CLA-2 RR:CR GC 966412 RSD
TARIFF NO. 7318.15.80
Customs and Border Protection
6747 Engle RoadMiddleburg Heights, Ohio 44130
RE: Internal Advice 03/004; Oil Bolts for Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles
Dear Port Director:
This is in response to your memorandum dated March 5, 2003, (APP-6-CL:PD:FO:TEB PPD) forwarding the Internal Advice request of Honda Mfg., Inc. (HAM) dated October 2, 2002, concerning the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of oil bolts that are used in motor vehicles and motorcycles. Counsel representing HAM submitted this request to you under the authority of Section 177.11(b)(2), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177(b)(2)). This request relates to a transaction currently pending in your office for which no ruling has been issued, and also relates to a request of Proposed Notices of Action that your office issued in March 2002.
Your office requested additional information regarding the applicability of Presidential Proclamation 7529 ITC Steel 201 Remedy to HAM’s importations under heading 7307, HTSUS. After review, your office concluded that the articles were not classified under heading 7307, HTSUS, and, therefore, were not subject to the Presidential Proclamation. However, HAM did not agree with your revised determination that the oil bolts should be classified in subheading 7318.15.80, HTSUS. Samples of the oil bolts were submitted for our consideration.
The parts at issue are described as a form of “oil bolts” used in automotive or motorcycle hydraulic brake, transmission, or clutch lines. These parts are internally identified by HAM based on a Honda-specific part numbering system as Part Numbers: 25950PL4 0000, 25950PL5 0000, 25950PX4 0000, 25950P7T 0000, 25950689 90000, 25951639 0000, 4646ASE0 0000, 46462SE0 0000 and 90145MS9 6100M1.
The oil bolts are commonly known in the industry as “banjo bolts.” They are designed to permit the anchoring of brake, transmission, or clutch lines, while also providing for unimpeded passage of fluid into and through those same lines. The shank of each of the fasteners is hollow and has a reduced diameter. The fasteners have hex washer heads and are attached by screwing the threaded shank through the banjo fitting and affixing it to the brake, transmission or clutch system. Fed by an attached hose, the fluid passes through one or more holes drilled horizontally beneath the head of the fastener through corresponding holes in the banjo fitting and then into the brake/transmission/clutch system. All of the fasteners have shanks or threads with a diameter of 6mm or more and are manufactured to Honda-specified engineering criteria for use in their specific applications.
The fasteners are used to make the hose and line connections flexible while providing the stability necessary for the safe and effective operation of these systems and, ultimately, of the underlying automobile/motorcycle. Honda points out that if the fasteners were not fixed rigidly in place, the hose attached to the master cylinder would pull, which would place strain on the connection. Therefore, unlike the fasteners, a fixed joint would eventually tear or loosen which could cause the underlying systems to become less effective and possibly fail. Accordingly, the fasteners have been specially designed to allow the passage of fluids necessary for the brake/transmission/clutch system to operate. Without the specially designed fasteners, the automobiles or motorcycles would not be able to brake or change gears.
Whether the described articles are classifiable as other screws and bolts under heading 7318 HTSUS, as parts of motor vehicles under heading 8708, HTSUS, or as motorcycle parts under heading 8714, HTSUS.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI I 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 may then be applied.
The Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN’s) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the Explanatory Notes 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 Explanatory Notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 8980, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).
HAM believes that the oil bolts used in automobiles should be classified at HTSUS heading 8708 (as “Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705”) and that the oil bolts used in motorcycles should be classified in heading 8714, HTSUS (as “Parts and accessories of vehicles 8711 to 8713”).
In general, identifiable parts of articles are classified as such in their appropriate headings in the Nomenclature. However, parts of general use presented separately are not considered as parts of articles, but are classified in the headings of the appropriate section. This would apply, for example, in the case of bolts specialized for central heating radiators or springs specialized for motor cars. The bolts would be classified in heading 7318 (as bolts) and not in heading 7322 (as parts of central heating radiators). The springs would be classified in heading 7320 (as springs) and not in heading 8708 (as parts of motor vehicles). See Headquarters Ruling Letter 960873 dated October 30, 1998.
Headings 8708 and 8714 fall within Section XVII of the HTSUS. Section XVII, Note 2(b) provides that the expressions “parts” and “parts and accessories” do not apply to the following articles, …” (b) Parts of general use as defined in note 2 to section XV. Under Section XV, Note 2(a) “parts of general use” includes articles of heading 7318.
Explanatory Note A in heading 7318 states that bolts and nuts are used to assemble or fasten goods so that they can readily be disassembled without damage.
In its internal advice request, HAM indicated that the “banjo bolts” are designed to permit the anchoring of brake, transmission or clutch lines, while also providing for the unimpeded passage of fluid into and through those same lines. Although these fasteners do have a specialized feature in that they are hollow to enable the unimpeded passage of fluids, their primary function is to fasten or anchor the tubes hoses, or lines to the component to which they are being assembled. Accordingly, we believe that the primary purpose of the oil bolts is to fasten articles.
Therefore, the oil bolts would fall under the heading 7318 of the HTSUS and, by virtue of the Section XVII, Note 2(b), are precluded from being classified as parts of motor vehicles and motorcycles under headings 8708 and 8714 HTSUS.
HAM cites two rulings, HRL 086396, dated April 27, 1990, and NY 856710, dated October 10, 1990, in which fastener-like components used as headlamp adjusting screws in automobiles were held to be classified under heading 8708. However, these rulings are distinguishable from the present case because the articles in the cited rulings were primarily used to make adjustments rather than to fasten articles.
With respect to the oil bolts for motorcycles, HAM cites a number of New York rulings: NY 803550, dated November 21, 1994, concerning the classification of a chain and sprocket kit from Italy; NY G88285 dated March 15, 2001, concerning the classification of a front docking kit highway peg kit and right hand tool box kit; NY F85829 dated April 14, 2000, concerning the classification of a chromed steel shift linkage for motorcycles;
NY G81158 dated August 28, 2000, concerning the classification of a motorcycle loobman to provide a lubrication source for the chain and NY E86746 dated September 14, 1999, concerning the classification of a passing light bracket that acted as a mounting unit for spotlights on a motorcycle. All of the items in the cited rulings were classified in subheading 8714.19.00, HTSUS, as parts and accessories of motorcycles. However, these articles are distinguishable from the fasteners in this case because most consisted of kits containing multiple components specifically for motorcycles, but more importantly, they performed no fastening function characteristic of articles of heading 7318.
We find that whether for use with motor vehicles or motorcycles, the subject “banjo bolts” are designed to be torqued by the head into tapped or preformed holes to perform their primary intended service of fastening or anchoring a banjo fitting to brake, transmission or clutch lines. They function in the manner of screws provided for in heading 7318, HTSUS. The oil bolts for motor vehicles and motorcycles are classifiable under subheading 7318.15.80, HTSUS as other screws of iron or steel.
See NY 816282, dated November 9, 1995, on substantially similar articles.
Oil bolts for use in motor vehicles and motorcycles are classifiable in subheading 7318.15.80, HTSUS, as other screws of iron or steel.
This decision should be mailed by your office to the party requesting internal advice no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.cbp.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.
Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division