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HQ 965051

May 1, 2002

CLA-2 RR: CR: GC 965051 TPB


TARIFF NO.: 8472.90.80

Susan K. Ross
5777 West Century Blvd.
Suite 520
Los Angeles, CA 90045-5659

RE: Heidelberg Digimaster 9110; Digital Imaging System

Dear Ms. Ross:

This is in response to your letter dated April 26, 2001, to the Director, Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, on behalf of Heidelberg Digital, LLC (“Heidelberg”), requesting classification of the Digimaster 9110 under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). Your letter was forwarded to this office for reply. We regret the delay in responding. In preparing this ruling, consideration was also given to information provided in your letter of September 18, 2001.


The Heidelberg Digimaster 9110 is a high speed, high volume printer which delivers output at a rate of 110 pages per minute and is designed especially for the 300,000 to 800,000 copies per month market. In its imported condition, the Digimaster 9110 is not capable of copying. It is shipped without the scanner apparatus which allows hardcopy reproduction. The Digimaster 9110 allows the printing of documents from stored files, scanned documents (after installation of the optional scanner) and/or data print streams. It is modular in design and is operated by touch screen or mouse. It prints in black and white and utilizes an LED print mechanism. The standard units are the print or marking engine unit (which includes the main paper handling, main paper supply, image transfer components, monitor and finisher) and the Sun UltraSpark System (“SCS”) workstation (personal computer, software, cables and a cart). The SCS is not a general purpose computer, but rather configured to operate exclusively with the Digimaster 9110. The 9110 is designed and sold to large establishments with centralized reprographics departments and print for pay shops. It uses standard size media, but of varying weights. The Digimaster 9110 requires a trained operator and is designed for the following applications:

Short run, on-demand printing;
Desktop publishing;
Printing manuals, booklets, and graphics;

The Digimaster 9110 has an optional scanning system, stacker, additional paper supply unit and booklet marker.


Whether the Digimaster 9110 digital imaging system is an automatic data processing machine printer unit.


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRIs”). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“ENs”) 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.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Printing machinery used for printing by means of printing type, blocks, plates, cylinders and other printing components of heading 8442; ink-jet printing machines, other than those of heading 8471; machines for uses ancillary to printing; parts thereof:

Automatic data processing machines and units thereof.

Other office machines.

You contend that the Digimaster 9110 is classifiable under subheading 8471.60.6790, HTSUS, which provides for units of automatic data processing (“ADP”) machines, other printer units. However, machines of this type have previously been held by Customs to fall under heading 8443, HTSUS. In HQ 959651 and HQ 957981, both dated July 9, 1997, which are hereby incorporated into this ruling by reference, Customs held that certain digital short run printers were properly classified under heading 8443, HTSUS, as printing machinery, rather than heading 8471, HTSUS, as printer units. The reasoning as to why note 5(E) to chapter 84, HTSUS, applies in this case is the same as in the ruling cited above. Although distinctions between the machines in HQ 965651 and HQ 957981 can be drawn (i.e., the machines in the rulings were color printing machines; they print on paper rolls), the ultimate function of all these machines, including the Digimaster 9110, is to provide short run digital, on demand printing. Customs considers this to be a specific function other than data processing. As required by Note 5(E), such machines are to be classified in the headings appropriate to their respective functions, or, failing that, in residual headings.

In your letter of October 24, 2000, you cite numerous New York (“NY”) ruling letters which classify a variety of multi-function fax/copier/printers as units of ADP machines. In those rulings, Customs applied GRI 3(b) to determine the essential character of machines that could send and receive facsimiles, digitally reproduce documents scanned into memory, and print ADP output. These machines, however, are distinguishable from the Digimaster 9110, in that they functioned as stand-alone copiers with the additional abilities to fax and function as ADP printers, while the Digimaster 9110 is imported without the digital scanner and is used primarily as a short-run digital printer rather than as a standard digital copy machine. As stated above, we find this to be a function other than data processing, and the Digimaster 9110 is thus precluded from classification under heading 8471, HTSUS.

Furthermore, although you argue that through application of GRI 3(b) the Digimaster 9110 should be regarded a composite good, and thus classified by its essential character (i.e., as a printer for network computers), we find it unnecessary to resort to a GRI 3(b) analysis. Application of the GRIs is taken in order, and if a good can be classified according to GRI 1, then further application of the remaining GRIs is unwarranted. In this case, the Digimaster 9110 is classified under GRI 1, under heading 8472, HTSUS. In its imported condition, the Digimaster 9110 cannot copy, as it is not imported with the scanning unit, and thus we would not consider it a composite machine. All of the components of the imported Digimaster 9110 (LED print engine; SCS workstation; etc.) serve one function, to print. Heading 8443, HTSUS, provides for certain types of printing machinery. However, on January 1, 2002, the following modifications to the HTSUS went into effect:

The article description of heading 8443 was modified from:

“Printing machinery, including ink-jet printing machines, other than those of heading 8471; machines for uses ancillary to printing; parts thereof:”

“Printing machinery used for printing by means of printing type blocks, plates, cylinders and other printing components of heading 8442; ink-jet printing machines, other than those of heading 8471; machines for uses ancillary to printing; parts thereof:”

Proclamation 7515 – To Modify the HTSUS, line (241), 66 Fed. Reg. 66,650 (2001).

Subheading 8472.90.95, HTSUS, which provided for other office machines, other, other, was superceded by:

:[Other office machines (for example)]
: [Other]
8472.90.80 : Printing machines other than those of : heading 8443 or 8471
8472.90.90 : Other

Id. line (243)(a), at 66,651.

Because of the above-referenced changes in the nomenclature of the HTSUS, as of January 1, 2002, the Digimaster 9110 cannot be classified under heading 8443, HTSUS. That heading is now reserved for printing machines that operate by means of printing type blocks, plates, cylinders and other printing components of heading 8442, HTSUS, or ink-jet printing machines, other than those of heading 8471, HTSUS. As this is an office machine not more specifically provided for elsewhere, the Digimaster 9110 is now properly classified under subheading 8472.90.80, HTSUS, which provides for printing machines other than those of heading 8443 or 8471, HTSUS.


For the reasons stated above, the Heidelberg Digimaster 9110 is to be classified under subheading 8472.90.80, HTSUS, as other office machines, other, printing machines other than those of heading 8443 of 8471, HTSUS.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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