CLA-2 R:C:M 957575 LTO
Mr. Paul J. Robinson
Tower Group International, Inc.
6730 Middlebelt Road
Romulus, Michigan 48174-2039
RE: Electric Window Regulators; HQs 083955, 086832, 087909, 950557, 950834; NY 859234 modified; section XVI, note 1(l); section XVII, note 2(f); heading 8501; EN 85.01
Dear Mr. Robinson:
This is in response to your letter of December 27, 1994, requesting, on behalf of Rockwell International, Inc., the classification of electric window regulators under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Pursuant to section 625, Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. No. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993) (hereinafter "section 625"), notice of the proposed modification of NY 859234 was published May 31, 1995, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 29, Number 22.
The articles in question are three types of electric window regulators for automobiles. The three types are "push and pull," "arm and sector" and "drum and cable." They are used to convert standard automobile windows to electric power windows.
The "push and pull" regulators consist of a motor; tube, cable guide and bracket assembly; drive cable and catch assembly; shaft assembly; clutch housing; clutch spacer; spring; pinion gear; pinion cover; runout tube; and channel assembly.
The "arm and sector" regulators consist of a motor; plate assembly; plate (for mounting); arm, sector gear and roller assembly; pin (main pivot); rivets (for mounting); and bearing-sector hold down. The "drum and cable" regulators consist of a motor; guide track assembly; glass lift; upper and lower cable assemblies; tension spring; motor and adapter plate assembly; - 2 -
drum; drum cover; cup-drum cover; downstop bumper; anti-rattle pad; and anti-rattle bumper.
Whether the window regulators are classifiable as electric motors under heading 8501, HTSUS, or as parts of motor vehicles under heading 8708, HTSUS.
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 Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the Customs Co-operation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).
In NY 859234, issued to you on May 8, 1991, similar electric window regulators were held to be classifiable under subheading 8501.10.40, HTSUS, which provides for other brushless DC motors of an output not exceeding 37.5 watts. You have asked this office for reconsideration of the portion of NY 859234 which concerned these goods.
The headings under consideration are as follows:
8501 Electric motors and generators (excluding
8708 Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles
of headings 8701 to 8705
Section XVI, note 1(l), HTSUS, states that section XVI (chapters 84 and 85) does not cover articles of section XVII (chapters 86 to 89). However, note 2(f) to section XVII, HTSUS, states that the expressions "parts" and "parts and accessories" do not apply to the electrical machinery or equipment of chapter 85, even if they are identifiable as goods of section XVII, HTSUS. Thus, if the articles are classifiable under heading 8501, HTSUS, they cannot be classified as parts under heading 8708, HTSUS.
- 3 -
EN 85.01, pg. 1333, states that "[e]lectric motors are machines for transforming electrical energy into mechanical power." "Rotary motors," which produce mechanical power in the form of a rotary motion, "remain classified here even when they
are equipped with pulleys, with gears or gear boxes, or with a flexible shaft for operating hand tools." EN 85.01(I)(A), pgs. 1333-1334. This heading also includes "outboard motors" in the form of a unit comprising an electric motor, shaft, propeller and a rudder. EN 85.01, pg. 1334.
Based on these notes, heading 8501, HTSUS, has been broadly interpreted to include electric motors equipped with additional components, even if those components are "quite substantial." See HQ 086832, dated May 21, 1990. However, it is clear that heading 8501, HTSUS, does not encompass every assembly which includes an electric motor.
In HQ 950834, dated March 6, 1992, we stated that an electric motor is classifiable under heading 8501, HTSUS, even when imported with additional components (other than those listed in EN 85.01) if:
(1) those additional components complement the
function of the motor [HQ 083955, dated
July 10, 1989];
(2) those additional components are devices which
motors are commonly equipped [HQ 087909,
dated December 26, 1990];
(3) those additional components serve merely to
transmit the power the motors produce [HQ
950557, dated December 26, 1991].
We then held that automotive passive seat belt rail assemblies, which consisted of a rail assembly, buckle assembly, cable assembly and a take up drum/motor drive assembly, were not similar to those described in EN 85.01, nor did they fall into any of the three categories of assemblies listed above. We stated that "[u]nlike the clutch motor assembly classified in HQ 083955, and the windshield wiper motor assemblies classified in HQ 950557 . . ., the seat belt assembly contains the actual mechanism or device the motor serves to power."
The window regulators each consist of a motor and various assemblies. For example, the "push and pull" regulators include a tube, cable guide and bracket assembly and a drive cable and catch assembly. The "arm and sector" regulators include a plate assembly and arm, sector gear and roller assembly. The "drum and cable" regulators include a guide track assembly, upper and lower cable assemblies, and a motor and adapter plate assembly.
The window regulators are not similar to the motor assemblies described in EN 85.01, nor do they fall in any of the - 4 -
categories listed in HQ 950834. In HQ 950557, we stated that windshield wiper motors consisting of a motor, gear mechanisms and shafts, remained classifiable under heading 8501, HTSUS,
because these components "serve merely to transmit the power the motors produce."
The additional components of the motor assemblies in question, however, are more substantial than the assemblies of HQ 950557. For example, the window regulators include mounting brackets for the entire assembly, not just the motor itself. They also include components to hold and/or move the window. The window regulators are not simply electric motors, and therefore, cannot be classified under heading 8501, HTSUS.
Heading 8708, HTSUS, describes parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705, HTSUS. The electric window regulators are principally used on the motor vehicles of headings 8703 and 8704, HTSUS. Therefore, they are classifiable under subheading 8708.29.50, HTSUS, which describes other accessories for motor vehicle bodies.
The electric window regulators are classifiable under subheading 8708.29.50, HTSUS, which provides for other accessories for motor vehicle bodies. The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 3% ad valorem.
In accordance with section 625, this ruling will become effective 60 days after publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to section 625 does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)).
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division