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HQ 966264

APRIL 15, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 966264 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8472.30.00

John M. Peterson
Neville Peterson LLP
80 Broad Street, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10004

RE: Printed Media Distribution Systems; NY G83906 Affirmed

Dear Mr. Peterson:

In a letter, dated February 20, 2003, on behalf of Buhrs Americas, Inc., you requested that we reconsider a ruling to you concerning three models of a printed media distribution system. In NY G83906, which the Director of Customs National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, issued to you on November 16, 2000, these goods were found to be classifiable as other office machines for sorting or folding mail or for inserting mail in envelopes or bands, in subheading 8472.30.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). You had advocated classification in subheading 8422.40.91, HTSUS, as other packing or wrapping machinery. We have reconsidered the classification expressed in NY G83906 and believe that it is correct.


The printed media distribution systems in NY G83906 were the Buhrs models 1000, 2800 and 4000 (Buhrs). Each consists of numerous modules, operating in sequence, which wrap books, pamphlets, advertising materials and other printed matter in plastic. Submitted literature and your narrative description depict a shuttle or rotary-type feeder module which presents the materials to the gathering module. Typically, this is a conveyor with guides that positions and orients the materials to the wrapping module. This module
features a rollfeeder which unspools and deploys plastic or paper packaging material around the bundle. A seal bar on this module closes the package. Finally, an ink-jet printing module prints address labels and other identifying information. Optional software permits this module to imprint postal codes on the wrapped packages and sort them accordingly. The products may then be further bundled and stacked. All functions are coordinated by a control module. There is no indication that any of these machines assemble inserts, seal envelopes, affix stamps, or otherwise prepare the printed matter, etc.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8422 [O]ther packing or wrapping machinery (including heat- shrink wrapping machinery);...parts thereof:

8422.40 Other packing or wrapping machinery (including heat- shrink wrapping machinery):

8422.40.91 Other

8472 Other office machines...:

8472.30.00 Machines for sorting or folding mail or for inserting mail in envelopes or bands, machines for opening, closing or sealing mail and machines for affixing or canceling postage stamps


Whether the Buhrs performs operations that qualify as "office work" for purposes of heading 8472.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified 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.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

You present the following arguments in support of classifying the Buhrs in heading 8422: (1) the Buhrs performs a "wrapping" function as that term is commonly and commercially understood; (2) relevant ENs indicate that heading 8422 encompasses wrapping or cartoning machines including those with provision for...printing, which the notes suggest "finishes" the packing; (3) the imprinting of postal codes is an additional function which machines of heading 8422 may perform that are incidental to the packing, etc.; finally, (4) several rulings purport to classify substantially similar machines in heading 8422.

Initially, the parties agree that Section XVI, Note 4, HTSUS, controls classification of the Buhrs system. This Note states that machines consisting of individual components, whether separate or interconnected by transmission devices, electric cables or other devices, that are intended to contribute together to a clearly defined function covered by a heading in chapter 84 or chapter 85 are to be classified in the heading appropriate to that function. It remains, therefore, to identify the function the machinery performs and the heading which describes that function.

The classification expressed in NY G83906 is based on the fact that Chapter 84, Note 2 states, in relevant part, that heading 8422 does not cover office machines of heading 8472. The function of wrapping pamphlets, books and other advertising materials to prepare them for subsequent mailing or commercial distribution is clearly evident, and you acknowledge this to be the machinery's principal function. We note that the ENs include in heading 8422 machines which, in addition to packing and wrapping, also perform other operations, provided those operations are incidental to the packing, etc. For example, labeling machines, including those which print, cut and gum the labels are included in heading 8422. However, because of Chapter 84, Note 2, it is equally evident that heading 8422 does not cover all wrapping machines, i.e., those which are office machines of heading 8472.

Relevant ENs indicate that "office machines" are used in a variety of environs for doing "office work" (i.e., work concerning the writing, recording, sorting, filing, etc., of correspondence, documents, forms, records, accounts, etc.). It is noted that the written materials the Buhrs processes, i.e., advertisements, catalogs, pamphlets, offers-for-sale, etc., are in the nature of business intercourse or communication between persons
and, thus, appear to fall within the common meaning of the term "correspondence" referred to above. Likewise, submitted literature advertises the Buhrs as appropriate for "today's major issues in the mailing industry."

Specifically, subheading 8472.30.00 includes machines that sort or fold mail, or which insert mail in envelopes or bands, and those for closing or sealing mail. The Buhrs systems wrap correspondence or mail in plastic and seals it into what effectively serves as an envelope. Appropriate software permits the wrapped packages to be sorted by postal code. We note that letter sorting machines are among those listed in the ENs to heading 8472. The modular components of the Buhrs each has a base for fixing or placing on desks, tables, etc., which would include other flat surfaces such as factory or shop floors. Finally, typical of the rulings you cite in support of the subheading 8422.40.91 classification is NY 818708, dated January 30, 1996, which purports to limit the class or kind of machinery classifiable in subheading 8472.30.00 to those used in postal systems and mail processing centers. The discussion above suggests that subheading 8472.30.00 is not nearly so limited, such that machines which wrap correspondence for mailing or commercial distribution do office work for purposes of subheading 8472.30.00.


Under the authority of GRI 1 and Section XVI, Note 4, HTSUS, the Buhrs models 1000, 2800 and 4000 printed media distribution systems are provided for in heading 8472. They are classifiable in subheading 8472.30.00, HTSUS. NY G83906, dated November 16, 2000, is affirmed.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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