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FILE: CLA-2-S:N:N1:112 812668

TO: Director, Commercial Rulings Division Office of Regulations & Rulings

FROM: Chief, Machinery Branch
NIS Staff

SUBJECT: Tariff Classification of a System Processor

This office received a ruling request from Barnes, Richardson & Colburn, on behalf of Toshiba America Consumer Products, Inc., on the classification of a system processor from Japan. This was a follow-up to an earlier request (NY Ruling 809291) in which we had classified a video wall projection unit and system processor as an entirety under subheading 8543.80.9890, HTS, but advised the inquirer that we could not issue a ruling on a separately imported system processor without specific additional information.

As indicated in the current request, the system processor is described as a device which accepts an analog NTSC or VGA signal 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 PC using control software. The system processor delivers superior picture quality to the video wall projection unit and allows the user to make images wider, taller, multiple or still, or to combine two or more visual sources.

It is the inquirer's opinion that this system processor meets the definition of a digital processing machine, and is thus classifiable under subheading 8471.20, HTS. Noting Legal Note 5(A), Chapter 84, HTS, it is our opinion that this processor would not meet the definition of a digital processing machine since it does not appear to be the type of digital machine capable of being freely programmed in accordance with the requirements of the user, and appears to lack the ability to execute, without human intervention, a processing program which requires the machine to modify its execution. Classification under subheading 8471.20, HTS, would thus be precluded.

This device does, however, appear to meet the definition of a "unit' of an ADP system, or at best, meets the second part of the provision for heading 8471, HTS, as a device for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data. It functions similarly to a signal conversion device, since it does convert an analog signal into a digital signal. Noting the principles cited in Headquarters rulings 956208, 955873, and 954494, this office would suggest classification of the system processor under subheading 8471.99.90, HTS, as other units.

If your office is of the opinion that this system processor does not meet the criteria for classification under subheading 8471.99.90, HTS, then we believe that the alternative classification would be under subheading 8543.80.98, HTS, as other electrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not provided for elsewhere in Chapter 85.

Should you wish to discuss this matter, please contact National Import Specialist David Curran on (212) 466-5680, or National Import Specialist Arthur Brodbeck on (212) 466-5490.

Robert Slomovitz


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