CLA-2 OT:RR:CTF:TCM H109839 ERB
Mr. Michael Larmoyeux
Crowell & Moring
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 2004-2595
RE: Reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter N101957; Tariff classification of an actuator
Dear Mr. Larmoyeux:
This is in response to your letter dated May 21, 2010, on behalf of your client, the Aisin Holdings of America, Inc. (Aisin), seeking reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) N101957, dated May 5, 2010. In NY N101957, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) classified an electric actuator subassembly for a vehicle back door system under heading 8501, of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as an electric motor.
CBP has considered Aisin’s request, including additional information provided to this office during a meeting held on July 16, 2015, as well as a supplemental submission dated August 5, 2015. For the reasons contained herein, NY N101957 is affirmed.
NY N101957 states the following, in relevant part:
The items concerned are actuator sub-assemblies for a power back door system, (part numbers 427114-10180 and 427114-10120). They consist of an electric motor, electromagnetic clutch, clutch magnet, clutch fly wheel, clutch plate, sensor and housing. In use these electric actuators would be attached to a series of gears, a rotating arm, an electronic control unit and a D-pillar. The function of these devices is to provide mechanical power to open and close the back doors of a vehicle. The electric motor used in these actuators is a brushless, single-phase, DC motor that generates 384 Watts.You suggest that these devices would be correctly classified as other lifting, handling, loading or unloading machinery: other machinery: other in subheading 8428.90.0190 Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). This is not correct as the devices concerned do not actually lift or handle a separate object; they are merely a part of a device which does so. Parts of machines are not classifiable in heading 8428 HTS and motors/actuators are more specifically provided for in chapter 85 of the HTSUS.
The applicable subheading for the actuator sub-assemblies for a power back door system, (part numbers 427114-10180 and 427114-10120) will be 8501.31.4000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for "Electric motors…: Other DC motors…: Of an output not exceeding 750W: Motors: Exceeding 74.6 W but not exceeding 735 W." The rate of duty will be 4%.
In its request for reconsideration, Aisin argues that the actuators are properly classified in heading 8431, HTSUS, as a part of lifting machinery of heading 8428, HTSUS.
Whether an actuator which is a part of a motor vehicle back door lifting apparatus, is classified as a part of that lifting apparatus, in heading 8428, HTSUS, or whether the actuator is classified eo nomine as a motor, of heading 8501, HTSUS.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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 GRIs 2 through 6 may then be applied in order.
The HTSUS provisions under consideration in this case are as follows:
8431 Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of heading 8425 to 8430:
Of machinery of heading 8428:
8431.31.0060 Of passenger or freight elevators other than continuous action, skip hoists or escalators
8501 Electric motors and generators (excluding generating sets):
Relevant here, is heading 8428, HTSUS, which provides for, “Other lifting, handling, loading or unloading machinery (for example, elevators, escalators, conveyors, teleferics)”.
Note 2 to Section XVI, covers chapters 84 and 85 provides as follows, in its entirety:
Subject to note 1 to this section, note 1 to chapter 84 and to note 1 to chapter 85, parts of machines (not being parts of the articles of heading 8484, 8544, 8545, 8546 or 8547) are to be classified according to the following rules:
Parts which are goods included in any of the headings of chapter 84 or 85 (other than headings 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8487, 8503, 8522, 8529, 8538 and 8548) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings;
Other parts, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine, or with a number of machines of the same heading (including a machine of heading 8479 or 8543) are to be classified with the machines of that kind or in heading 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8503, 8522, 8529 or 8538 as appropriate. However, parts which are equally suitable for use principally with the goods of headings 8517 and 8525 to 8528 are to be classified in heading 8517;
All other parts are to be classified in heading 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8503, 8522, 8529 or 8538 as appropriate or, failing that, in heading 8487 or 8548.
In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Explanatory Notes (ENs) of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which constitute the official interpretation of the HTSUS at the international level, may be utilized. The ENs, although not dispositive or legally binding, provides a commentary on the scope of each heading, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127 (August 23, 1989).
