CLA-2 RR:CTF:TCM H005091 HkP
Ms. Laurie Peach
National Customs Manager
American Honda Motor Co., Inc
1919 Torrance Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90501-2746
RE: Tariff classification of a trunk lock assembly
Dear Ms. Peach:
This is in response to your letter of November 22, 2006, in which you requested a binding ruling on behalf of American Honda Motor Company, Inc. (“American Honda”), regarding the tariff classification of a trunk lock assembly under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the Untied States (“HTSUS”). A sample and diagram were included with your request.
At issue is a trunk lock assembly which is one of a number of components of a trunk lock for certain model Honda Accord automobiles. The assembly consists of two subcomponents that are attached to each other, specifically, the “Lock, Trunk” and the “Rod, Trunk Lock”. The Lock, Trunk operates to grab a striker (not at issue) that is attached to the trunk. The Rod, Trunk Lock connects the Lock, Trunk to the trunk lock cylinder (not at issue). In a telephone conversation between the importer and CBP on or about January 10, 2007, CBP was informed that a complete trunk lock is comprised of: a Lock, Trunk; a “Striker, Trunk”; a “Cylinder, Trunk”; and a Rod, Trunk Lock.
You have informed us that this assembly was the subject of a classification review by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) during a recent Focused Assessment of American Honda. At that time, CBP found that the assembly was classified in subheading 8301.20.0000, HTSUSA, rather than in the entered subheading 8708.29.5060, HTSUSA. It is the position of American Honda that the assembly is not an incomplete or unfinished lock classified under subheading 8301.20.0000, HTSUSA, because it does not have the essential character of a complete or finished lock. American Honda believes that the entered classification is correct.
Is the trunk lock assembly classifiable as parts of locks or as parts of motor vehicles?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.
The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:
8301 Padlocks and locks (key, combination or electrically operated), of base metal; clasps and frames with clasps, incorporating locks, of base metal; keys and parts of any of the foregoing articles, of base metal:
* * *
8301.20.00 Locks of a kind used on motor vehicles …..8301.20.0060 Other …..
8301.60.0000 Parts …..
8708 Parts and accessories of motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705:
* * *
Other parts and accessories of bodies (including cabs):
* * *
* * *
8708.29.50 Other …..
* * *
8708.29.5060 Other …..
Chapter 83 is located in Section XV of the HTSUS. Note 1(g) to Section XV excludes articles of Section XVII from Section XV. Note 2(c) to Section XV provides, in relevant part: “Throughout the tariff schedule, the expression “parts of general use” means: … [a]rticles of heading 8301”. Note 1 to Chapter 83 provides, in relevant part: “[f]or the purposes of this chapter, parts of base metal are to be classified with their parent articles.”
Heading 8301, HTSUS, provides for, among other things, locks of base metal and the base metal parts of such locks. EN 83.01 explains that this heading covers fastening devices operated by a key and therefore covers locks for automobiles, as well as base metal parts of such articles “clearly recognizable as such (e.g., cases, bolts, striking plates and sockets, thread escutcheons, face-plates, wards, mechanisms and cylinder barrels).” EN 83.01(1).
Heading 8708 provides for parts and accessories of motor vehicles and is found in Section XVII of the tariff. Note 2 to Section XVII provides, in relevant part:
The expression “parts” and “parts and accessories” do not apply to the following articles, whether or not they are identifiable as for the goods of this section:
* * *
(b) Parts of general use, as defined in note 2 to section XV, of base metal (section XV) or similar goods of plastics (chapter 39)[.]
Note 3 to Section XVII provides:
References in chapters 86 to 88 to “parts” or “accessories” do not apply to parts or accessories which are not suitable for use solely or principally with the articles of those chapters. A part or accessory which answers to a description in two or more headings of those chapters is to be classified under that heading which corresponds to the principal use of that part or accessory.
The General ENs to Chapter 87 provide, in pertinent part:
This Chapter covers the following vehicles, with the exception of certain mobile machines of Section XVI … :
* * *
(2) Motor vehicles designed for the transport of persons (heading 87.02 or 87.03) or goods (heading 87.04) or for special purposes (heading 87.05).
* * *
This chapter also covers parts and accessories which are identifiable as being suitable for use solely or principally with the vehicles included therein, subject to the provisions of the Notes to Section XVII (see the General Explanatory Note to the Section).
