CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 952500 DWS
Mr. George A. Beauchemin
Portescap U.S., Inc.
42217 Rio Nedo
Suite A 202
Temecula, CA 92590
RE: DC Motor, Gearbox, and Encoder Assembly; Explanatory Note
85.01(I)(A); HQ 950834; 8543.80.90
Dear Mr. Beauchemin:
This is in response to your letter of August 25, 1992,
concerning the classification of a DC motor, gearbox, and encoder
assembly under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United
The merchandise consists of a DC motor, gearbox, and encoder
assembly. The assembly is part of a medical infusion pump which
infuses drugs into a patient. It has a DC motor whose speed is
reduced and torque amplified by the gearbox. The optical encoder
provides angular velocity and displacement information. In
certain cases it can also determine when the pump is backdriven.
Special features allow the encoder to be pulsed, reducing the
amount of current needed to drive the motor.
What is the proper classification of the subject assembly
under the HTSUS?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in
accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's),
taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined
according to the terms of the headings and any relative section
or chapter notes.
Heading 8501, HTSUS, provides for: "[e]lectric motors and
generators (excluding generator sets)." In understanding the
language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and
Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory
Notes, although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the
proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128
(August 23, 1989). In part, Explanatory Note 85.01(I)(A) (p.
1334), HTSUS, states that:
[m]otors remain classified here even when they are equipped
with pulleys, with gears or gear boxes, or with a flexible
shaft for operating hand tools. The heading includes
"outboard motors" for the propulsion of boats, in the form
of a unit comprising an electric motor, shaft, propeller and
Consequently, under Explanatory Note 85.01(I)(A), HTSUS, the
DC motor imported with the gearbox would be classifiable under
heading 8501, HTSUS. The question is whether the addition of the
optical encoder changes that classification.
In HQ 950834, dated March 6, 1992, it was stated that:
[t]he Explanatory Notes and the rulings interpreting heading
8501, HTSUS, make it clear that electric motors equipped
with additional components, remain classifiable in this
heading, even if those other components are "quite
substantial". However, it is equally clear that heading
8501, HTSUS, does not encompass every assembly which
includes an electric motor. When confronted with an
assembly incorporating a motor which includes additional
components other than those listed in Explanatory Note
85.01, HTSUS, the rulings described above provide the
following guidelines--an electric motor is classifiable
under heading 8501, HTSUS, even when imported with
additional components (other than those listed in
Explanatory Note 85.01) if:
(1) those additional components complement the function of
the motor [HQ 083955];
(2) those additional components are devices which motors are
commonly equipped [HQ 087909];
(3) those additional components serve merely to transmit the
power the motors produce [HQ 950557].
It is our understanding that the function of the optical
encoder is to provide angular velocity and displacement
information. In this respect, the encoder complements the
function of the motor. Therefore, by the reasoning provided in
HQ 950834, the subject assembly is classifiable under heading
8501.10.40, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectric motors and
generators (excluding generating sets): [m]otors of an output not
exceeding 37.5 W: [o]f under 18.65 W: [o]ther."
It has been suggested that the assembly is classifiable
under subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUS, which provides for:
"[e]lectrical machines and apparatus, having individual
functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter;
parts thereof: [o]ther machines and apparatus: [o]ther." Because
the assembly is provided for under heading 8501, HTSUS, it is
precluded from classification under heading 8543, HTSUS.
The subject assembly is classifiable under subheading
8501.10.40, HTSUS. The general, column one rate of duty is 6.6
percent ad valorem.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division