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HQ 952986

June 11, 1993

CAL-2 CO:R:C:M 952986 CMS


TARIFF NO.: 9017.20.80

District Director of Customs
555 Battery St.
P.O. Box 2450
San Francisco, CA 94126

RE: PRD 2809-92-101759; Desktop Pen Plotter; Computer Aided Design; Drafting; Drawing Instrument; Business Graphics; Automatic Data Processing Machine Output Unit; 8471.92.90

Dear District Director:

The following is our decision regarding the request for further review of Protest No. 2809-92-101759, concerning your action in classifying and assessing duty on a desktop pen plotter under the Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise is described in the protest as desktop graphic plotters, model numbers 7475A and 7550B. The plotters are pen plotters that produce color drawings on "A" and "B" size paper and vellum media. The importer's Technical Data sheet for the model 7475A states that the plotter is for both CAD (computer aided design) and color business graphics. The plotter has an addressable and mechanical resolution of .001", and a repeatable resolution with a given pen of .004". The plotter has built in intelligence enabling the user to alter the size of the drawing area with the control panel and alter the plot by 90 degrees. Built in instructions govern such tasks as labelling, pen movements and drawing arcs and circles.

The entry was liquidated on July 24, 1992, under subheading 9017.20.80, which provides for other drawing instruments. The protest was timely filed on October 15, 1992.

The protestant claims that the merchandise is classified under subheading 8471.92.90, as other output units of automatic data processing machines.

The subheadings under consideration are as follows:

8471.92.90: Automatic data processing machines and units thereof...: Other: ...Input or output units...: Other: ...Other: ...Other.

Goods classifiable under this provision are subject to a Column 1 General rate of duty of 3.7% ad valorem.

9017.20.80: Drawing...instruments (for example, drafting machines...: ...Other drawing...instruments: ...Other.

Goods classifiable under this provision are subject to a Column 1 General rate of duty of 5.8%, ad valorem.


Is the merchandise classified under subheading 8471.92.90, HTSUS, as other input or output units of automatic data processing machines, or under subheading 9017.20.80, HTSUS, as other drawing instruments?


The HTSUS provides that the classification of articles is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 states in pertinent part that "...classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...".

Heading 9017 in part describes drawing instruments. Heading 9017 products include drawing instruments designed for CAD and other high precision applications. In the Customs Cooperation Council's Compendium of Classification Opinions, Opinion No. 9017.10 (1), it was determined that certain CAD apparatus were properly described by and classified in heading 9017.

The first description of the protestant's 7475A product in the Technical Data literature is that the product is "The one plotter for both CAD and color business graphics."

The literature states that the "7475A color desktop plotter produces high-quality A4/A- and A3/B-size color graphics for business and PC CAD applications. The...7475A is ideal for excellent repeatability to ensure professional-quality output. ...This precision means your drawings have straight lines, crisp characters, circles that close, and corners that meet."

The model 7475A product is described from the information provided as a type of good principally used for heading 9017 applications. Descriptive literature was not provided for the model 7550B product. No material differences between the model 7550B and the model 7475A have been established, and the model 7550B will be classified the same as the model 7475A in this protest.

Articles of Chapter 90 are excluded from Chapter 84 (including heading 8471) pursuant to Section XVI Note l(m). Because the products are articles of Chapter 90, they cannot be classified in heading 8471.

The protestant cites HQ 951005 (February 20, 1992), in which we stated our belief that most "A" and "B" type pen plotters would be classified as heading 8471 apparatus. However, we also stated in HQ 951005 that such products may have specialized features and uses which result in their belonging to a class or kind of good principally used as heading 9017 products. The protestant's own product Technical Data literature emphasizes features and uses which are typical of heading 9017 apparatus.

The protestant also discusses the classification of products under the former Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS). However, there are significant differences between the classification of drawing instruments under the TSUS and HTSUS. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes to heading 9017 clearly express the intent for heading 9017 of the HTSUS to encompass computer aided drawing apparatus as well as manual apparatus. The Explanatory Notes, p. 1486, state that "[t]he heading also covers drafting machines incorporating automatic data processing machines or working in conjunction with such machines." See also decision on heading 9017 CAD apparatus in Compendium of Classification Opinion No. 9017.10 (1), and HTSUS Chapter 84 Note 5 which excludes from heading 8471 goods working in conjunction with heading 8471 machines and performing a specific function.

In HQ 951366 (April 9, 1992), we found that a HI 1117 Image Maker product which was similar to the merchandise under consideration was classified in heading 9017. In fact, the product literature for the HI 1117 Image Maker pen plotter referred to the model 7475A, stating that a feature of the HI 1117 was "HPGL 7475A emulation for immediate compatibility with popular CAD and graphics software".

The protestant in the instant matter states that the scope of the protest is "small format, desktop graphic plotters". It should be noted that this protest only decides the classification of the entered 7475A and 7550B plotters, and is not determinative of any other plotters, including unidentified other "small format, desktop graphic plotters". Binding administrative rulings concerning the classification of other plotters, or prospective importations of 7475A or 7550B plotters, can be requested pursuant to Part 177, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177).


The model 7475A and 7550B pen plotters are classified as "Drawing... instruments ( for example, drafting machines...: ... Other drawing... instruments: ... Other", in subheading 9017.20.80, HTSUS. The protest should be denied. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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