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HQ 963326

March 28, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963326 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 8517.50.10

Mr. R. Brian Burke
Rode & Qualey
295 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

RE: Optional Fax Unit for a Copier/Printer; HQ 958643; HQ 955273, distinguished

Dear Mr. Burke:

In a letter dated November 18, 1999, to the Customs National Commodity Specialists Division, in New York, you requested the tariff classification of the Minolta Di-181 copier/printer and an optional fax unit for the copier/printer under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The classification of the copier/printer was addressed in NY F80198, dated November 26, 1999. Your letter was referred to this office for a response on the optional fax unit.


The subject merchandise, labeled as an optional fax unit, will be imported separately from the Minolta Di-181 copier/printer. Once the optional fax unit is installed inside the copier/printer, it will allow the user to fax and receive documents from the copier/printer. The optional fax unit consists of the following components: a “fax board” with right and left covers, a Network Control Unit (NCU) board with cover, two connecting cables, mounting screws and labels.

The “fax board” is a printed circuit board assembly (PCA) containing: a 33.6 Kbps fax/modem; memory devices (such as DRAMs, SRAMs and EPROMs) that allow incoming and outgoing documents to be stored on the board, as well as enabling the board to perform autodialing and polling functions; and, a battery backup to prevent the loss of incoming or outgoing fax documents in the event of power failure. The fax/modem operates through the modulation and demodulation of an electromagnetic signal by impulses representing messages or other data over a carrier current line system. The NCU board contains a standard telephone jack and serves as an interface between the fax/modem and the telephone network.


Is the optional fax unit classifiable as other telegraphic apparatus, under subheading 8517.80.20, HTSUS, or as other apparatus for carrier-current line systems under subheading 8517.50.10, 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 reviewing your submission, the question arose as to whether HQ 955273, dated March 7, 1994, is dispositive to the classification of the subject merchandise. In HQ 955273, Customs classified the M95 Fax Option Kit [hereinafter referred to as the “M95 Kit”], containing a fax PCA that could be installed inside an NEC Model 95 Silentwriter printer, as other telegraphic apparatus under subheading 8517.82.00 [now, 8517.80.20], HTSUS. We have examined this ruling and find that it is inapplicable to the subject merchandise because HQ 955273 deals only with a fax board. The subject merchandise is a fax/modem board. These factual differences between the two option kits result in a different classification.

In HQ 958643, dated May 19, 1999, Customs listed the classification of PCAs based upon their individual functions:

Sound cards that do not incorporate a fax/modem are classified as parts and accessories of ADP machines: printed circuit assemblies, under subheading 8473.30, HTSUS. See NY 803937, dated November 8, 1994 (Tropez Sound Board); NY 890485, dated September 27, 1993 (Creative Labs Soundblaster Pro, Media Vision Pro Audio Spectrum 16 and the LaserWave Supra 16). Modem boards are classified as "[m]odems, of a kind used with ADP machines of heading 8471," under subheading 8517.40.10 [now 8517.50.10], HTSUS. See NY 842533, dated June 23, 1989; HQ 086851, dated April 8, 1990. Fax boards are classified as other telegraphic apparatus under subheading 8517.82.00 (now, 8517.80.20), HTSUS. See HQ 955273, dated March 7, 1994. Fax/modem boards are composite machines which, in accordance with note 3 to section XVI, HTSUS, would also be classifiable under subheading 8517.40.10 [now 8517.50.10], HTSUS. Finally, answering machine boards/cards are classified as other telephonic apparatus under subheading 8517.81.00 (now, 8517.80.10), HTSUS. See NY 864579, dated July 3, 1991 (voice mail cards); NY 852480, dated May 31, 1990 (voicing cards).

Based upon the analysis set forth in HQ 958643, we find that the subject merchandise, which is a fax/modem board, is classifiable under subheading 8517.50.10, HTSUS, as a modem for goods of heading 8471.


The fax option kit, containing a fax/modem, is classifiable under subheading 8517.50.10, HTSUS, which provides for: “[e]lectrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, including line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunica-tion apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems . . . . : [o]ther apparatus, for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems: [m]odems, of a kind used with data processing machines of heading 8471. . . .” The general, column one rate of duty is free.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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