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NY R01603

March 18, 2005

CLA-2-84:RR:NC:1:104 R01603


TARIFF NO.: 8479.89.9897; 8479.90.9495

Mr. Rob McIntyre
Beckman Coulter Inc.
200 S. Kraemer Blvd. W-350
Brea, California 92821

RE: The tariff classification of a blood sample preparation system from Japan

Dear Mr. McIntyre:

In your letter dated March 10, 2005 you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The Automate 800 is a system that prepares blood sample tubes for analysis on various clinical instruments. The system facilitates but does not perform analysis. Patient blood sample tubes typically arrive at a lab labeled with a barcode identifying the patient. In some instances before tests can be run, the blood must be centrifuged to separate the serum from the red blood cells. Other tests require that the cap be removed from the top of the tube or that the sample be split into portions so that it can be sent to two or more different laboratory test instruments.

The Automate 800 includes a centrifuge, decapper and aliquoter. A portion of the sample taken from the original is called an aliquot. A level sensor uses light to measure the amount of blood in the tube. The aliquoter then splits the sample, transferring a portion of the blood to another tube or tubes. When tubes and aliquots are put into output trays, they are organized so that all of the tubes on a given tray go to a specific instrument or test area. The trays are moved from place to place by a conveyor belt.

The tube holder, P/N 2910052, is used to carry a tube from place to place in the system. The holder is made of a high density polyethylene except for an outer metal collar and a spring mechanism inside to hold the tube straight.

You suggest classification of the Automate 800 under HTS subheading 9027.80.8090 as other instruments and apparatus for physical or chemical analysis. This subheading would not apply since, as you mentioned, the Automate does not perform chemical or biological analysis.

You also mention subheading 8479.50 as industrial robots or as other machinery in heading 8479. The Automate 800 System is clearly not an industrial robot hence HTS subheading 8479.50 does not apply. You question whether heading 8479 may apply since the heading calls for machines having individual functions and the Automate has three major functions.

The Automate 800 is a composite machine in accordance with Section XVI, Note 3 which states:

“[U]nless the context otherwise requires, composite 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 Automate 800 performs three functions: centrifuging (heading 8421), uncapping (heading 8479) and aliquoting (heading 8479). There is no principal function.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN), constitute the official interpretation at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the EN provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings.

The General Explanatory Note for Note 3, Section XVI, HTSUS, provides in pertinent part as follows with respect to composite machines:

In general, multi-function machines are classified according to the principal function of the machine . . . .

Where it is not possible to determine the principal function, and where, as provided in Note 3 to the Section, the context does not otherwise require, it is necessary to apply General Interpretative Rule 3 (c).

Under GRI 3 (c), goods shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which merit equal consideration.

The applicable subheading for the Automate 800, imported with or without the tube holder, will be 8479.89.9897, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter: other machines and mechanical appliances: other: other: other: The rate of duty will be 2.5 percent.

The applicable subheading for the tube holder separately imported will be 8479.90.9495, HTS, which provides for other parts of machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere. The rate of duty will be free.

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 Robert Losche at 646-733-3011.


Robert B. Swierupski

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