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HQ 956326

June 18, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 956326 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8529.90.85

Mr. Laurence J. Lasoff
Mr. John B. Brew
Collier, Shannon, Rill & Scott
3050 K Street, N.W.
Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20007

RE: LRT 3800 Integrated Laser Radio Terminal; plastic housing; HQs 087984, 088941, 952862, 953330, 956839; headings 8471, 8525, 9013; section XVI, note 2,3; chapter 84, note 5(A)(B); chapter 90, additional U.S. note 3

Dear Mr. Lasoff and Mr. Brew:

This is in response to a letter from Seino America, Inc., of April 12, 1994, requesting, on behalf of Symbol Technologies, Inc., the classification of a plastic housing for the LRT 3800 Integrated Laser Radio Terminal under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). In preparing this decision, we have also considered your supplemental submission of December 27, 1994.


The LRT 3800 Integrated Laser Radio Terminal (LRT 3800) combines high-speed spread spectrum RF network technology with visible laser diode scanning, key entry and 16-bit DOS-based data processing capability in a single, hand held unit. The LRT 3800 is specifically designed for integrated wireless data transactions in scan-intensive applications. The LRT 3800 manages remote on-line transactions and communicates real time to the host computer over Symbol's RF network, which supports hundreds of remote devices. Your request concerns the classification of the LRT 3800's plastic housing. - 2 -


Whether the LRT 3800 Integrated Laser Radio Terminal is classifiable as an automatic data processing (ADP) machine or ADP input unit under heading 8471, HTSUS, as transmission apparatus for radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy, radiobroadcasting or television, under heading 8525, HTSUS, or as an optical appliance or instrument under heading 9013, HTSUS.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part, that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."

The LRT 3800 is an integrated terminal that combines a sophisticated input/output device, radio transceiver and laser scanner. Heading 8471, HTSUS, covers both ADP machines and units thereof. Note 5(A) to chapter 84, HTSUS, defines the term automatic data processing machines for purposes of this heading. The definition is expressed in terms of the abilities an ADP machine must possess. Note 5(A)(a)(2) to chapter 84 states that digital ADP machines must be capable of "being freely programmed in accordance with the requirements of the user." The LRT 3800 does not meet this definition.

The LRT 3800, which has a very small screen and keypad, is not a "general purpose" machine like a standard laptop or desktop terminal, nor does it provide the general purpose display capability of these machines. See HQ 952862, dated November 1, 1994 (regarding the "freely programmable" requirement). The LRT 3800 is designed for specific, scan-intensive applications, and cannot be programmed by the user to perform word processing, make a spreadsheet, play games, etc. Although it has some processing capability, the LRT 3800 is not "freely programmable," and therefore, is not an ADP machine and cannot be classified as such under heading 8471, HTSUS. See HQ 956839, issued to you on March 28, 1996.

However, the input/output portion of the LRT 3800 is prima facie classifiable under subheading 8471.60, HTSUS, which provides for input or output units, whether or not containing storage units in the same housing. The terminal, which is solely or principally used with an ADP system, is connectable to the host computer through a radio link. Further, the terminal is specifically designed as a part of a system that works in - 3 -
conjunction with Symbol's RF network. Thus, the terminal can be regarded as being an ADP unit. See Chapter 84, note 5(B), HTSUS. The scanner portion of the LRT 3800 is also prima facie classifiable under subheading 8471.60, HTSUS. While the scanner incorporates an optical element (mirror) that plays a vital role in the device's scanning process, it cannot be classified under heading 9013, HTSUS. See HQ 956839; Additional U.S. note 3 to chapter 90, HTSUS (defining "optical instruments" for chapter 90 purposes); HQ 088941, dated January 16, 1992 (defining "subsidiary").

Finally, the data transmission portion of the LRT 3800 is prima facie classifiable under heading 8525, HTSUS, which provides for transmission apparatus for radiotelephony, radiotelegraphy, radiobroadcasting or television. The terminal incorporates a radio transceiver that permits the device to communicate real time to the host computer.

We have previously considered the classification of machines with components/functions described in headings 8471 and 8525, HTSUS. See HQ 087984, dated September 13, 1991 (Mobile Radio Data Terminals (MDT)); HQ 953330, dated May 14, 1993 (constituent units for a "Wireless Data Network"); and, most recently, HQ 952862 (Teklogix data collection terminals). In these rulings, we classified these multi-function machines according to note 3 to section XVI, HTSUS, "as if consisting only of that component or as being that machine which performs the principal function."

In HQ 952862, we stated as follows:

[I]t is our opinion that, as with the MDTs [of HQ 087984], while [the data collection terminals] are prima facie classifiable as combined input/output units under subheading 8471.92.10, HTSUS, their principal function is described by heading 8525, HTSUS. The devices, which are either hand held or vehicle-mounted, communicate over radio frequencies in real-time through a system controller to a computer which acts as a host for the system . . . . The data collection devices' most significant features are their mobility and ability to transmit data by radio waves. The component that allows them to function from a mobile location is the radio transceiver.

The LRT 3800 is functionally similar to the Teklogix data collection terminals of HQ 952862. The LRT 3800's most significant feature is its ability to transmit data by radio waves, and the component that allows it to function in this manner is the radio transceiver. Data processing is ancillary to data transmission. While users of the LRT 3800 can input data by laser diode scanning or key entry, they cannot substantially manipulate data, nor will they spend a large portion of their time attempting to manipulate data. Accordingly, the LRT 3800 is classifiable under heading 8525, HTSUS. The plastic housings for the LRT 3800 are classifiable, as parts, under subheading 8529.90.85, HTSUS, which provides for parts suitable for use solely or principally with the apparatus of heading 8525, HTSUS. See Section XVI, note 2, HTSUS.


The plastic housings for the LRT 3800 Integrated Laser Radio Terminal is classifiable under subheading 8529.90.85, HTSUS, which provides for other parts of articles of heading 8525, HTSUS. The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 3.5% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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