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HQ 958348

January 17, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 958348 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 8471.92.44

Mr. William D. Outman, II
Baker & McKenzie
815 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006-4078

RE: Color/Black & White Ink Jet Printer and Copier; Composite Machine; Composite Good; Essential Character; Legal Note 3 to Section XVI; GRI 3(b); Headings 8471 and 9009; HQ 957694

Dear Mr. Outman:

This is in response to your letter dated August 21, 1995, on behalf of Hewlett-Packard (H-P), concerning the tariff classification of the CopyJet Integrated Printer-Copier under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). In preparing this ruling, we carefully considered the information provided in your letter of September 14, 1995, and the oral presentation you made in our office on December 18, 1995.


The merchandise, labeled as the H-P CopyJet and CopyJet M, are multi-functional automatic data processing (ADP) printers and copiers combined in one unit. The base for both models is the H-P DeskJet 1200C printer. The print mechanism consists of four 104-nozzle pens: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Both models can handle letter, legal and A4-sized paper, as well as transparency film and glossy media. They will be connected to the host computer by a parallel printer cable allowing the user to print documents in black and white or color in exactly the same manner as if the PC were joined to the H-P DeskJet Printer 1200C printer. Both models' color output can be produced at 300 dots per inch (dpi), while black and white text is defined at 600 x 300 dpi with H-P's exclusive Resolution Enhancement technology. There are 45 scalable fonts- 35 Intellifont and 10 True Type, from which to choose.

The subject merchandise can also make color or black and white multiple originals by means of the ScanJet III scanning mechanism. The document to be scanned is placed on a glass surface beneath the lid which opens at the top of the CopyJet units. If one copy of a document is desired, the scanning device "reads" the document, translates it into a digital signal which is then fed to the internal printer memory, and a copy of the document is printed from memory by the H-P 1200C DeskJet print mechanism. If the user wishes to make multiple copies of a color document, the scanning mechanism must pass over the original document each time a printed copy is needed because of the limitations of the internal memory capacity. If the user wishes to make multiple black and white copies of a scanned document, the scanner will pass the document once, converting the image into digital signals, which will then be stored in the internal printer memory, and used by the printer to make the multiple copies selected.

The CopyJet M is different from the CopyJet, because the CopyJet M is a network-ready machine with a print server card for Ethernet/LocalTalk network included in it. This allows the CopyJet M to be attached to a series of personal computers.


Are the CopyJet combination printers/copiers, classifiable as ADP output units under the HTSUS?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

You indicate that the subject merchandise is a "composite machine" consisting of an ADP printer and a copier. ADP printers are prima facie classifiable under heading 8471, HTSUS. Copiers are prima facie classifiable under heading 9009, HTSUS. To be classified as a "composite machine", the subject merchandise must meet the terms of Legal Note 3 to Section XVI, HTSUS, which provides that:

Unless the context otherwise requires, composite machines consisting of two or more machines fitted together to form a whole and other machines adapted for the purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative functions are to be classified as if consisting only of that component or as being that machine which performs the principal function.

The subject merchandise cannot be classified as a composite machine, consisting of an ADP printer and a copier, because Legal Note 3 to Section XVI, HTSUS, does not apply to the apparatus or instruments of chapter 90, HTSUS. See HQ 957694, dated September 22, 1995. However, merchandise may be classifiable as a functional unit under chapters 84, 85, or 90. See Legal Note 3 to Chapter 90, HTSUS, states that: "[t]he provisions of note 4 to section XVI apply also to this chapter." Legal Note 4 to section XVI, HTSUS, states that:

Where a machine (including a combination of machines) consists of individual components (whether separate or interconnected by piping, by transmission devices, by electric cables or by other devices) intended to contribute together to a clearly defined function covered by one of the headings in chapter 84 or chapter 85, then the whole falls to be classified in the heading appropriate to that function.

As stated above, the CopyJet acts as both an ADP printer and a copier. Therefore, it is not a functional unit as described in Legal Note 4 to section XVI, HTSUS, because it does not have a clearly defined function covered by a single heading in chapters 84, 85, or 90, HTSUS.

Because classification in a single heading cannot be determined by applying GRI 1, we must apply the other GRI's. GRI 2(a) is not applicable here because the merchandise is not incomplete or unfinished. GRI 2(b) states that if a product is a mixture or combination of materials or substances that are, prima facie, classifiable in two or more headings, then GRI 3 applies. Because the CopyJet is a combination of an ADP printer and a copier, which are prima facie classifiable under headings 8471 and 9009, HTSUS, respectively, we must apply GRI 3.

GRI 3(a) states that if a product is classifiable in two or more headings by application of GRI 2(b), then the:
heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

The CopyJet is a composite good made up of different components which are described under different provisions of the HTSUS. Thus, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific under GRI 3(a). Therefore, GRI 3(a) fails in establishing classification, and GRI 3(b) becomes applicable. GRI 3(b) provides that:

Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the official interpretation of the HTSUS. While not legally binding or dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 FR 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). EN IX to GRI 3(b), page 4, states:

[f]or the purposes of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts. (emphasis in original)

Because the CopyJet is a composite good, we must determine which component provides the essential character. EN VIII to GRI 3(b), page 4, states that the factors will "vary as between different kinds of goods to determine the essential character of an article. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods."

We find that the printing module imparts the essential character to the CopyJet because the printing module is used for both the ADP output as well as the copying function. The scanner merely translates a document into a digital signal which is then fed to the internal printer memory, and a copy of the document is printed from memory by the H-P 1200C DeskJet print mechanism. Because the ADP printing module is the essential character by application of GRI 3(b), we find that the CopyJet is classifiable under subheading 8471.92.44, which provides for ADP inkjet printer units.


The CopyJet and the CopyJet M are classifiable under subheading 8471.92.44, HTSUS, which provides for: "[a]utomatic data processing machines and units thereof . . . : [o]ther: [i]nput or output units, whether or not entered with the rest of a system and whether or not containing storage units in the same housing:[o]ther: [p]rinter units:[a]ssembled units incorporating at least the media transport, control and print mechanisms: [i]nk jet. . . ." The general, column one rate of duty is 3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals Division

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