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HQ 957084

April 29, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 957084 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8473.30.50

Mr. Steven J. Leahy
Leahy & Ward
63 Commercial Wharf
Boston, Massachusetts 02110

RE: Bar Code Scanning Devices; Wand Tip Assembly; HQ 088941; NYs 894422, 896418; section XVI, note 1(m); section XVI, note 2; chapter 90, note 1; chapter 90, additional U.S. note 3

Dear Mr. Leahy:

This is in response to your letter of August 30, 1994, to the Customs office in Boston, Massachusetts, requesting, on behalf of Sapphire Engineering, Inc., the classification of a wand tip assembly under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter, together with the samples and literature submitted, was forwarded to this office for response. We regret the delay in responding.


The wand tip assembly consists of an O-ring of non-cellular rubber, a wand tip cover of polycarbonate, anodized aluminum or stainless steel, a wand tip of plastic and a window made of synthetic sapphire. The assembly is a part of a bar code reading wand which is used to read bar codes and to input data into an automatic data processing (ADP) machine. The wand is described as a "highly effective alternative[] to keyboard data entry."

The bar code reading wand contains a sensor that sends a beam of light onto the bar code. The beam then reflects back into the wand. The sensor consists of an light-emitting diode (LED) emitter, detector (photodiode) and lens. The lens is used to focus the beam onto the bar code, and then to focus the beam back into the detector. - 2 -


Whether the wand tip assembly is classifiable as a part of an ADP unit under heading 8473, HTSUS, or as a part of 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 . . . ."

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057), Customs published a notice on February 14, 1996, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 30, Number 7, proposing to revoke New York Ruling Letter (NY) 894422, issued by the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, on February 7, 1994, and NY 896418, issued by the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, on April 6, 1994. In NY 894422, the Symbol Technologies, Inc. ("Symbol"), PDF 1000 portable bar code scanner was held to be classifiable under subheading 8471.92.84 (now, 8471.60.80), HTSUS, which provides for other input units for ADP machines: optical scanners. Plastic housings for the PDF 1000 were classified under subheading 8473.30.50, HTSUS, which provides for other parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8471, HTSUS. In NY 896418, the Symbol LS 2000II hand-held scanner, which was principally used with point-of-sale devices, was held to be classifiable under subheading 8473.29.00, HTSUS, which provides for parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8470, HTSUS (cash registers).

After carefully reviewing the scope of chapters 84, 85 and 90, HTSUS, and structure of the tariff schedule as it pertains to the classification of devices incorporating "optical elements," we found it unnecessary to revoke NY 894422 and NY 896418. On April 17, 1996, we published a notice of withdrawal of our proposed revocations of NY 894422 and NY 896418, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 30, Number 16.

Generally, "optical instruments and appliances" are classified within chapter 90, HTSUS. Articles of chapter 90 are excluded from several sections of the tariff schedule, including section XVI, which covers chapters 84 and 85. See Section XVI, note 1(m) (for exceptions to this rule, see, e.g., Chapter 90, note 1(g)(h)). Thus, if a device is an "optical instrument or appliance," as defined by additional U.S. note 3 to chapter 90, and it is not excluded by note 1 to chapter 90, it must be classified in one - 3 -
of the many chapter 90 headings that cover "optical" devices: for example, heading 9014 (navigational instruments); heading 9015 (surveying, hydrographic, oceanographic, hydrological, meteorological or geophysical instruments); heading 9018 (medical, surgical, dental or veterinary instruments); heading 9027 (instruments for physical or chemical analysis; various measuring or checking instruments); and heading 9031 (other measuring or checking instruments), HTSUS. Heading 9013, HTSUS, is the basket provision for optical instruments and appliances within chapter 90. The heading covers "other optical instruments and appliances, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter."

Additional U.S. note 3 to chapter 90 provides that, for the purposes of chapter 90, the terms optical appliances and optical instruments "refer only to those appliances and instruments which incorporate one or more optical elements, but do not include any appliances or instruments in which the incorporated optical element or elements are solely for viewing a scale or for some other subsidiary purpose (emphasis added)." Customs has defined the term "subsidiary" as follows: "[s]erving to supplement or assist * * * [s]econdary in importance: subordinate." See HQ 088941, dated January 16, 1992 (citing Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary (1984), pg. 1155) .

In the notice of withdrawal of the proposed revocations, we stated as follows:

The bar code scanning devices incorporate a mirror which, in the process of reading a bar code symbol, assists in both the production of the scan line and the production of the signal. The mirror, arguably, serves to supplement or assist in the performance of the scanner's primary function. However, it is our opinion that the scanner, and devices similar to the scanner, which incorporate a laser diode, one or more optical elements (such as a mirror, prism or lens), and significant electrical or mechanical features (such as a decoder, digitizer, or motor), were not intended to be classified as "optical instruments or appliances" within chapter 90.

Similar devices incorporating laser diodes, optical elements and various electrical and/or mechanical features, include the laser printers,
CD-ROM drives, document scanners and optical mice of heading 8471,
HTSUS, the compact disc players of heading 8519, HTSUS, and the laser disc players of heading 8521, HTSUS. The optics of these devices are considered "subsidiary" for tariff classification purposes, and therefore, the scanners, laser printers, CD-ROM drives, document scanners, optical mice, compact disc players, laser disc players and similar devices, cannot be classified as "optical instruments or appliances" within chapter 90.

Based on the above reasoning, the bar code reading wand cannot be classified under heading 9013, HTSUS. The wand is classifiable as an input device under heading 8471, HTSUS. The wand tip assembly, a part of that wand which is not a "good included" in any chapter 84, 85 or 90 heading, is classifiable under subheading 8473.30.50, HTSUS, which provides for other parts of the machines of heading 8471, HTSUS. See Section XVI, note 2(a), HTSUS.


The wand tip assembly is classifiable under subheading 8473.30.50, HTSUS, which provides for other parts for optical appliances and instruments. The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is free.


John Durant,

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