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 > 1993 HQ Rulings > HQ 0950019 - HQ 0950288 > HQ 0950033

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 950033

October 13, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 950033


TARIFF NO.: 8471.99.15

Mr. Robert T. Givens
Givens & Kelly
950 Echo Lane, Suite 360
Houston, Texas 77024-2788

RE: Model CTL 3705 Data Communications Controller; Control or Adapter Unit; ADP; HQ 951331; HQ 952659

Dear Mr. Givens:

Your letter of June 4, 1991, on behalf of Computer Holdings, Ltd., was forwarded to this office for response. You have requested classification of the Model CTL 3705 Data Communications Controller, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


You describe the Computer Holdings Model CTL 3705 Data Communication Controller as a separately housed ADP system control unit which operates totally within ADP environments. You state that:

The CTL 3705 Data Communications Controller is identical, in all relevant functional respects, to the Fujitsu front-end processor Model 4705 (classified by Headquarters Ruling 085666) and the IBM 3745 we discussed. The front-end processing handled by all three units is 'communications processing.' Communications processing is that processing involved in the interconnection of the CPU with peripheral input and output units. By offloading the responsibility of communications processing or control, the CPU is left free to focus on data processing, which can then be performed more efficiently.


Whether the subject communications processors are classified within heading 8517, HTSUS, as "Electrical apparatus for line
telephony or telegraphy, including such apparatus for carrier- current line systems; parts thereof...", or within heading 8471, HTSUS, as "Automatic data processing machines and units thereof...."


The classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 states in part:
for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...

The competing headings in the instant case are headings 8517 and 8471, HTSUS. These headings describe:

8517 Electrical apparatus for line telephony or telegraphy, including such apparatus for carrier-current line systems; parts thereof...

8517.30.30 Telephonic or telegraphic switching apparatus...Other

8471 Automatic data processing machines and units thereof...Other

8471.99.15 Other...control or adapter units...

8471.99.90 Other...Other...

Chapter 84, Legal Note 5, HTSUS, defines the term "automatic data processing machines" for the purposes of heading 8471, HTSUS. Chapter 84, Note 5(A)(a) states that "automatic data processing machines" includes:

Digital machines, capable of (1) storing the processing program or programs and at least the data immediately necessary for execution of the program; (2) being freely programmed in accordance with the requirements of the user; (3) performing arithmetical computations specified by the user; and, (4) executing, without human intervention, a processing program which requires them to modify their execution, by logical decision during the processing run..."

Legal Note 5(b) further provides that ADP machines may be in the form of systems consisting of a variable number of separately housed units. A unit must meet the following requirements to be regarded as part of a complete system:

(a) It is connectable to the central processing unit either directly or through one or more other units; and

(b) It is specifically designed as part of such a system.

HQ 085666, dated November 8, 1989, held that certain communications controllers imported by Fujitsu America, were classifiable under subheading 8471.99.15, HTSUS, which provides for automatic data processing machines and units thereof, other control or adapter units. Additionally, HQ 089828, dated December 3, 1991, held that the IBM Model 3745 Communications Controller was also classifiable under subheading 8471.99.15, HTSUS.

You argue that the instant merchandise is similar, and therefore, should be similarly classifiable. We agree. The instant merchandise is essentially a smaller, less diverse, front-end processor. You state that the only difference between the three models of front-end processors (Fujitsu 4705, IBM 3745, and the CTL 3705) is the ease of programmability. All three are programmable to customize them for operation with different hardware and software configurations. However, the Fujitsu 4705 and the IBM 3745 are conveniently "user" programmable, whereas the CTL 3705 is "service" programmable.

You state that this difference in programmability does not affect the fact that all three perform the same operations and functions relative to front-end communications processing. The result is that the main frame computer spends less time servicing the "teleprocessing network" and CPU resources are available for more application processing. Thus, all three communications controllers have taken over certain processing functions originally performed by the CPU of an ADP system. Furthermore, the Controller meets the requirements of chapter 84, Legal Note 5(b), as a unit of an ADP system.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) to heading 8471, HTSUS, define "control or adapter units" as follows:

[Units which] effect interconnection of the central processing unit to other digital data processing machines, or to groups of input or output units which may comprise visual display units, remote terminals, etc.

Certainly, the instant front-end processor effects the interconnection of the CPU to other digital data processing machines, etc. Therefore, the Computer Holdings Model CTL 3705 Communications Controller is properly classifiable within subheading 8471.99.15, HTSUS, which provides for: "[a]utomatic data processing machines and units thereof...: [o]ther: [o]ther: [c]ontrol or adapter units."


The Computer Holdings, Ltd., Model CTL 3705 Data Communications Controller is classifiable in subheading 8471.99.15, HTSUS, which provides for: "[a]utomatic data processing machines and units thereof...: [o]ther: [o]ther: [c]ontrol or adapter units."


Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: