CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086396 TLS

Mr. John A. Slagle
Wolf D. Barth Co., Inc.
7575 Holstein Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19153

RE: Headlamp adjusting screw

Dear Mr. Slagle:

Your letter of December 14, 1989 to our New York office requested a ruling on the proper tariff classification of a headlamp adjusting screw under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). It has been referred to this office for reply.


The headlamp adjusting screw consists of a screw with a head socket (designed in the fashion as a Phillips screwdriver head) and a nylon housing. The screw is made of metal and has dimensions of 1/4-28x2. The nylon housing is designed with an intake hole for the screw which is flanked on two sides by panels. The panels assist in holding the screw at a fixed point.

The screw and nylon housing are fitted together permanently as one unit and are imported and sold as such. The unit is used to adjust the headlight beam of a passenger vehicle. It is designed to fit all Cadillac automobile models from 1969 to 1981 model years, except for the Eldorado.


Under which of the following HTSUSA headings is the headlamp adjusting screw properly classifiable:

7318, HTSUSA, covering screws, bolts, nuts, coach screws, screw hooks, rivets, cotters, cotter pins, washers (including spring washers) and similar articles, of iron or steel;

8708, HTSUSA, covering parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) govern classification of articles under HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Heading 7318 covers screws and similar articles of steel. The subject merchandise is referred to as an adjusting screw, but is in fact a threaded mechanism that has as one of its principal components a dog-slotted screw. The mechanism does not function as a conventional screw and nut combination does. It operates to adjust the headlamp to the position needed. It functions as a part of the automobile to the same extent that the headlight itself does. Consequently, the headlamp adjusting screw cannot be considered simply a screw or similar to a screw-nut combination.

The Explanatory Notes (EN), although not dispositive, should be looked to for the proper interpretation of the HTSUSA. See 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). Under EN 73.18(A)(c), it is explained that heading 7318 excludes threaded mechanisms, sometimes called screws, used to transmit motion, or otherwise act as an active part of a machine. In the present case, the adjusting screw is indeed threaded similar to how a conventional screw is threaded. However, it transmits motion in the sense that it adjusts the headlamp, and therefore it is considered an active part of the automobile. Thus, we cannot classify the subject article under heading 7318, considering this exclusion.

Heading 8708 covers parts and accessories of motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705. The adjusting screw is designed for use on a passenger vehicle, specifically a Cadillac automobile. Such a vehicle is classified under heading 8703 as a vehicle primarily for the transport of persons. The subject article is used to adjust the headlight of that vehicle. Therefore, we find the headlamp adjusting screw to be properly classifiable under heading 8708 as a part of a vehicle of heading 8703.


The headlamp adjusting screw is classified under subheading 8708.99.50, HTSUSA, as a part of the motor vehicles of heading 8703.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division