HQ 950557

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 ruling follows.


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. - 2 -


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 heading 8501. - 3 -

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 parts raised.


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