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HQ 963262

January 10, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963262 gah


TARIFF NO.: 8473.30.1000

Mr. Alex Kang
WTS Customs Brokerage
5730 W. Manchester Blvd., Suite 280
Los Angeles, CA 90045

RE: Revocation of NY A88554, Intel PP 100 CPU in tape carrier package modified for pin mounting

Dear Mr. Kang:

This is in regards to a New York (NY) ruling A88554, issued to you on behalf of Associates Mega Sub-Systems, Inc., d.b.a. AMS Tech, on November 12, 1996. We have reviewed this ruling and have determined that it is incorrect. Purusant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), as amended by section 623 of Title VI, a notice was published on December 8, 1999, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 33, number 49, proposing to revoke NY A88554. No comments were received in response to this notice.

Therefore, this ruling revokes NY A88554 and sets forth the correct classification for the central processing unit integrated circuit (CPU chip).


The merchandise at issue is described in your letter of October 8, 1996, and in information supplied by AMS TECH as an Intel PP 100 CPU, modified to simulate a Pin Grid Array (PGA) package. A sample was submitted. This Intel CPU was manufactured in the United States, and the modifications were being done in Taiwan. The Intel CPU is in a Tape Carrier Package (TCP). This type of packaging is designed for “notebook” applications.

The Intel CPU offers the following features: small dimensions, thin profile, surfacemount technology (SMT), superior thermal resistance characteristics, reduced power consumption, and the SL enhanced feature set. The basic CPU is a monolithic circuit that was modified to simulate a Pin Grid Array package for use on standard “motherboards” in desktop applications. The Intel CPU Tape Carrier Package has been fitted into the center of a two-inch square printed circuit board (PCB). The board contains the pins to simulate the PGA configuration. The PCB provides the electrical connection between the leads on the TCP and the pins. There are also ten capacitors mounted on the PCB. The function of the capacitors is to provide power balance. While they are not necessary for the functioning of the chip, the capacitors extend its life. The modifications made to the Intel CPU adapt the package for a different type of mounting, and protect the chip from power surges.

In NY A88554, Customs classified this integrated circuit as a monolithic digital integrated circuit in subheading 8542.19.80, HTSUS.


Is the CPU chip classified in subheading 8473.20.10, HTSUS, which provides for parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8471, not incorporating a cathode ray tube; printed circuit assemblies, or in subheading 8542.19.80, HTSUS, which provides for monolithic digital integrated circuits; other, including circuits obtained by a combination of bipolar and MOS technologies (BIMOS technology); other?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRIs.

Heading 8542 provides for electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor 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). In NY A88554 Customs found that the instant CPU chip met the terms of the heading 8542 EN (I)(1)(i) which states in part that:

Monolithic integrated circuits may be presented:

(i) mounted, i.e., with their terminals or leads, whether or not encased in ceramic, metal or plastics. The casings may be cylindrical, in the form of parallelepipeds, etc.

On further reflection, we now believe that the Intel PP 100 CPU was advanced on modification to a state beyond what heading 8542 contemplates. The CPU chip, when exported to Taiwan for modification, was a monolithic circuit already mounted in a case with terminals or leads. In Taiwan, the CPU was modified so that it could be surface mounted through a pin grid array (PGA) package onto a standard “motherboard”. Specifically, it was fitted into the center of a two-inch square printed circuit board. Ten capacitors were mounted on the printed circuit board. Pins were attached to the board. Thus, the new package presented contained, in effect, a second layer of circuitry that was designed to allow it to be mounted on a motherboard, balance the power within the entire package, and protect it from power surges.

Note 5(B)(b) states that:

Hybrid integrated circuits in which passive elements (resistors, capacitors, interconnections, etc.), obtained by thin- or thick-film technology, and active elements (diodes, transistors, monolithic integrated circuits, etc.), obtained by semiconductor technology, are combined to all intents and purposes indivisibly, on a single insulating substrate (glass, ceramic, etc.). These circuits may also include discrete components.

The modifications do not meet the requirements of note 5(B)(b) to chapter 85 for the new package to be classified as a hybrid integrated circuit due to the fact that the microcircuit is not built up on an insulating substrate on which a thin or thick film circuit has been formed. See heading 8542 EN (I)(2) concerning hybrid integrated circuits. The modified CPU chip has multiple electrical functions, and is therefore outside the scope of the term microassemblies as it appears in the heading text, and as it is defined in its EN (II). Finally, the EN to heading 8542 directs that the heading excludes:
assemblies formed by mounting one or more discrete components on a support formed, for example, by a printed circuit and assemblies formed by adding to an electronic microcircuit either one or more other microcircuits of the same or of different types or one or more other devices, such as diodes, transformers, resistors.

The basic CPU was combined with ten capacitors on a second printed circuit board. Thus, the Intel PP 100 CPU meets the above description, and is not classifiable within heading 8542.

Heading 8471 provides for automatic data processing machines, among other things. Note 5(A)(a) defines automatic data processing machines to mean, in pertinent part:

(a) Digital machines, capable of (1) storing the processing program or programs and at least the data immediately necessary for the 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;

The Intel PP100 CPU chip does not contain the main storage (memory) or control elements necessary to meet the terms of chapter 84 note 5(A)(a) as an automatic data processing machine, classifiable in heading 8471. See the EN (A) to heading 8471, which describes the processing capabilities of a complete central processing unit.

Heading 8473 provides for parts and accessories (other than covers, carrying cases and the like) suitable for use solely or principally with the machines of headings 8469 to 8472. The CPU chip was designed for incorporation on a “notebook motherboard”. Following note 2(b) to section XVI, the modified CPU chip is a part suitable for use solely or principally with the machines of heading 8471, and is classifiable with those machines. It therefore meets the terms for classification in heading 8473. We have classified devices similarly lacking the complete note 5(A)(a) capabilities as parts of ADP machines in heading 8473. See, e.g., HQ 953403 and 956993, both dated March 28, 1995. In agreement with the legal texts and this precedent, Customs believes the Intel PP 100 CPU chip is classifiable as a part of an ADP machine.


Intel PP 100 CPU, modified to simulate a Pin Grid Array (PGA) package, is classified in subheading 8473.30.1000, which provides for parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8471, not incorporating a cathode ray tube; printed circuit assemblies, duty free. NY A88554 is revoked.

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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