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HQ 959319

FEBRUARY 19, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 959319 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8419.89.90, 8424.89.90, 8479.89.95

Port Director of Customs
300 S. Ferry Street
Terminal Island, CA 90731

RE: PRD 2704-95-103574; Glass Substrate Cleaner; Machinery for Cleaning Contaminants from Glass Substrates, Washing Station, Drying Station, Film Coating Station, Heading 8419, Machinery for Treatment of Materials by a Process Involving a Change of Temperature; Machinery not Elsewhere Specified or Included, Heading 8479

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 2704-95-103574, filed against your classification of components of an automatic glass substrate cleaning system from Japan. The entries were liquidated on September 8, 1995, and this protest timely filed on December 7, 1995.


Literature describes an automatic glass cleaning and semiconducting film deposition system for processing glass substrates into active matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCDs). The "system" actually consists of four (4) individual machines, an automatic glass substrate cleaning machine, a hot press and final curing machine, a rubbing machine, and a panel assembly machine, whose collective function is to clean silicon glass substrates and coat them with a film of semiconducting material. AMLCDs function to convert electrical signals into a visual image and are commonly found in portable laptop computers, scientific and medical instruments, and various control panels. The entry documents indicate that the four machines were imported on three separate days.

In operation, the glass substrates are loaded into cassettes (25 per cassette) and are moved by a mechanical robot onto a roller conveyor through cleaning stations which utilize disk scrub assemblies and roller brushes, noncorrosive detergent and water to remove polishing compound and other contaminants from the glass. The substrates then move to infrared and ultraviolet drying ovens, then to a roller coater that deposits photoresist film in accordance with customers' specifications. The substrates then move onto a series of so-called bake plates which cure the film, then under ultraviolet lamps which expose the film. Finally, unexposed resist film is removed from the glass substrates in the developer station and the glass is rinsed clean. This completes the process.

Protestant maintains that this machinery is used in the manufacture of active matrix liquid crystal displays which are electronic integrated circuits. Such machinery is described by the text of subheading 8479.89.85, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your office determined that the substrate cleaning machinery was actually a spray washer of HTS heading 8424 and the curing machinery was provided for in HTS heading 8419, as it processed the glass substrate by a process involving the application of heat. You reclassified the rubbing machinery and the panel assembly machinery as other mechanical appliances of heading 8479.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8419 Machinery...for the treatment of materials by a process involving a change of temperature such as heating...; parts thereof:

8419.89 Other:

8419.89.90 Other

8424 Mechanical appliances...for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids or powders:

Other appliances:

8424.89 Other:

8424.89.90 Other

8479 Machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 84]; parts thereof:

Other machines and mechanical appliances:

8479.89 Other:

8479.89.95 Other


Whether any of the four machines under protest process semiconductor materials or produce and assemble diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices and electronic integrated circuits.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 states in part that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

Initially, three Customs Forms 7501 in the protest file list separate dates of importation, March 15 and 29, and April 12, 1995. The available information does not permit us to determine whether any two machines imported together might constitute a composite machine or functional unit, under Section XVI, Notes 3 and 4, HTSUS, respectively. Therefore, each machine must be classified and assessed with duty in its condition as imported.

Protestant's claim is that these machines are used in the production and assembly of diodes, transistors and similar electronic devices, and electronic integrated circuits. However, heading 8479 is restricted to machines and machinery not covered more specifically elsewhere in the Nomenclature. As you have found the curing machinery to be provided for in heading 8419, this provision will prevail over heading 8479. The glass substrate cleaning machinery features disk scrub assemblies and roller brushes. We assume the process also involves actual - 4 -
spraying or dispersing of water so as to substantiate your finding under heading 8424, a provision which will also prevail over heading 8479.

GRI 6 is the legal authority for classifying goods in the subheadings of a heading by applying GRIs 1 through 5, with appropriate substitution of terms. Applying GRI 1 at the subheading level through GRI 6, the remaining issue is whether the rubbing machinery and the panel assembly machinery is described by the terms of subheading 8479.89.85, that is, whether they process semiconductor materials or produce and assemble semiconductor devices and electronic integrated circuits. Protestant explains that the process involves cleaning the glass substrate, transferring an electronic circuit to it using photoresist and photoetch processes, then applying an insulating layer of polyamide coating to the imprinted circuit. The claim is that this process is nearly identical to the process of making a semiconductor part, except that here the substrate is silicon glass. Integrated circuits are formed on a semiconductor substrate. In our opinion, glass is neither a semiconductor material nor is it a substrate. Also, while an AMLCD may contain diodes or transistors, it is not itself considered to be an integrated circuit. For these reasons, the rubbing machinery and the panel assembly machinery cannot be said to process a semiconductor material or to produce or assemble an integrated circuit. They are not described by the terms of subheading 8479.89.85, HTSUS.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the curing machinery is provided for in heading 8419 and the glass substrate cleaning machinery is provided for in heading 8424. They are classifiable in subheadings 8419.89.90 and 8424.89.90, HTSUS, respectively. The rubbing machinery and the panel assembly machinery are provided for in heading 8479. They are classifiable in subheading 8479.89.95, HTSUS.

The protest should be DENIED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you should mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision - 5 -
available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, the Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification

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