CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 089122 EAB

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
150 North Royal Street
Mobile, Alabama 36602

Re: Application for Further Review of Protest No. 1901-0- 000039, dated December 17, 1990, concerning laser printer toner cartridge

Dear Sir:

This is a decision on a protest filed December 17, 1990, against your decision in the classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The protestant entered all goods in subheading 8473.30.4000, HTSUSA, a provision for parts and accessories of machines of heading 8471, not incorporating a cathode ray tube, free of duty.

Customs reclassified the subject goods under subheading 3707.90.3000, HTSUSA, as chemical preparations for photographic uses other than in sensitized emulsions. The rate of duty was advanced to 8.5 percent ad valorem.

Protestant seeks reclassification of the goods to subheading 8473.30.4000, HTSUSA, providing as stated above. Protestant has offered a sample of the toner cartridge, a memorandum in support of the argument that the goods are part of a machine rather than a chemical or mixture of chemicals having a photographic use, and a quantitative analysis of the chemicals in the toner cartridge.

The cartridge is essentially a sealed cylinder measuring 12" in length x 2.25" in diameter; it is made of plastic. Through the center axis of the cartridge runs a shaft, to the outside of which is attached a vane; when in place in the printer, the vane turns the shaft, thereby agitating the toner contents, permitting even dispersion throughout the useful life of the cartridge. The cartridge is not refillable; when its contents are exhausted, it must be replaced with a new cartridge. The contents of the cartridge are the dry toner, a polyester resin containing organic pigment around a magnetite core.

The sole use of the chemically charged cartridge is for electrostatic imaging.


What is the proper classification under the HTSUSA of non- reusable laser printer toner cartridges filled with toner?


The tariff classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) and, in the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. The GRIs and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation are part of the HTSUSA and are to be considered statutory provisions of law for all purposes. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's taken in order.

The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Descrip- tion and Coding System represent the official interpretation of the Customs Cooperation Council on the scope of each heading; although neither binding upon the contracting parties to the Harmonized System Convention nor considered to be dispositive interpretations, they should be consulted on the proper scope of the System.

Heading 3707, HTSUSA, covers chemical preparations for photographic uses, other than preparations not relevant to this decision. Note 2, chapter 37, provides that "the word 'photographic' relates to a process which permits the formation of visible images directly or indirectly by the action of light or other forms of radiation on sensitive surfaces."

Heading 8471, HTSUSA, includes automatic data processing machines and units thereof. Note 5, chapter 84, provides in pertinent part as follows:

(B) Automatic data processing machines may be in the form of systems consisting of a variable number of separately housed units. A unit is to be regarded as being a part of the complete system if it meets all of the following conditions:

(a) It is connectable to the central processing unit either directly or through one or more other units; and

(b) It is specifically designed as part of such a system (it must, in particular, unless it is a power supply unit, be able to accept or deliver data in a form (code or signals) which can be used by the system).

Such units entered separately are also to be classified in heading 8471.

Explanatory Note 84.71(I)(A) advises that "[d]igital data processing machines usually consist of a number of separately housed interconnected units. They then form a 'system'." A complete digital data processing system must comprise, at least a central processing unit, an input unit and an "output unit which converts the signals provided by the machine into an intelligible form (printed text, graphs, displays, etc.) * * * [emphasis in original]." Id. "Separately presented units" covered by heading 8471, apart from central processing units and input and output units, include, among other devices, "[a]dditional input and output units (* * * printers, graph plotters, * * * etc.) [emphasis in original]." Explanatory Note 84.71(I)(D)(1).

Subheading 8471.92.6560, HTSUSA, covers printer units, assembled, laser. Finally, as stated above, subheading 8473.30 covers parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8471.

