CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 962046 JAS

Port Director of Customs
477 Michigan Ave., Suite 200
Detroit, Michigan 48226

RE: PRD 3801-98-102222; Seat Adjuster, Track and Frame Assembly for Adjusting an Automobile Seat; Subheading 9401.90.10, Parts of Seats of a Kind Used for Motor Vehicles; Subheading 8302.42.30, Base Metal Mountings and Fittings Suitable for Furniture; Other Parts and Accessories of Bodies; HQ 961652, NY 815567; Seat Recliner, Dump Recliner, Latch Assembly, Active Slider, Handle Assembly; Denial of Protest for Failure to Provide Evidence in Support of Claim, 19 CFR 174.13(a)(6) Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 3801-98-100222, filed against your classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of automobile seat adjusters and related articles. The entries under protest were liquidated within 90 days of this protest which was timely filed on April 24, 1998.


The merchandise in issue is identified on the Customs Form 6445 as seat adjusters, dump recliners, active sliders, seat recliners, latch assemblies, reclining bench and pivot “assy,” seat track, release handle, and handle assembly. Only the seat adjuster is pictured in the file. There is no literature on the other articles nor are they further described.

The seat adjuster is a rectangular frame of base metal, open on one end, with a base metal connecting rod between the short sides. Designed to be bolted to the floor of an automobile, the device has a grooved track on one or both of the short sides that - 2 - permits an automobile seat to move forward and reverse. A spring-loaded knob or lever allows the occupant to adjust the seat.

The articles under protest were entered under a provision in HTS heading 9401 for parts of seats suitable for motor vehicles. Your office determined that the seat adjuster, seat track, latches and recliners were parts of general use suitable for furniture, and classified those articles in liquidation under the appropriate provision in HTS heading 8302. Your office now believes that the seat track may be a motor vehicle part or accessory of heading 8708.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8302 Base metal mountings, fittings and similar articles for furniture...coachwork...; and base metal parts thereof:

8302.42 Other, suitable for furniture:

8302.42.30 Of iron or steel, of aluminum or of zinc

* * * *

8708 Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705:

Other parts and accessories of bodies(including cabs):

8708.29.50 Other

Other parts and accessories:

8708.99 Other:

8708.99.80 Other

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* * * *

9401 Seats (other than those of heading 9402), whether or not convertible into beds, and parts thereof: 9401.90 Parts:

9401.90.10 Of seats of a kind used for motor vehicles


Whether seat adjusters for automobiles, as described, are provided for in heading 8302; whether they are parts or accessories for tariff purposes.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified 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.

As to the articles classified in provisions of heading 8302, the terms mountings and fittings are not defined in any legal note, nor do standard lexicons identify them in any detail sufficient to permit us to establish their common meaning. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes, which Customs always consults in examining the scope of an HTSUS provision, are likewise not helpful. The ENs list a variety of articles that are included within heading 8302; but, because these articles are not described, we are unable to compare them with the merchandise in this protest. The instant slide adjusters are designed to be bolted to the floor of an automobile. Because there is no indication that they are suitable for any of the articles named in the 8302 heading text, the applicability of that heading in this case is inconclusive.

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As to the protestant’s claim under heading 9401, a “part,” for tariff purposes, is an integral, constituent component of another article, necessary to the completion of the article with which it is used, and which enables that article to function in the manner for which it was designed. In this case, despite the fact an automobile seat can fit into a slide adjuster and be affixed thereto, it is not necessary to an automobile seat, which is otherwise complete and fully functional. Seat adjusters are not parts for tariff purposes.

Heading 8708 provides for parts and accessories for the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705. The heading covers articles identifiable as being suitable for use solely or principally with the above-mentioned vehicles, and which are not excluded by any applicable section or chapter note. Although a seat adjuster is bolted to the floor of a motor vehicle, it is not part of an automobile body for the same reason it is not a part under heading 9401. However, an “accessory,” for tariff purposes, is generally not necessary to the completion of the article it is used with. Accessories are of secondary importance, not essential in and of themselves. They must, however, add to the effectiveness of the article they are used with, for example, by making that article more convenient to use or by expanding its range of uses. Seat adjusters are not necessary to the completion of automotive bodies, but they expand the range of uses of automotive bodies by providing a base or frame for a seat. Only by being affixed to the floor can a seat adjuster provide stability and maneuverability to the seat. The seat adjusters are accessories for tariff purposes. Their design configuration leads us to conclude they are principally, if not solely for use with motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705. In HQ 962046, dated January 12, 1999, identical seat adjusters were found to be classified in subheading 8708.29.50, HTSUS. Likewise, in NY 815567, dated November 2, 1995, substantially similar merchandise for go-carts was found to be similarly classified.

With respect to the remaining articles, under 19 U.S.C. 1514(c)(1), a protest of a decision under subsection (a) of section 1514 must set forth distinctly and specifically each decision as to which protest is made. See United States v. Parksmith Corp., 514 F. 2d 1052, 62 CCPA 76 (1975), and related cases. In addition, the Customs Regulations require that a protest state the nature of, and justification for, the objection set forth distinctly and specifically with respect to each decision. 19 CFR 174.13(a)(6).

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The scope of review in a protest filed under 19 U.S.C. 1514 is limited to the administrative record. Customs will consider all relevant allegations that are supported by competent evidence. In acting on a protest, however, Customs lacks the legal authority to assume facts and arguments that are not presented and, therefore, not in the official record.

In this case, protest is properly made against your decision to classify the articles in issue under subheading 8302.42.30, HTSUS. However, protestant has submitted no evidence in support of the claim under subheading 9401.90.10, HTSUS. Exclusive of the seat adjusters, there is no other evidence of record from which we can independently determine the validity of the claim. HOLDING:

Under the authority of GRI 1, the seat adjusters are provided for in heading 8708. They are classifiable under subheading 8708.29.50, HTSUS, as other parts and accessories of bodies. Because the rate of duty under this provision is more than the claimed rate but less than the liquidated rate, the protest should be DENIED as to the seat adjusters, except to the extent that reclassification of the merchandise as indicated results in a partial allowance. With respect to the remaining articles, based on protestant’s failure to comply with the requirements of 19 CFR 174.13(a), the protest should be DENIED.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at, by means the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division