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HQ 958839

March 28, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 958839 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8473.29.00

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
511 NW Broadway
Room 0198
Portland, Oregon 97209

RE: Protest 2904-95-100167; Laser Unit; horizontal scanners; point-of-sale systems; HQs 088941, 956605, 957084; NYs 894422, 896418; headings 8470, 8471; subheading 8473.30.45 (8473.30.50); section XVI, note 1(m); chapter 90, note 1; chapter 90, additional U.S. note 3

Dear Port Director:

The following is our decision regarding Protest 2904-95-100167, which concerns the classification of a laser unit for a horizontal scanner under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The subject merchandise was entered on May 16, 1994, and the entries were liquidated on April 7, 1995. The protest was timely filed on July 6, 1995.


The laser units are a component of various horizontal scanners which are used with point-of-sale (POS) systems. The laser diode-based horizontal scanners include the Spectra-Physics HS1250, a brochure of which was provided by the protestant. The horizontal scanners are designed to read bar codes in transaction-intensive environments. The HS1250 is described as an "ideal solution for supermarkets, discount, mass merchandise and home improvement stores."

The laser units were entered under subheading 8473.30.45 (now, 8473.30.50), HTSUS, which provides for other parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8471, HTSUS. They were classified upon liquidation under subheading 9013.80.60, HTSUS, which provides for other optical instruments and appliances. - 2 -


Whether the laser units for horizontal scanners are classifiable as other optical instruments and appliances 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 automatic data processing (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 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 - 3 -
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 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 April 17, 1996, 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 horizontal scanner cannot be classified under heading 9013, HTSUS. See also HQ 957084, dated April 29, 1996. The scanner also cannot be classified as a part or accessory of an ADP machine (or unit thereof) under subheading 8473.30.45, HTSUS, because it is not principally used with the ADP machines (or units thereof) of heading 8471, HTSUS. Rather, the scanner, which is not a "good included" in any chapter 84, 85 or 90 heading, is classifiable under subheading 8473.29.00, HTSUS, which provides for accessories of the machines of heading 8470, HTSUS (cash registers). The laser unit, a part of the horizontal scanner, is also classifiable under this subheading.


The laser unit is classifiable under subheading 8473.29.00, HTSUS.

The protest should be GRANTED to the extent reclassification of the merchandise as indicated above results in a net duty reduction or partial allowance. In accordance with section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to the mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public - 5 -
via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director

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