In Tomoegawa USA, Inc. v. U.S., 12 CIT 112 (1988), the court was called upon to determine if certain imported toner and developer was as a chemical mixture not specially provided for, or other ink, as claimed by the importer. While not specifically stated therein, the court's analysis and holding suggest that the goods were imported in bulk containers or, possibly, retail size packagings, but, in any event, not in single-use containers that were designed to be simply "popped-into" a printer, as an imaging cartridge. The court found that the goods were classifiable as chemicals, not inks, and held that Customs classification was correct. We are of the opinion that neither the facts nor the posture of that case is applicable to this decision. First, the goods at issue were dry. As a matter of customs law, the court stated that "ink requires a liquid component," Id. at 117, citing as precedential authority Corporacion Sublistatica, S.A. v. U.S., 1 CIT 120, 124 (1981). Since the goods were dry, the importer's claimed classification was not supportable as a matter of law. Second, having decided that the goods were not ink, the court found that the goods were photographic chemicals as a matter of fact, the process of electrophotography being encompassed by the term photography, Tomoegawa, supra, 119. Here, we do not dispute that the chemicals in the toner cartridge are "photographic chemicals." As a question of fact, we must determine if the chemically charged toner cartridge is a part of an automatic data processing system unit and, if so, then is the charged cartridge more specifically described as such rather than as photographic chemicals. In other words, the classification issue presented concerns the laser printer toner cartridge that contains chemicals, and not the chemicals themselves.

In HRL 089260 (August 12, 1991), Customs ruled that a "laser printer toner cartridge" containing a photosensitive drum in addition to the dry toner, developer, corona unit and cleaner blade was properly classifiable under subheading 8473.30.40, HTSUSA, by reason of Section XVI, Note 2(b), providing, inter alia, that parts of machines covered under chapter 84 are to be classified under the same heading as the machine itself. We affirmed NYRL 864182 (June 14, 1991). (NB that in the original HRL 089260, supra, the New York Ruling Letter was mistakenly cited as NYRL 884182.) In HQ 088828 (July 3, 1991), Customs ruled that synthetic ligands in a gel matrix packed in a tube and used in affinity chromatography, were parts of protein isolation kits which held ten such tubes, each filled with a different ligand. In so ruling, we stated, "The mere fact that two articles are designed to be used together is not alone sufficient to establish that either is a part of the other * * * It must also be shown that the article claimed to be a part subserves an essential purpose in the thing for which it is destined * * * 'the determining fact is not whether the alleged part can be used without the article, but whether the article can be used for its intended purpose without that part.' [citing] Westfield Manufacturing Company v. U.S., 46 Cust. Ct. 52,56, C.D. 2232, 191 F.Supp. 578, 580-581, (1961)." Whereas the PIKs could not be used without the adsorbents, clearly the adsorbents were parts of the PIKs. See also Lee Enterprises, Inc. v. U.S., 84 Cust. Ct. 208, 215, C.D. 4860 (1980): a rotary letterpress "could not function for the purpose for which it was designed without the use of the printing plates" which were described and, therefore, classifiable as parts rather than as other articles not elsewhere specified or included.

A non-reusable laser printer toner cartridge containing electrophotographic chemicals is not itself "photographic chemicals" and is not, therefore, properly classifiable under heading 3707, HTSUSA. We are of the opinion that such an article is a "part." The question remains if it is properly classifiable under heading 8473, HTSUSA, as a part of machine or unit described in heading 8471, HTSUSA.

We are of the opinion that a non-reusable laser printer toner cartridge containing electrophotographic chemicals is sufficiently advanced in the manufacturing process at the time of importation to be identifiable as a part of an output unit of an automatic data processing system, heading 8471, HTSUSA. Such a cartridge clearly has been manufactured to particular specifications and has no use other than as a part of a printer into which it is inserted. A laser printer cannot function for the purposes for which it is designed without the use of the laser printer toner cartridge.

We conclude that under GRI 1, there is no need to look at GRIs subsequent thereto in order to classify such an article, since it is specifically described as a part in heading 8473 of the Schedule. We find that a laser printer toner cartridge is classifiable under subheading 8473.30.4000, HTSUSA.


The protest should be granted.

A non-reusable laser printer toner cartridge is properly classifiable under subheading 8473.30.4000, HTSUSA, parts suitable for use solely or principally with machines of headings 8469 to 8472, parts and accessories of the machines of heading 8471, not incorporating a cathode ray tube. Articles classified under this subheading for the year 1991 are to be entered free of duty.

A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and mailed to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.


John Durant, Director