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NY H89310

March 27, 2002

CLA-2-84:RR:NC:1:110 H89310


TARIFF NO.: 8471.60.9090

Ms. Kathy Bartlett
Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-6399

RE: The tariff classification of the SideWinder Force Feedback (SWFF) Wheel, with components from China, Malaysia, etc.

Dear Ms. Bartlett:

In your letter dated January 17, 2002, on behalf of Microsoft Corporation you requested a tariff classification ruling. In your ruling request you also requested clarification of invoice requirements, the marking of the retail package (carton), and the marking of the intermediate layer or outer shipping package used to protect the retail package during shipping.

The merchandise under consideration is the SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel (SWFF). The SWFF Wheel is a desktop console that supports a steering wheel and floor console with two foot pedals. As imported, the SWFF Wheel is packaged for retail sale with the steering wheel, foot pedals, adapter, USB cable, phone cable, CD-ROM software and instruction book. This device allows the user to physically interact with virtual objects and events. Descriptive literature and a sample were submitted with the request.

The steering wheel provides one channel of analog data and two channels of digital data to a host computer via a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection form the main device. The SWFF Wheel is a peripheral hardware gaming device that allows the user to provide information to a computer, and the computer to generate physical feedback or effect to the user. The pedal console is a freestanding unit and connects to the wheel console via the provided cable. The pedals provide two proportional control inputs primarily used for accelerator and brake pedals. The SWFF Wheel adapter provides power from an external power source to the wheel console. The steering wheel provides the X-axis coordinates and the pedals provide the Y-axis coordinates. The SWFF Wheel is designed to be principally used with an ADP machine. System requirements include: multimedia personal computer with Pentium 166 MHz or higher processor and USB port, Microsoft Windows 98 operating system, 16 MB of RAM, 10 MB of available hard-disk space, Quad-speed CD-ROM drive, Super VGA 256-color monitor, Wheel compatible with Microsoft 98-based games only, etc.

The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) governs the classification of goods put up in sets for retail sale. GRI 3(b) requires that goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable. Since this item meets the definition of a “set” as per GRI 3(b), it would be classifiable according to the component, or components taken together, which conferring on the set as a whole its essential character. As imported, the SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel meets the conditions of GRI 3(b) with regard to sets. The SWFF Wheel itself provides the essential character of the set.

The SWFF Wheel combines a X-Y coordinate input device and a special effects force feedback device. Noting Section XVI, Note 3, “machines consisting of two or more machines fitted together to form a whole and other machines designed 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.” The principal function of the SWFF Wheel appears to be that of an X-Y coordinate input device.

It is noted that this set contains software in the form of a CD-ROM, which must be classified in accordance with Legal Note 6 to chapter 85. Note 6 states “This note does not apply to such media when they are entered with articles other than the apparatus for which they are intended.” The CD-ROM software must be installed into apparatus other than the SWFF Wheel. Accordingly, since the CD-ROM is entered with an article other than the apparatus for which it is to be installed, the CD-ROM software need not be separately classified.

The applicable subheading for the SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel (SWFF), when imported as a set, will be 8471.60.9090, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for “Automatic data processing machines and units thereof...Input or output unitsOther: Other: Other: Other: Other: Other.” The rate of duty will be free.

As to your request for clarification of invoice requirements, section 141.86(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 141.86 (a)) provides:

General information required on the invoice. Each invoice of imported merchandise, shall set forth the following information

(10) The country of origin of the merchandise;

Therefore, the country of origin of the merchandise should be listed in the invoice. The following suggested format, contained in your letter, would be acceptable:

Example: Pedal C/O Malaysia
Adapter C/O China

In your ruling request you make note of the fact that the components are separately marked with their respective country of origin. However, the marking is not visible to the consumer through the packaging, which is sealed by the manufacturer. Based on the foregoing information you propose the following marking for the retail package.

SWFF Wheel “Made in Malaysia”

The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article.

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. Section 134.1(d), defines the ultimate purchaser, as generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. If an imported article is to be sold at retail in its imported form, the purchaser at retail is the ultimate purchaser. In this case, the ultimate purchaser of the SWFF Wheel is the consumer who purchases the product at retail.

Accordingly, if Customs is satisfied that the article will remain in its container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser and if the ultimate purchaser can tell the country of origin of the SWFF Wheel by viewing the container in which it is packaged, the above proposed marking for the retail package is acceptable.

In addition, you request clarification for marking requirements of the intermediate layer or outermost bulk package used to protect the retail package from damage during shipping. You indicate that the outer shipping package is stripped off of the retail carton and disposed of before it reaches the ultimate purchaser.

As provided in section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), the country of origin marking is considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. In HQ 733301, Customs ruled that assuming the articles are “sold to the ultimate purchaser outside of the bulk package and the bulk package is disposed of before it reaches the ultimate purchaser, then the bulk package does not have to be marked with the country of origin of the contents.” Therefore, we conclude that, in the current situation also, the outer shipping package does not have to be marked with the country of origin of its contents.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Eileen S. Kaplan at 646-733-3016.


Robert B. Swierupski

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