The EN to Section XVI, which covers chapters 84 and 85, subsection (II) Parts, provides the following, in relevant part:
In general, parts which are suitable for use solely or principally with particular machines or apparatus (including those of heading 84.79 or heading 85.43), or with a group of machines or apparatus falling in the same heading, are classified in the same heading as those machines or apparatus subject, of course, to the exclusions mentioned in Part (I) above. Separate headings are, however, provided for:
(A) Parts of the engines of heading 84.07 or 84.08 (heading 84.09).
(B) Parts of the machinery of headings 84.25 to 84.30 (heading 84.31).
(C) Parts of the textile machines of headings 84.44 to 84.47 (heading 84.48).
(D) Parts of the machines of headings 84.56 to 84.65 (heading 84.66).
(E) Parts of the office machines of headings 84.69 to 84.72 (heading 84.73).
(F) Parts of the machines of heading 85.01 or 85.02 (heading 85.03).
(G) Parts of apparatus of headings 85.19 or 85.21 (heading 85.22).
(H) Parts of apparatus of headings 85.25 to 85.28 (heading 85.29).
(IJ) Parts of apparatus of heading 85.35, 85.36 or 85.37 (heading 85.38).
The above rules do not apply to parts which in themselves constitute an article covered by a heading of this Section (other than headings 84.87 and 85.48); these are in all cases classified in their own appropriate heading even if specially designed to work as part of a specific machine. This applies in particular to:
(8) Electric motors of heading 85.01.
The EN 85.01 states the following, in relevant part:
Electric motors are machines for transforming electrical energy into mechanical power. This group includes rotary motors and linear motors.
Rotary Motors produce mechanical power in the form of a rotary motion. They are of many types and sizes according to whether they operate on DC or AC, and according to the use or purpose for which they are designed. The motor housing may be adapted to the circumstances in which the motor will operate (e.g. dust proof, drip proof or flame proof motors; non-rigid mountings for belt driven motors, or for motors which will be subject to much vibration.)
Motors 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 a rudder.
Customs has consistently classified motors imported with certain additional components under heading 8501, HTSUS, as electric motors. As this office stated in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) H044560, dated September 18, 2009, “[t]he question of whether an electric motor consisting of additional components remains classifiable as a motor under heading 8501, HTSUS, is well settled.”
In HQ 086832, dated May 21, 1990, Customs stated, “a motor remains a motor for tariff purposes despite having other articles attached to it,” and further, “[t]hese other articles can be quite substantial.” See also PD A83602, dated June 1, 1996. Likewise, in HQ 955037, dated February 14, 1994, concerning the classification of electric actuators/motors, Customs explained that an electric motor is classifiable under heading 8501, HTSUS, even when imported with additional components (other than those listed in Explanatory Notes 85.01) if:
(1) those additional components complement the function of the motor [HQ 083955];(2) those additional components are devices [with] which motors are commonly equipped [HQ 087909];(3) those additional components serve merely to transmit the power the motors produce [HQ 950557].
The instant merchandise consists of the motor, as well as various components of the clutch (magnet, flywheel, and a plate), a sensor, and the housing. The motor in question converts electrical energy into mechanical energy, by utilizing the sensor and subsequently manipulating the clutch components. The clutch components meet the criteria addressed in the above noted rulings as permissible additional components to a motor, because a clutch complements the function of motors, clutches are commonly attached to motors, and they transmit power the motor creates. Clutches control power generated by the motor and transfer that power, causing or pausing momentum. See also HQ 955037, supra, which classified two models of motorized linear actuators imported with a sensor device to control movement of the jack mechanism, in heading 8501, HTSUS.
Similarly, in HQ 086832, supra CBP classified a motor used with automatic data processing machines (ADP) in heading 8501, HTSUS. The spindle motor served as the platform for mounting memory discs which stored data in hard drives. We noted in HQ 086832 that although spindle motors are designed for use with ADPs, they are specifically provided for in heading 8501, HTSUS. And see HQ 952500, dated October 16, 1992. (Which addressed whether the addition of an “optical encoder” removed an electric motor from heading 8501, HTSUS).
