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HQ 962479

March 12, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 962479 TPB


TARIFF NO.: 8471.60.54

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
6601 West 25th Street
Miami, FL 33102-5280

RE: Protest 5201-98-100581; Color Printer/Plotters

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision regarding Protest 5201-98-100581, filed by counsel on behalf of Hewlett-Packard Co. (“Protestant”) concerning the classification of certain color printer/plotters under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). The entries were liquidated August 21, 1998, and this protest timely filed on October 10, 1998.


The entries at issue are HP DesignJet 450C color printer/plotters. They utilize an inkjet delivery system that consists of four cartridges: black, cyan, magenta and yellow. The printer/plotters are capable of producing media sizes A through E. The printers may be outfitted with an optional rollfeed/auto cutter. The printer/plotters are imported with 4 megabits (MB) of memory, ink cartridges, a power cord, Microsoft Windows drivers kit, AutoCAD drivers kit and Users Guide kit. They are capable of transcribing information received through an IEEE-1284 compatible interface from an automatic data processing (ADP) machine.

The merchandise was entered under subheading 8471.60.54, HTSUS, as: “Automatic data processing machines and units thereofinput or output unitsotherprinter units: assembled units incorporating at least the media transport, control and print mechanismsink jet.” The entries were liquidated under subheading 9017.20.70, HTSUS, as: “Drawing, marking-out or mathematical calculating instrumentsnot specified or included elsewhere in this chapterother drawing, marking-out or mathematical calculating instrumentsplotters.”


What is the proper classification of the printer/plotters?


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. GRI 2(a) states in part that incomplete or unfinished articles are to be classified as complete or finished if, as imported, they have the essential character of the complete or finished article. GRI 6 permits the comparison of same-level subheadings within the same heading, in part by application of Rules 1 through 5, applied by appropriate substitution of terms.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Automatic data processing machines and units thereof

Input or output units, whether or not containing storage units in the same housing:


Printer units:

Assembled units incorporating at least the media transport, control and print mechanisms:

Ink Jet.

Drawing, marking-out or mathematical calculating instruments not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter:

Other drawing, marking-out, or mathematical calculating instruments:


Heading 8471, HTSUS, is governed by the terms of Legal Note 5 of Chapter 84, HTSUS, which provides in relevant part:

(B) Automatic data processing machines may be in the form of systems consisting of a variable number of separate units. Subject to paragraph (E) below, a unit is to be regarded as being a part of a complete system if it meets all the following conditions:

It is connectable to the central processing unit either directly or through one or more other units; and It is able to accept or deliver data in a form (codes or signals) which can be used by the system.

Printers, keyboards, X-Y co-ordinate input devices and disk storage units which satisfy the conditions of paragraphs (B)(b) and (B)(c) above, are in all cases to be classified as units of heading No. 8471.

(E) Machines performing specific functions other than data processing and incorporating or working in conjunction with an automatic data processing machine are to be classified in the headings appropriate to their respective functions or, failing that, in residual headings.

The printer/plotters in this instance conform to the criteria established in Legal Note 5(D) in that they satisfy the conditions set forth in Legal Note 5(B)(b) and (B)(c). Therefore, the printer/plotters should be classified under subheading 8471.60.54, HTSUS, as printer units of ADP’sink jets.

The printer/plotters are not excluded from heading 8471 by Note 5(E). They are not fully described as performing the specific function of drawing as described in heading 9017. They process data sent to it from other ADP units of text, created images or designs, and print such data in a range of formats. Thus, they are printers as described in Note 5(d) to chapter 84.


The HP DesignJet 450C color printer/plotters are classified under subheading 8471.60.54, HTSUS, as printer units of automatic data processing machines and units thereof.

For the reasons stated above, the protest should be GRANTED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to 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 make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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