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HQ 965527

August 30, 2002

CLA-2 RR: CR: GC 965527 TPB


TARIFF NO.: 8472.90.80

Mr. Raymond Valdes
Ricoh Corporation
5 Dedrick Place
West Caldwell, N.J. 07006

RE: Ricoh MV715 Multi-function Digital Office Machine; Fax, Copier, Optional Printer Interface; NY 892321 Revoked.

Dear Mr. Valdes:

This is in reference to NY 892321, issued to you on December 8, 1993, in response to your letter of November 19, 1993 to the Director, Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, requesting a tariff classification ruling on the Ricoh MV715 multi-function digital office machine under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”).

NY 892321 classified the MV715 multi-function digital office machine under subheading 9009.12.00, HTSUS. We have had an opportunity to review this classification, and now believe it to be incorrect for the reasons explained below. This ruling also provides the correct classification for the Ricoh MV715.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), notice of the proposed revocation of NY 892321 was published on July 24, 2002, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 36, Number 30. Three comments were received in response to the notice.


The product at issue is a finished, multi-functional digital office machine, model Ricoh MV715, which combines the functions of a high-speed laser fax hub and digital copying apparatus. In its imported condition, the MV715 functions as a stand alone digital fax/copier. A printer interface is an optional item for the MV715. This would allow the MV715 to function as an ADP laser printer, however, this is not in the machine at time of importation.

All of the comments to the proposed revocation asked for clarification as to the definition of an “optional controller” and “optional printer controller.” The printer controller is the necessary component for a MFD machine to communicate with an ADP machine. It contains a processor, ROM and RAM chips and associated components for electrical connectivity. It facilitates communication through a port, such as a parallel port, or USB port. The primary languages used for communication are Printer Command Language (“PCL”) and Postscript. The controller structures the data it receives from the ADP machine in order to create the correct page layout. It sets page margins, arranges words and inserts graphics. When Customs uses the term “optional,” it is referring to fact that this device is not present in the MFD machine at the time of its importation, but may be added at a later point in time, either by the importer, a third party, or the ultimate consumer. It is a necessary component for the MFD copier to properly function as a unit of an ADP machine.

In facsimile mode, the Ricoh MV715 fax/copier is designed as a laser hub for fax networks, and other applications. Its high speed modem transmits documents to other 14.4 kilobytes per second (“kbps”) machines, in six seconds per letter-size page, over regular telephone lines. The MV715 multifunction digital office machine permits users to scan documents into memory while the unit is printing, receiving or sending documents from memory.

In copying mode, the MV715 has a platen-type digital scanner, which allows it to scan books and other bulky items. Individual documents may also be scanned through the document feeder. It has variable magnification from 25% to 400% in 1% increments and has an output of 15 pages per minute.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8443 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:

8472 Other office machines (for example hectograph or stencil duplicating machines, addressing machines, automatic banknote dispensers, coin-sorting machines, coin-counting or wrapping machines, pencil-sharpening machines, perforating or stapling machines):

Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, including line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunications for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems

9009 Photocopying apparatus incorporating an optical system or of the contact type and thermocopying apparatus; parts and accessories thereof:


What is the classification of the Ricoh MV715 multi-function digital office machine?


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.

As imported, the Ricoh MV715 is a finished, multi-functional digital office machine that has the capability to transmit and receive faxes via a built in modem and to scan documents and convert them to digital signals, which the MV715 can store in temporary memory. The MV715 can either transmit stored documents via the fax, or print them via the attached laser print engine. The print function, in this case, is a necessary component to both the fax and scanning capabilities of the MV715.

Heading 9009, HTSUS, provides for “photocopying apparatus incorporating an optical system or of the contact type and thermocopying apparatus; parts and accessories thereof.” EN 90.09(A) states that an optical system projects an optical image of an original document on to a light sensitive surface, and components for the developing and printing of the image. With this in mind, it is the opinion of Customs that all photo-copying apparatus of heading 9009, whether electrostatic, contact or thermal design, operate by means of exposing (1) a photosensitive material or surface with (2) light that is reflected directly from the object to be copied. This process produces an “optical image” to produce a copy.

