CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951511 LTO
Mr. Frank A. Vida
P.O. Box 246
Laredo, Texas 78042-0246
RE: Motor Vehicle Wiring Harnesses; Lamps; 8544; HQ 081999; HQ
086940; GRI 2(a); EN to GRI 2(a)
Dear Mr. Vida:
This is in response to your letter of March 16, 1992,
requesting the tariff classification of motor vehicle wiring
harnesses under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United
States (HTSUS). Your letter was referred to this office for a
The articles in question are five types of motor vehicle
wiring harnesses. They are listed as follows: (1) socket-wiring
assembly, rear lamp--RH; (2) wiring assembly, rear high mount
lamp; (3) wiring assembly, rear lamp connector; (4) socket and
wiring assembly, turn lamp--LH; and (5) wiring and socket
assembly, rear license lamp. You state that these articles will
be used with lamps for various types of lighting and signaling
functions in motor vehicles. When imported, the lamps will not
be installed in the sockets of the wiring harnesses, due to the
fragile nature of the lamps and possible breakage in transit.
You suggest that the lamps will be packed separately from the
wiring harnesses, but will arrive in the same shipment.
Whether the wiring harnesses are classifiable, according to
GRI 2(a), under Heading 8512, HTSUS, which describes electrical
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lighting or signaling equipment used for motor vehicles, when the
lamps, which will be connected to harnesses after importation,
arrive in the same shipment.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS
govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1
states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes, classification
shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and
any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."
The headings at issue are as follows:
8512 Electrical lighting or signaling
equipment . . . of a kind used for
cycles or motor vehicles; parts
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
8544 Insulated . . . wire, cable . . . and
other electric conductors, whether or
not fitted with connectors . . .
In HQ 086940, dated August 6, 1990, this office considered
the classification of motor vehicle wiring harnesses consisting
of insulated wires and lamp sockets that were imported with and
without lamps. We determined that those imported without lamps
were classifiable under Heading 8544, HTSUS, as insulated wire
with connectors, and those imported with lamps (installed) were
classifiable under Heading 8512, HTSUS, as parts of electrical
lighting equipment of a kind used for motor vehicles.
In the instant case, the harnesses are entered with lamps,
although those lamps are not installed. The harnesses and lamps
will be packaged separately to prevent breakage during shipping.
GRI 2(a) states that any reference in a heading to an article
shall be taken to "include a reference to that article complete
or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished
by virtue of this rule), entered unassembled or disassembled."
In HQ 081999, dated December 10, 1990, this office
determined that certain golf cart components that were imported
in bulk were not "unassembled" within the meaning of GRI 2(a).
It has been inferred from this ruling that to be "unassembled"
for tariff purposes, an importation must be in "kit" form. This
is not the case.
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The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System
Explanatory Notes constitute the Customs Co-operation Council's
official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not
legally binding, they provide a commentary on the scope of the
Harmonized System, including the General Rules of Interpretation,
and are thus useful in ascertaining classification under the
System. The Explanatory Note (EN) to GRI 2(a), pg. 2, states
that "'articles presented unassembled or disassembled' means
articles the components of which are to be assembled either by
means of simple fixing devices (screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) or by
riveting or welding, for example, provided only simple assembly
operations are involved [emphasis in original]." The goods do
not need to be in "kit" form, nor do they have to be shipped in
the same packing container, to be "unassembled" for tariff
purposes. Moreover, the components need not be imported in like
number. The EN to GRI 2(a), pg. 2, provides that "[u]nassembled
components of an article which are in excess of the number
required for that article when complete are to be classified
Therefore, according to GRI 2(a), the wiring harnesses and
the lamps, which will arrive in separate containers and will be
assembled after importation, are covered by Heading 8512, HTSUS,
which describes electrical lighting or signaling equipment used
for motor vehicles. The harnesses used for signaling are
classifiable under subheading 8512.20.40, HTSUS, which describes
motor vehicle signaling equipment, and the harnesses used for
lighting are classifiable under subheading 8512.20.20, HTSUS,
which describes motor vehicle lighting equipment.
The motor vehicle wiring harnesses used for lighting (wiring
socket assembly, rear license lamp) are classifiable under
subheading 8512.20.20, HTSUS, which provides for "[e]lectrical
lighting or signaling equipment . . . of a kind used for . . .
motor vehicles . . . [o]ther lighting or visual signaling
equipment . . . [l]ighting equipment." The corresponding rate of
duty for articles of this subheading is free.
The motor vehicle wiring harnesses used for signaling
(socket-wiring assembly, rear lamp--RH; wiring assembly, rear
high mount lamp; wiring assembly, rear lamp connector; socket and
wiring assembly, turn lamp--LH) are classifiable under subheading
8512.20.40, HTSUS, which provides for "[e]lectrical lighting or
signaling equipment . . . of a kind used for . . . motor vehicles
. . . [o]ther lighting or visual signaling equipment . . .
[v]isual signaling equipment." The corresponding rate of duty
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for articles of this subheading is 2.7 % ad valorem. However,
because Mexico is a designated beneficiary developing country,
the rate of duty is free if the regulations for the Generalized
System of Preferences are met.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division