DEC 26 1991
CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 950557 JAS
Mr. Donald H. Huber
GE Client Business Services
P.O. Box 06500
Fort Myers, Florida 33906-6500
RE: Windshield Wiper Motors
Dear Mr. Huber:
In your letter of October 9, 1991, on behalf of BG
Automotive Motors, Hendersonville, Tenn., you inquire as to the
tariff classification of certain motors imported for use in GE
windshield wiper assemblies. Your inquiry is based on a
preclassification opinion issued to one of your suppliers. Our
Literature you furnished this office describes a motor
designated part 0 396 216 707. This motor includes a spline for
attachment to the wiper arm and a gear drive so that the output
shaft rotates at a maximum of 120 degrees. In a
preclassification opinion dated May 22, 1991 (863295), the
District Director at New Orleans recommended that certain rear
wiper motors be classified in subheading 8501.10.40, Harmonized
Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), other electric
motors of an output under 18.65 W. The rate of duty is 6.6
percent ad valorem.
You maintain that the spline and gear drive are features
which dedicate the motors for use exclusively with rear
windshield wiper assemblies. You cite a HTSUS legal note which
you indicate requires that the motors be classified as parts of
windshield wipers, in subheading 8512.90, HTSUS, dutiable at the
rate of 3.1 percent ad valorem.
Whether the articles in issue are motors of heading 8501 or
parts of windshield wipers of heading 8512.
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LAW AND ANALYSIS:
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.
Regarding the first issue, electric motors of heading 8501
are machines for transforming electric energy into mechanical
power. Relevant ENs at p. 1334 indicate that rotary motors of
heading 8501 remain in that heading even when equipped with
pulleys, with gears or gear boxes, or with a flexible shaft for
operating hand tools. Synchronous motors for clock movements are
classified in heading 8501 even if equipped with gears. We
conclude that gear mechanisms and shafts serve merely to transmit
the power the motors produce, and do not remove the subject
motors from heading 8501.
Having determined that heading 8501 applies, the second
issue is whether the motors are goods "described" in heading
8512. Chapter 85, note 2, HTSUS, states, in part, that heading
8501 does not apply to goods described in heading 8512. We
conclude the motors are not described in heading 8512. This note
refers to articles described either by name or at least
generically in one of the headings listed in note 2. It does not
apply to headings covering articles and parts of articles where
the merchandise in question is a part. For example, the ENs at
p. 1334 exempt starter motors from classification in heading 8501
because starter motors are provided for by name in heading 8511.
Section XVI, note 2(a), HTSUS, states that parts which are
goods included in any of the headings of chapters 84 and 85
(other than headings 8485 and 8548) are in all cases to be
classified in their respective headings (Emphasis added).
Therefore, even if the motors in issue qualify as parts of
windshield wipers, the cited note requires classification in
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You note that Protest Review Decision 3801-0-002455, dated
November 27, 1991 (088650), may refer to the same merchandise
and issues raised here. The claim in decision 088650 was that
the motors there qualified as windshield wipers of heading 8512.
The decision is not applicable here because there was no issue of
Windshield wiper motors represented by part 0 396 216 707
are classifiable in subheading 8501.10, HTSUS, as indicated in
preclassification opinion 863295.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division