CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086832 JMH
James S. O'Kelly, Esq.
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
475 Park Avenue South
New York City, New York 10016
RE: Spindle motors
Dear Mr. O'Kelly:
Your letter of February 16, 1990, requesting a
classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the
United States Annotated ("HTSUSA") for certain spindle motors, on
behalf of Nidec Corporation, was referred to this office for a
The articles in question are spindle motors manufactured in
Japan. The spindle motors' exact specifications will vary
according to the needs of the customer.
The spindle motors are precisely designed for use with
automatic data processing machines ("ADPs"). The spindle portion
of the spindle motor is the platform for mounting the memory
discs which store the data in hard disk drives. These articles
are composed of a spindle, a mounting platform for the disk
drive, a brushless D.C. motor, and other components which aid the
You contend that the spindle motors are parts used
principally or solely with ADPs and should be classified as such
within heading 8473, HTSUSA.
Whether the spindle motors are classified as parts of
automatic data processing machines within heading 8473, HTSUSA,
or as electric motors within heading 8501, HTSUSA.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is
governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1,
HTSUSA, 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 8473 and 8501, HTSUSA. These
headings describe the following:
8473 Parts and accessories (other than covers,
carrying cases and the like) suitable for use
solely or principally with machines of
headings 8469 to 8472...
8473.30.40 Parts and accessories of the machines of
heading 8471...Not incorporating a
cathode ray tube...
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
8501 Electric motors and generators (excluding
8501.10.40 Motors of an output not exceeding 37.5
W: Of under 18.65 W...Other
8501.10.60 Motors of an output not exceeding 37.5 :
Of 18.65 W or more but not exceeding
It is not disputed that the spindle motors are parts of
ADPs. An analysis of parts invokes Section XVI, Note 2, HTSUSA,
since headings 8473 and 8501 are within Section XVI, HTSUSA.
This Note states the following:
...parts of machines...are to be classified according
to the following rules:
(a) Parts which are goods included in any of the
headings of chapters 84 and 85 (other than
headings 8485 and 8548) are in all cases to be
classified in their respective headings;
(b) Other parts, if suitable for use solely or
principally with a particular kind of machine, or
with a number of machines of the same heading
(including a machine of heading 8479 or 8543) are
to be classified with the machines of that kind.
However, parts which are equally suitable for use
principally with the goods of headings 8517 and 8525
to 8528 are to be classified in heading 8517;
(c) All other parts are to be classified in heading
8485 or 8548.
According to Section XVI, Note 2(a), if the spindle motor is
described by a heading within chapters 84 or 85, it must be
classified in that heading. Heading 8501, HTSUSA, specifically
describes electrical motors. To determine what is meant by
"electrical motors" of this heading, the Explanatory Notes to the
HTSUSA must be examined. The Explanatory Notes, although not
dispositive, are to be looked to for the proper interpretation of
the HTSUSA. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).
Explanatory Note 85.01(I)(A) states that "Motors remain
classified here even when they are equipped with pulleys, with
gears or gear boxes, or with a flexible shaft for operating hand
tools." Explanatory Note 85.01(I)(A), Harmonized Commodity
Description and Coding Service ("HCDCS"), Vol. 4, p.1334. This
Note further comments that motors "in the form of a unit
comprising an electric motor, shaft, propeller and a rudder" are
covered by heading 8501.
It is clear that a motor remains a motor for tariff
purposes despite having other articles attached to it. These
other articles can be quite substantial. A motor equipped with a
shaft which will turn and operate hand tools is similar to a
motor with a spindle that turns a disc. Therefore, a spindle
motor is a motor within the meaning of heading 8501.
This office does not dispute that the spindle motor is used
principally or solely with an ADP. However, Section XVI, Note
2(b), HTSUSA, is never reached if a heading exists within chapter
84 or 85 that specifically includes the subject. In this case,
electrical motors have an eo nomine provision.
The appropriate classification for the spindle motors is
within heading 8501. Subheading 8501.10.40, HTSUSA, is the
appropriate classification for "Motors of an output not exceeding
37.5 W: Of under 18.65 W...Other..." Subheading 8501.10.60 is
the correct classification for "Motors of an output not exceeding
37.5: Of 18.65 W or more but not exceeding 37.5 W..."
The spindle motors, although parts of ADPs, are specifically
provided for within heading 8501, HTSUSA. Parts covered by a
heading of chapters 84 or 85 are to be classified in their
respective heading in accordance with Section XVI, Note 2(a),
Subheading 8501.10.40, HTSUSA, is the appropriate
classification for "Motors of an output not exceeding 37.5 W: Of
under 18.65 W...Other..." Subheading 8501.10.60 is the correct
classification for "Motors of an output not exceeding 37.5: Of
18.65 W or more but not exceeding 37.5 W..."
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division