An optical image is the optical counterpart of an object, produced by an optical device (as a lens or mirror); the image is formed by the light rays from a light source that traverse an optical system. The optical image of an object is produced by the light distribution coming from each point of the object at the image plane of an optical system. See McGraw-Hill Multimedia Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, Version 2.1. A photocopying apparatus functions by a process which places an optical image, reflected from the object, onto a photosensitive surface.

Multi-function digital machines, or “copiers”, incorporate an optical reader, or scanner coupled with an output device to print onto paper that which has been scanned or recorded. An optical reader cannot produce a photo-copy from an optical image. It does not operate by the reflection and exposure of an optical image onto a photosensitive surface. Instead, optical readers operate with a CCD chip to scan and convert individual points of light from an object into a digital data file. Therefore, consideration of heading 9009 is excluded by the terms of the heading.

Note 3 to Section XVI provides that:

Unless the context otherwise requires, composite machines consisting of two or more machines fitted together to form a whole and other machines adapted for the purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative functions are to be classified as if consisting only of that component or as being that machine which performs the principal function.

In this case, the MV715 is a composite machine, which is composed of a fax machine and a digital copier. These two machines are adapted for the purpose of performing two alternative functions (i.e., faxing and copying).

The MV715 cannot be classified under heading 8471, HTSUS, because it is not connectable to an ADP machine without the addition of an optional printer interface, which is not incorporated into the machine at the time of its importation. Similarly, the MV715 cannot be classified under heading 8443, HTSUS, because it does not meet the terms of the heading. It does not print by any of the methods described in that heading, but rather through laser technology. Therefore, the headings under consideration are 8472, HTSUS, which provides for office printers other than those of heading 8443 or 8471; and heading 8517, HTSUS, which provides for facsimile machines. Following Note 3 to Section XVI, HTSUS, this composite machine will be classified by its principal function.

To assist in determining the principal function of a machine, we examine a number of factors, and while no one is determinative, they are indicative of principal function. After conducting independent research (ex., researching web-sites retailing new and used digital machines; examining advertising brochures; etc.), we believe that it is the printing performed by the digital copier that imparts the principal function of this multi-function digital office machine. Therefore, pursuant to Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, the MV715 will be classified as if it consisted solely as a digital copier of heading 8472, HTSUS.

The MV715 meets the terms of heading 8472, HTSUS. It is a complete and fully functioning office machine other than those that are classifiable in earlier headings of chapter 84, or in heading 9009, HTS at the time of its importation. Therefore, the Ricoh MV715 is properly classified under 8472.90.80, HTSUS, which provides for office printing machines other than those of heading 8443 or 8471, HTSUS.

One commenter claimed that the MFD machine should nonetheless be classified under heading 8471 as a matter of fact and law. That submission claimed that because the MFD copier may be connected to an ADP machine through the aforementioned absent printer controllers that it still meets the requirements of Note 5 (B)(b), HTSUS, in that it is connected to the CPU of an ADP machine, not directly, but through one or more other units (i.e., the printer controller). However, as mentioned above, in its condition as imported, the Ricoh MV715 does not come with this printer controller. It is imported as a complete and fully functional MFD copier, and therefore, is classified as such.

Furthermore, the comments submitted indicate that all printers for data processing systems require a controller board in order to connect to the central processing unit of the system and that this controller board is a conduit for the transmission and reception of information. Even if we were to accept, arguendo, that because the MFD copier may at some future point in time be connected to an ADP machine through the optional printer controller, and accept that that would be enough to satisfy the requirement of Note 5(B)(b), the MFD copier would still fail to satisfy the requirements of Note 5(B)(c), because, by the commenters own admission, without the card, the copier is not able to accept or deliver data in a form which can be used by the system. It is the role of the printer card to facilitate this communication.

As described in the “Facts” section above, an optional printer controller adapts a digital copier so that it may be used as a printer for an ADP machine or system. These cards are not standard equipment and may be added post importation. Should importers have any further questions as to this classification of specific goods consequent to this notice, they may write to the National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, for a ruling.


At GRI 1 the principal function of a multi-function digital office machine that can fax and copy is that of copying. Thus, the proper classification of the multi-function digital office machine is under subheading 8472.90.80, HTSUS, which provides for other office machinesotherprinting machines other than those of heading 8443 or 8471.


NY 892321 is revoked. In accordance with 19 U.S.C 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.


Myles B. Harmon, Acting Director

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