Andrew P. Vance, Esq.
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
475 Park Avenue South, 25th Floor
New York, NY 10016

RE: Revocation of HQ 950334; Classification of steel winches from China

Dear Mr. Vance:

This letter is in reference to Headquarters Ruling Letter (“HQ”) 950334, issued to you on behalf of your client, Omni USA, Inc., Del Mar California (“Omni”) on January 24, 1992, concerning the tariff classification of flatbed trailer winches. In that ruling, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) classified the merchandise under subheading 8479.89.90, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”), as parts of machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in Chapter 84. We have reviewed HQ 950334 and found it to be in error. For the reasons set forth below, we hereby revoke HQ 950334.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. §1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI, notice proposing to revoke HQ 950334 was published on June 9, 2010, in Volume 44, Number 24, of the Customs Bulletin.  CBP received one comment in support of this notice.


The merchandise at issue is described as a winch, constructed from medium carbon steel plate with precision cast steel pawls and gears. This winch in particular is specifically designed to be mounted under the rim of a flatbed truck trailer for safe securing of cargo. Several of these devices are used together to manually pull tight nylon webbing straps or cable that secure the trailer load. They are manufactured to accommodate webbing straps up to four inches in width and may be used with webbing straps, cable, or a combination of the two. The winches themselves consist of hand-operated horizontal ratchet drums around which webbing and/or cable is wound.

ISSUE: Whether the winches are classified as winches under heading 8425, HTSUS, or under heading 8479, HTSUS, as other machines and appliances not specified elsewhere in Chapter 84?

LAW AND ANALYSIS: Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 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 GRI may then be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“ENs”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8479 Machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof:

Other machines and mechanical appliances: 8479.89 Other: Electromechanical appliances with self-contained electric motor:

8479.89.90 Other

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

8425 Pulley tackle and hoists other than skip hoists; winches and capstans; jacks: Pulley tackle and hoists other than skip hoists or hoists of a kind used for raising vehicles:

Winches; capstans: 8425.39.01 Other

The EN to Heading 8425, HTSUS, reads, in pertinent part:

This heading covers simple lifting or handling equipment.

* * * * * * * * *

This heading covers:…

Winches consist of handoperated or powerdriven horizontal ratchet drums around which the cable is wound. Capstans are similar, but the drum is vertical.

This group includes:   (1)   Marine winches and capstans for operating cargo lifting gear, raising anchor, manoeuvring the steering gear, hauling in tow lines, fishing nets, dredging cables, etc. The power unit is often built into those machines as an integral whole.   (2)   Winches for tractors, etc….

In HQ 950334, CBP found that heading 8425, HTSUS, listed winches, eo nomine, in its heading, but determined that as evidenced by heading 8425, HTSUS, and the ENs, winches of that heading must lift, haul, or tow. In particular, CBP stated, “the articles in issue here are cargo securing devices that perform a mere tightening or restraining function. They do not lift, haul or tow, nor are they material handling devices of any type. They act on nothing outside themselves.” As a result, CBP classified the merchandise under heading 8479, HTSUS, a basket provision encompassing machines, and parts thereof, that are not specified elsewhere in Chapter 84.

An eo nomine provision is one that describes a commodity by a specific name, usually one well known to commerce. The Pomeroy Collection v. United States, 559 F. Supp. 2d 1374; 30 Int'l Trade Rep. (BNA) 1712; 2008 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 60; SLIP OP. 2008-57; Clarendon Marketing, Inc. v. United States, 21 C.I.T. 59; 955 F. Supp. 1501; 19 Int’l Trade Rep. (BNA) 1142; 1997 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 22. In addition, “an eo nomine designation, with no terms of limitation, will ordinarily include all forms of the named article.” Carl Zeiss, Inc. v. United States, 195 F.3d 1375 (Fed. Cir. 1999); Pomeroy, 559 F. Supp. 2d 1374; Clarendon Marketing, 21 C.I.T. 59. Because the term “winches” is not defined in the tariff schedule, CBP turns to other sources to determine its meaning. See Lonza, Inc. v. United States, 46 F.3d 1098, 1106-07 (Fed. Cir. 1995).

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “winch” as “a hoisting or hauling apparatus consisting essentially of a horizontal drum round which a rope passes and a crank by which it is turned.” Webster’s College Dictionary defines a “winch” as “1. a crank with a handle for transmitting motion, as to a grindstone. 2. a machine for hoisting, lowering , or hauling, consisting of a drum or cylinder turned by a crank or motor; a rope or cable tied to the load is wound on the drum or cylinder.” The Web Sling & Tie Down Association, a trade group, defines a winch as “a tensioning device, which is mounted directly to a vehicle for tensioning synthetic web tie downs to secure cargo.” See http://www.wstda.com/ products/ wstda_winches_t-3.pdf.

The subject merchandise meets these definitions. Specifically, the winches consist of a horizontal drum around which a cable or webbing can be attached, and a crank by which it can be turned.

Furthermore, CBP does not agree that the ENs limit the scope of winches insofar as no limiting language is used. It is illustrative but not exhaustive. Airflow Technology v. United States, 524 F.3d 1287; 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 9165; 30 Int'l Trade Rep. (BNA) 1065; Archer Daniels Midland Co. v. United States, 561 F.3d 1308; 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 6390; 30 Int'l Trade Rep. (BNA) 2345; ENI Techn. V. United States, 641 F. Supp. 2d 1337; 2009 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 101; SLIP OP. 2009-93. See also EN 84.25 (II).

Lastly, CBP notes that heading 8479, HTSUS, is a catch-all provision, encompassing merchandise “not specified elsewhere” in Chapter 84, HTSUS. Because winches are classifiable eo nomine in heading 8425, HTSUS, classification in heading 8479, HTSUS, would be inappropriate. As a result, the winch is classified under heading 8425, HTSUS, as “winches.”


Under the authority of GRI 1, Omni’s winches are provided for in heading 8425, HTSUS. More specifically, they are classified under subheading 8425.39.01, HTSUS, as “Pulley tackle and hoists other than skip hoists; winches and capstans; jacks: Pulley tackle and hoists other than skip hoists or hoists of a kind used for raising vehicles: Winches; capstans: other.” The applicable duty rate is free.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the internet at www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.


HQ 950334, dated January 24, 1992, is REVOKED. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. §1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division