HTSUS, which provides for:

[d]rawing, marking-out or mathematical calculating instruments (for example, drafting machines, pantographs, protractors, drawing sets, slide rules, disc calculators); instruments for measuring length, for use in the hand (for example, measuring rods and tapes, micrometers, calipers), not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts and accessories thereof.

You argue that the merchandise is classifiable in heading 8471, HTSUS, which provides for:

[a]utomatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, not elsewhere specified or included.

It is our position that, in accordance with Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a), HTSUS, the laser imager base is not classifiable in either heading 9017, HTSUS, or heading 8471, HTSUS, because under the facts presented to us it cannot be said to possess a principal use. You have stated that the laser imager can be used in satellite, medical, and graphic arts applications, among others. Because the laser imager is subject to multiple uses, we find that the laser imager is a machine of general use, and, therefore, is classifiable in heading 9013, HTSUS, which provides for:

[l]iquid crystal devices not constituting articles provided for more specifically in other headings; lasers, other than laser diodes; other optical appliances and instruments, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts and accessories thereof.

You argue that the laser imager base is merely a part of the laser imager unit. It is our position that the laser imager base is a machine unto itself. In Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, the term "appliance" is defined as "a device or machine for performing a specific task, esp. one that is worked mechanically or by electricity." (emphasis supplied). According to the above definition, the laser imager base is an appliance for tariff classification purposes.

We find that the laser imager base is described under subheading 9013.80.60, HTSUS, which provides for:

[o]ther optical appliances and instruments, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter: [o]ther devices, appliances and instruments: [o]ther.

Chapter 90, note 2(a), HTSUS, provides that:

[p]arts and accessories which are goods included in any of the headings of this chapter or of chapter 84, 85 or 91 (other than heading 8485, 8548, or 9033) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings.

Therefore, under chapter 90, note 2(a), HTSUS, even if the laser imager base is a part of a laser imager, it is still classifiable as an appliance under subheading 9013.80.60, HTSUS.


The subject laser imager base is classifiable under subheading 9013.80.60, HTSUS. The general, column one rate of duty is 9 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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