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HQ 952401

November 18, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 952401 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 9612.10.90

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
909 First Avenue, Room 2039
Seattle, WA 98174

RE: Protest No. 3001-90-101267; Color Thermal Ribbon; Explanatory Note 96.12(1); 9009.90.00

Dear Sir:

This is our response on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3001-90-101267, dated October 2, 1990, concerning your action in classifying and assessing duty on color thermal ribbon under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise consists of rolls of color thermal ribbon made of the material mylar. The ribbon is designed for use with a color copier. It is approximately 1008 feet long and 8 3/4 inches wide. The ribbon is comprised of continuous panels of yellow, red, blue, and black colors, and it replaces toner and developer in a conventional copier. The colors are extracted from the roll through a thermal process.


What is the proper classification of the color thermal ribbon under the HTSUS?


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 section or chapter notes.

The merchandise was entered under subheading 9009.90.00, HTSUS, which provides for: "[p]hotocopying apparatus incorporating an optical system or of the contact type and thermocopying apparatus; parts and accessories thereof: [p]arts and accessories." However, the entry was liquidated under subheading 9612.10.90, HTSUS, which provides for: "[t]ypewriter or similar ribbons, inked or otherwise prepared for giving impressions, whether or not on spools or in cartridges: [r]ibbons: [o]ther."

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). Explanatory Note 96.12(1) (p. 1609) states that:

[t]his heading covers:

[r]ibbons, whether or not on spools or in cartridges, for typewriters, calculating machines, or for any other machines incorporating a device for printing by means of such ribbons (automatic balances, tabulating machines, teleprinters, etc.).

The heading also includes inked, etc., ribbons, usually having metal fixing fittings, used in barographs, thermographs, etc., to print and record the movement of the recording machine needle.

These ribbons are usually of woven textiles, but sometimes they are made of plastics or paper. To fall in the heading, they must have been inked or otherwise prepared to give impressions (e.g., impregnation of textile ribbons, or coating of plastics strip or paper with colouring matter, ink, etc.).

Because it is our position that the subject ribbon is described under Explanatory Note 96.12(1), we find it is classifiable under heading 9612, HTSUS.


The subject ribbon is classifiable under subheading 9612.10.90, HTSUS, which provides for: "[t]ypewriter or similar ribbons, inked or otherwise prepared for giving impressions, whether or not on spools or in cartridges: [r]ibbons: [o]ther."

The protest should be denied in full. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director

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