CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 950334 JAS

Andrew P. Vance, Esq.
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
475 Park Avenue South
New York, New York 10016

RE: Flatbed Trailer Winch; Load Binder; Cargo Tie-Down Mechanism; Headings 8425, 8479

Dear Mr. Vance:

In your letter of August 19, 1991, on behalf of Omni USA Inc., Del Mar, California, you inquire as to the tariff classification of certain load securing devices from China. A sample was submitted. Our ruling follows.

FACTS: Submitted literature depicts web winches, combination winches and cable winches, as well as trailer winches and truck winches. You indicate the article in question is a trailer winch. The device is mounted on the underside of a truck trailer and used to tie down or secure loads. The sample is of medium carbon steel plate construction and consists of a drum or cylinder rotating horizontally in a housing that bolts to the trailer. One end of a chain or nylon strap is fixed to the drum and the other end to the side of the trailer over the load. The drum is rotated manually by a winch bar or similar hand tool until the proper tension is reached. A ratchet and pawl maintain tension and prevent the load from slipping. The strap and tool are not a part of this importation.

Citing several dictionary definitions of the term winch, you maintain the articles in issue are hand-operated drum hauling devices that function as a type of active cargo control system. You state the provision in subheading 8425.39.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) represents the proper classification. The rate of duty is 2 percent ad valorem. - 2 -


Whether the articles in issue are winches of heading 8425; whether they are machines for tariff purposes.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

The Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80.

The definitions you adduce as reflecting the common meaning of the term winch suggest a pulling or tightening function. While winches of heading 8425 consist of hand-operated or power driven horizontal ratchet drums around which a cable is wound, relevant ENs at p. 1191 indicate that the winches of that heading are simple lifting or handling equipment and that the group includes marine winches and capstans for operating cargo lifting gear, raising anchor, and hauling in tow lines, fishing nets, etc.

Heading 8425 designates a class of articles eo nomine, by name. In the absence of a contrary legislative intent, judicial decision, or administrative practice, an eo nomine designation will include all forms of the named article. However, in determining whether an article is within an eo nomine designation, its use may be considered in order to establish its identity. United States v. Quon Quon Company, 46 CCPA 70, C.A.D. 699 (1959). The articles in issue here are cargo securing devices or tiedowns that perform a mere tightening or restraining function. They do not lift, haul or tow, nor are they material handling devices of any type. They act on nothing outside themselves. We conclude, therefore, that the devices in issue are not winches encompassed by heading 8425. Tariff terms do not - 3 -

necessarily include everything within their literal meaning. United States v. Andrew Fisher Cycle Co., Inc., 57 CCPA 102, 107, C.A.D. 986 (1970), and related cases. Heading 8479 encompasses machinery having individual functions which is not more specifically provided for elsewhere in the HTSUS. The devices here have sufficient mechanical capability to qualify as machinery. Moreover, although they must be mounted on a flatbed trailer, their function is separate and distinct from that of the trailer. They therefore have an individual function as required for classification in heading 8479. In a ruling dated June 10, 1991 (089411), ratchet tie down instruments consisting of nylon straps and gear and pawl mechanisms, and used to secure various articles, were held to be classifiable in heading 8479.


The Omni trailer winches are machines provided for in heading 8479. They are classifiable in subheading 8479.89.90, HTSUS, other machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions not specified or included elsewhere in [chapter 84]. The rate of duty is 3.7 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division