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HQ 958352

November 29, 1995

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 958352 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 8471.99.90

Ms. Sandra Liss Friedman
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
475 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016

RE: System Processor for Video Wall Projection Unit; Automatic Data Processing (ADP) machines; Signal Converting Units for ADP machines; Legal Note 5 to chapter 84; EN 84.71(I)(D); HQs 956208, 955873, and 954494; NY 809291

Dear Ms. Friedman:

This is in response to your letter dated July 10, 1995, to the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, on behalf of Toshiba America Consumer Products, Inc., concerning the tariff classification of a system processor used in a video wall projection unit under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter was referred to this office for a response.


The video wall projection unit is described as a number of digitally controlled, rear projected 3 CRT (RGB) [Cathode Ray Tube (Red Green Blue)] video convergence projector screens which can be placed on top of, and next to, one another to form a larger video projection unit. Each screen provides 800 lines of resolution. The unit can take a variety of inputs, including composite, Y/C (luminance/color) and RGB video.

The other main component is the TMP-100U system processor, which accepts an analog NTSC (standard television broadcast signal) or VGA (video graphics array) signal from items such as a video cassette recorder (VCR) or a laser disc player and converts it to a digital signal. The signal is stored for a very short time in a video memory until the end-user executes a command, via a built-in switch, or via an external control from a personal computer (PC) using control software. The image is then transmitted to the video wall projection unit. Aside from delivering superior picture quality, it allows the user to make images wider, taller, multiple or still, or to combine two or more visual sources.

Both the projection unit and system processor are components of a video display system which is designed to be used in sports arenas, showrooms, amusement parks, museums, department stores and trade shows, or anywhere replays, advertisements, graphics or text from different sources can be displayed.

In NY 809291, dated May 8, 1995, the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, classified the Toshiba Video Wall Projection Unit consisting of the video wall projection unit and the system processor, when imported together, under subheading 8543.80.98, HTSUS, which provides for other electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter.


What is the proper classification of the system processor, when imported separately, 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.

In your letter, you indicate that the system processor is classifiable under subheading 8471.20, HTSUS, because it meets the criteria in Legal Note 5(A)(a) to Chapter 84, HTSUS, which provides as follows:

For purposes of heading 8471, the expression "automatic data processing machines" means:

(a) Digital machines, capable of (1) storing the processing program or programs and at least the data immediately necessary for execution of the program; (2) being freely programmed in accordance with the requirements of the user; (3) performing arithmetical computations specified by the user; and, (4) executing, without human intervention, a processing program which requires them to modify their execution, by logical decision during the processing run. . . .

There is no indication in the descriptive literature that supports the claim that the system processor is freely programmable and can execute commands without human intervention. Accordingly, we find that that the system processor does not meet this definition. However, Legal Note 5(B) to Chapter 84, HTSUS, defines units of ADP machines as follows:

Automatic data processing machines may be in the form of systems consisting of a variable number of separately-housed units. A unit is to be regarded as being a part of the complete system if it meets all the following conditions:

(a) it is connectable to the central processing unit either directly or through one or more other units;

(b) it is specifically designed as part of such a system (it must, in particular, unless it is a power supply unit, be able to accept or deliver data in a form (code or signals) which can be used by the system).

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) 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 84.71(I)(D), page 1299, states, in pertinent part, that:

This heading also covers separately presented constituent units of data processing systems. Constituent units are those defined in Parts (A) and (B) above as being parts of a complete system.

Apart from central processing units and input and output units, examples of such units include:

(4) Control and adapter units such as those to effect interconnection of the central processing unit to other digital data processing machines, or to groups of input or output units which may comprise visual display units, remote terminals, etc.

While the system processor effects the interconnection of a freely programmable host computer (chapter 84, Legal Note 5(A) ADP machine), it is not principally with "other digital data processing machines, or to groups of input or output units. . . " The subject system processor principally effects the interconnection of a central processing unit ("CPU") to a VCR, laser disc player or other video apparatus (which are not classifiable as ADP units as specified by chapter 84, Legal Note 5(A)). See HQ 956208, dated June 16, 1994; HQ 955873, dated March 7, 1994; HQ 954494, dated February 9, 1994, for similar rulings involving classification of an interface module which functions as an input/output between ADP and non-ADP machines. However, the ENs also define another type of ADP unit, "Signal converting units," on page 1300, as follows:

(5) Signal converting units. At input, these enable an external signal to be understood by the machine, while at output, they convert the output signals that result from the processing carried out by the machine into signals which can be used externally.

The system processor enables external analog signals such as a laser disc player or VCR signal to be converted into digital signals to allow the images to be manipulated by an ADP machine and then converts the image signal back into an analog signal which is then displayed on the video wall projection unit. Because of these capabilities as a signal converting unit, we find that the system processor meets the definition of Legal Note 5(B) to chapter 84, HTSUS. Therefore, the system processor is classifiable under subheading 8471.99.90, HTSUS, as other ADP units.


The TMP-100U system processor is classifiable under subheading 8471.99.90, HTSUS, which provides for: "[a]utomatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, not elsewhere specified or included: [o]ther: [o]ther: [o]ther: [o]ther. . . . " The general, column one rate of duty is 3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals Division

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