CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085666 JMH
James F. O'Hara, Esq.
Stein Shostak Shostak & O'Hara
3580 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90010-2597
RE: Communications processor
Dear Mr. O'Hara:
Your letter of August 22, 1989, requesting a classification
ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
Annotated (HTSUSA) for communications processors has been
referred to this office for a reply.
The merchandise in question are modular, programmable
communications processors imported from Japan by Fujitsu America,
Inc. You identify the goods as front end processors, models
4705, 4725 and 4745. The submitted literature describes the
processors' abilities to control the interfacing of computers,
control the networking equipment, and encode data for
transmission to remote locations. The high degree of flexibility
in the controllers' programming enables the tailoring of a data
communications system to a customer's requirements.
Additionally, the controllers play an active role in
communications network management by providing data to the
network communications control facility and the network problem
Whether the subject communications processors are classified
within heading 8517, HTSUSA, as "Electrical apparatus for line
telephony or telegraphy, including such apparatus for carrier-
current line systems; parts thereof...", or within heading 8471,
HTSUSA as "Automatic data processing machines and units
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is
governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1
states in part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be
determined according to the terms of the headings and any
relative section or chapter notes...". The competing headings in
this instance are headings 8517 and 8471, HTSUSA. The headings
8517 Electrical apparatus for the line telephony
or telegraphy, including such apparatus for
carrier-current line system; parts thereof...
8517.30.30 Telephonic or telegraphic switching
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
8471 Automatic data processing machines and units
8471.99.15 Other...control or adapter units...
It is the opinion of this office that the communications
processors are classifiable within subheading 8471.99.15, HTSUSA.
Chapter 84, Note 5, HTSUSA, defines the term "automatic data
processing machines" for the purposes of heading 8471, HTSUSA.
Chapter 84, Note 5(A)(a) states that "automatic data processing
Digital machines, capable of (1) storing the processing
program or programs and at least the data immediately
necessary for execution of the program; (2) being
freely programmed in accordance with the requirements
of the user; (3) performing arithmetical computations
specified by the user; and, (4) executing, without
human intervention, a processing program which requires
them to modify their execution, by logical decision
during the processing run..." (emphasis added)
The Fujitsu front end processors perform all of the
functions listed in the chapter note. Since classification is to
be determined by the section and chapter notes when the headings
are inconclusive, we find this note to be definitive.
When ascertaining the appropriate subheading for the
classification, GRI 6, HTSUSA, provides that GRI 1 through 5
must be followed. GRI 3(a), HTSUSA, when applied to
subheadings, asserts that the most specific subheading is
preferred. Although the subject processor meets the definition
of an automatic data processing machine (ADP), it appears to be
more of a unit used in conjunction with ADP machinery. Since the
processor units act to control and interconnect ADP units, it is
properly classified within subheading 8471.99.15, HTSUSA. This
subheading most specifically describes the communications
The Fujitsu America, Inc. communications processors from
Japan are to be classified within subheading 8471.99.15, HTSUSA,
as "Automatic data processing machines and units thereof...
Other...Control or adapter units...".
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division