EN 87.08 explains, among other things, that heading 8708:
[C]overs parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 87.01 to 87.05, provided the parts and accessories of the motor vehicle fulfil both the following conditions:
(i) They must be identifiable as being suitable for use solely or principally with the above-mentioned vehicles;
and (ii) They must not be excluded by the provisions of the
Notes to Section XVII (see the corresponding General Explanatory Note).
Under the provisions of Note 1 to Section XV goods of Section XVII are precluded from classification in Section XV of the tariff. Accordingly, we must first consider whether the subject merchandise is a good of chapter 87 (Section XVII). Note 3 to Section XVII requires that parts of chapter 87 be used solely or principally with goods of that chapter. The issue here is whether the assembly is a part of a lock or part of a motor vehicle.
The courts have considered the nature of “parts” under the HTSUS and two distinct though not inconsistent tests have resulted. (See Bauerhin Technologies Limited Partnership, & John V. Carr & Son, Inc. v. United States, (“Bauerhin”) 110 F.3d 774 (“We conclude that these cases are not inconsistent and must be read together.” At 779)). The first, articulated in United States v. Willoughby Camera Stores, (“Willoughby Camera”) 21 C.C.P.A. 322 (1933) requires a determination of whether the imported item is “an integral, constituent, or component part, without which the article to which it is to be joined, could not function as such article.” At 324. The second requires a determination of whether the imported item is dedicated solely for use with the article in question. United States v. Pompeo, (“Pompeo”) 43 C.C.P.A. 9 (1955).
In a fact situation such as this, the courts have applied the test in Willoughby Camera (see discussion in Bauerhin) stated above and CBP must do the same. The subject merchandise consists of two subcomponents joined together that, together with other components not under consideration, comprise the trunk lock for an automobile. Based on its physical characteristics, we conclude that the trunk assembly is a part of a trunk lock and is not an integral, constituent or component part of a motor vehicle. We are also guided by the Court of International Trade decision, Mitsubishi Electronics America v. United States, 19 CIT 378, 383 n. 3 (1995), in which:
The Court notes that if the subject merchandise is not a clutch, but rather a part of a starter motor, then it cannot be classified as part of an automobile, even though it is used solely in automobiles. This is because a subpart of a particular part of an article is more specifically provided for as a part of the part than as a part of the whole. C.F. Liebert v. United States, 60 Cust. Ct. 677, 686-87, 287 F. Supp. 1008, 1014 (1968) (holding that parts of clutches which are parts of winches are more specifically provided for as parts of clutches than as parts of winches).
Based on the foregoing we find that the assembly is not provided for under heading 8708, HTSUS, because it is more specifically provided for as a part of the part, i.e., a part of a trunk lock.
Heading 8301 provides for, among other things, parts of locks for automobiles. We find that your merchandise is provided for under this heading in subheading 8301.60.0000, HTSUSA, by application of GRI 1.
You argue, first, that: the Lock, Trunk subcomponent is classified as a lock part in subheading 8301.60.0000, HTSUS, because it is solely used as a component of the trunk locks for Honda Accord vehicles; and, the Rod, Trunk Lock is classified as a motor vehicle part because the U.S. Customs Service (now, CBP) has previously classified door lock rods under heading 8708, HTSUS, as parts of motor vehicle bodies in New York Ruling Letter (“NY”) 817032 (December 14, 1995). Second, that both these subcomponents are essential to the proper operation of the trunk lock because the Lock, Trunk grabs the Striker and thus engages the locking mechanism. The Rod, Trunk Lock connects the Lock, Trunk to the Cylinder, Trunk and permits the engaging of the trunk lock through the operation of the key in the Cylinder, Trunk. You believe that neither of these components gives the assembly at issue its essential character. Based on this, you argue that the assembly should be classified under heading 8708, HTSUS, pursuant to GRI 3(c). However, we find that because classification takes place at the GRI 1 level, there is no need to apply GRI 3.
By application of GRI 1, the trunk assembly at issue is classified under heading 8301, HTSUS, and is specifically provided for in subheading 8301.60.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for: “Padlocks and locks (key, combination or electrically operated) of base metal; … keys and parts of any of the foregoing articles, of base metal: Parts.” The 2007 column one, general rate of duty is 2.8% ad valorem.
Duty rates are provided for your convenience and subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov.
Gail A. Hamill, Chief
Tariff Classification and Marking Branch