United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2005 HQ Rulings > HQ 563295 - HQ 966997 > HQ 966863

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 966863

September 10, 2004

CLA-2 RR: CR: GC 966863 TPB


TARIFF NO.: 8473.30.5000

Terry L. Alberts
Spectra-Physics Scanning c/o PSC, Inc.
959 Terry Street
Eugene, OR 97402-9150

RE: Laser Unit; Barcode Scanner; Protest 2904-95-100167; HQ 958839 Revoked.

Dear Mr. Alberts:

This is in reference to HQ 958839, dated March 28, 1996, which answered Protest 2904-95-100167. That ruling dealt with the classification of a laser unit for a horizontal scanner under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”).

In review of that ruling, Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has come to the conclusion that the classification issued was in error, and for the reasons stated below, hereby revokes HQ 958839 and classifies the laser unit in subheading 8473.30, HTSUS. Under San Francisco Newspaper Printing Co. v. United States, 9 CIT 517, 620 F. Supp. 738 (1985), the liquidation of the entries covering the merchandise which was the subject of protest is final on both the protestant and CBP. Accordingly, this decision will not impact the classification of the merchandise which was covered by the entries subject to HQ 958839.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of the above identified ruling was published on August 4, 2004, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 38, Number 32. No comments were received in response to the notice.


The merchandise is described in HQ 958839 as follows:

The laser units are a component of various horizontal scanners which are used with point-of-sale (“POS”) systems. The laser diode-based horizontal scanners include the Spectra-Physics HS1250, a brochure of which was provided by the protestant. The horizontal scanners are designed to read bar codes in transaction-intensive environments.

In HQ 958839 CBP held that:

The scanner also cannot be classified as a part or accessory of an ADP machine (or unit thereof) under subheading 8473.30.45, HTSUS, because it is not principally used with the ADP machines (or units thereof) of heading 8471, HTSUS. Rather, the scanner, which is not a "good included" in any chapter 84, 85 or 90 heading, is classifiable under subheading 8473.29.00, HTSUS, which provides for accessories of the machines of heading 8470, HTSUS (cash registers). The laser unit, a part of the horizontal scanner, is also classifiable under this subheading.


Are the laser units classified under subheading 8473.29, HTSUS, which provides for parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8470, or under subheading 8473.30, HTSUS, which provides for parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8471?


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 HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Parts and accessories (other than covers, carrying cases and the like) suitable for use solely or principally with machines of heading 8469 to 8472:

Parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8470


8473.30 Parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8471

As indicated in the “Facts” section above, HQ 958839 indicated that the horizontal scanner used to read bar codes could not be classified under heading 8471, HTSUS, because it was not principally used with automatic data processing (“ADP”) machines (or units thereof). Heading 8471, HTSUS, reads as follows:

Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, not elsewhere specified or included:

Emphasis added.

The above heading language does not limit itself merely to ADP machines and units thereof. It goes on to indicate that this heading provides for, inter alia, optical readers. The horizontal scanner used to read bar codes meets the terms of this heading, so it cannot be excluded from classification under heading 8471, HTSUS, as determined in HQ 958839.

This interpretation is also consistent with a decision by the Harmonized System Committee in its 21st Session (March 1998) to amend Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“ENs”) to clarify the classification of bar code readers. The 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 ENs to 84.71 read, in pertinent part, as follows:



(2) Optical readers. These do not require the use of special ink. The characters are read by a series of photoelectric cells and translated on the binary code principle. This group also includes bar code readers. These machines generally use photosensitive semiconductor devices, e.g. laser diodes, and are used as input units in conjunction with an automatic data processing machine or with other machines, e.g. cash registers. They are designed for working in the hand, for placing on a table or fixing to a machine.

Underlining added.

From the above description, it is clear that bar code readers of the kind classified in HQ 958839 were within the scope of heading 8471 as optical readers. CBP concurs with this interpretation and would classify these types of devices under subheading 8471.90, HTSUS. The laser unit, therefore, would be classified in subheading 8473.30, HTSUS, which provides for parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8471.


For the reasons stated above, the laser unit is classified under subheading 8473.30.5000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated, which provides for parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8471. The 2004 column one, general rate of duty is free. Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the internet at www.usitc.gov.


HQ 958839, dated March 28, 1996, 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, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: