NOVEMBER 2 1992
CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 952348 JAS
District Director of Customs
P.O. Box 789
Great Falls, Montana 59403
RE: Engine Starter; Starter Motor for Model Airplane; Hand-
Held Device for Starting Model Airplane Motor;
Heading 8511; Electric Motor; Heading 8501; I.A. 48/92
Your letter of July 6, 1992 (ENT-1-CO:FM/DEN), forwarded a
letter, dated June 29, 1992, from the importer which initiated
this request for internal advice. The merchandise was entered at
the port of Denver. Our decision follows.
The merchandise in issue is engine starter no. 78-460 and
78-461 from China. It is a hand-held cylindrical device, 7
inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter, designed exclusively
for starting model aircraft engines. Battery clip-ons attach by
heavy duty cable to one end of the starter. The clips can attach
to a car battery to recharge the 12 volt starter battery. At the
other end is an armature and shaft to which is attached an
aluminum drive cone with rubber insert. The rubber insert butts
against the spinner or cone on the plane's propeller shaft. When
the starter is activated by an on/off switch the shaft rotates,
thus creating a friction fit with the spinner. The plane's
propeller begins to rotate and the engine starts. The engine
starter is then pulled away.
The merchandise was entered under the provision for starter
motors and dual purpose starter-generators, in subheading
8511.40.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
(HTSUS). The import specialist at Denver proposes to classify
the goods under the provision for other motors of an output of
under 18.65 W, in subheading 8501.10.40, HTSUS. The proposed
rate advance is based on the opinion of the concerned National
Import Specialist that the starter motor is not of the kind
encompassed by heading 8511.
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Whether a starter motor for model airplane engines is
provided for in heading 8511.
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.
Chapter 85, Note 2, HTSUS, states that headings 8501 to 8504
do not apply to goods described in heading 8511, 8512, 8540, 8541
or 8542. Therefore, if the starter motor is provided for in
heading 8511 it cannot be classified in heading 8501.
The internal advice applicant notes that under the HTSUS'
predecessor tariff code, the Tariff Schedules of the United
States (TSUS), these starter motors were broken out statistically
under item 683.60, a provision for other electrical starting and
ignition equipment for internal combustion engines. The language
of item 683.60 is substantially similar to the language of
The similarity in language, however, is neither persuasive
nor determinative. While the underlying intent of the conversion
from the TSUS to the HTSUS was to be revenue neutral to the
fullest extent possible, it was recognized that the conversion
would, in some cases, result in changes in rates of duty.
Merchandise is classifiable under the HTSUS in accordance with
the GRIs and the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding
System Explanatory Notes (ENs).
The 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.
Relevant heading 85.11 ENs state, at p. 1348, that the
heading covers electrical starting or ignition equipment and
appliances for internal combustion engines of any kind, whether
for use in motor cars, aircraft, boats or the like, or for
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stationary engines. The ENs list starter motors at (F) and
describe them as follows:
These are small electric motors, usually of the
DC series wound type. They are fitted with a
small pinion capable of travelling up and down
a screwed shaft, or with some other mechanical
device for coupling them temporarily to the
internal combustion engine to be started.
Heading 8511 encompasses electrical ignition or starting
equipment of a kind used for spark-ignition or compression-
ignition internal combustion engines. The starter motors in
issue appear to be within this description. However, we
interpret the cited ENs to indicate that starter motors for model
airplane engines are not of like kind with those used in motor
cars, aircraft or boats. Heading 8511 is therefore eliminated
from consideration and chapter 85, note 2 is not operative.
Heading 8501 provides for electric motors and generators.
The heading covers machines for transforming electrical energy
into mechanical power, and includes both rotary motors and linear
motors. The starter motors in issue are provided for in heading
Under the authority of GRI 1, engine starter nos. 78-460 and
78-461 are provided for in heading 8501. Actual classification
is in subheading 8501.10.40, HTSUS, a provision for other motors
of an output of under 18.65 W.
A copy of this decision should be provided to the internal
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division