In Nidec Corporation v. United States, 861 F. Supp. 136, (Ct. Int’l Trade 1994), aff'd. 68 F. 3d 1333 (Fed. Cir. 1995), the CIT classified an actuator used in an ADP as an “motor” of heading 8501, denying arguments that the presence of additional components made the goods something more than an electric motor. There the Court found that "the essence of the goods was still that of a motor, not of a spindle," thus precluding classification as something more than an electric motor. Nidec at 143. This position was reinforced in Belimo Automation A.G. v. United States, 774 F. 3d 1362 (Fed. Cir. 2014), where the Federal Circuit affirmed the CIT’s underlying ruling where the CIT stated, “[h]eading 8501 is an eo nomine provision, meaning that it includes “all forms” of ‘electric motors’, even those equipped with additional components, absent limiting language or contrary legislative intent.” Belimo Automation A.G. v. United States, 35 Int’l Trade Rep. (BNA) 2319, Slip Op 13-144 * 14 (Ct. Int’l Trade Nov. 26, 2014). The CIT noted that certainly the additional components contributed to expanded functionalities beyond those of a basic electric motor. “However, these functions are complementary to the functions of the electric motor such that even with the [additional components] the subject imports serve the same principal function;” that of an electric motor. Id at *27. This analysis is directly applicable to the instant merchandise, which includes clutch components that enhance the functionality of the motor, as well as transmit power from it, but do not remove the merchandise from classification as a motor.
Court cases and CBP rulings are clear and consistent that when motors or parts of motors are imported with additional components, and those additional components enhance the functionality of the motor, they are not necessarily removed from the scope of heading 8501, HTSUS, as an electric motor. This is supported by the language of the EN 85.01, which lists by name some examples of acceptable additional components such as fans, pulleys, gears, gear boxes, magnetic circuits, flexible shafts, drive shafts, stators, rotors, electric starters, transformers, and hand-wheels. These additional components do not remove a product from the scope of heading 8501, HTSUS. See EN 85.01 (I) Electric Motors, section (A) Rotary motors and section (B) Linear motors, and subsection (B) (1) – (3).
As noted, Aisin argues that the subject merchandise is a “part” of a lifting device of heading 8428, HTSUS, and thus is properly classified in the corresponding parts provision of heading 8431, HTSUS. Aisin points to NY N160936, dated May 2, 2011, to support this argument. However, the goods under consideration in NY N160936 included the gears and crank arm as well as the level and base assemblies which physically performed the lifting function on the trunk of a motor vehicle. The instant motor is not imported with such an assembly. The subject motor does not perform the actual lifting function, rather, it provides the power that turns gears that connect to the mechanism that actually raises or lowers the vehicle’s trunk. The analysis in NY N160936 is therefore inapposite to the instant situation.
Further, the Court in Nidec Corporation, supra pointed out “parts which in themselves constitute an article covered by a heading of this Section…are in all cases classified in their own heading even if specifically designed to work as a part of a specific machine.” Nidec Corporation at 141. The Court added that the “ENs [to Section XVI] also provide that ‘it applies in particular to ….electric motors’.” Nidec Corporation at 142.
The Courts have elaborated many times on the parts provisions of the tariff, but it bears repeating here. In Bauerhin Technologies Limited v. United States, 19 CIT 1441, 914 F.Supp. 554 (1995), aff’d 110 F.3d 774 (Fed. Cir. 1997), the Court pointed out that there are two distinct lines of cases defining the word “part” in the tariff. Starting with U.S. v. Willoughby Camera Stores, Inc. 21 CCPA 322, 324 (1933), T.D. 46075 (1933), cert. denied, 292 U.S. 640 (1934), this line of cases holds that a part of an article “is something necessary to the completion of that article without which the article to which it is to be joined, could not function as such article.” Another line of cases evolved from United States v. Pompeo, 43 CCPA 9, C.D. 1669 (1955), which held that a device may be a part of an article even though its use is optional and the article will function without it, if the device is dedicated for use upon the article, and, once installed the article will not operate without it. The definition of “parts” was also discussed in Rollerblade, Inc. v. United States, 116 F. Supp. 2d 1247 (CIT 2000), aff’d 282 F.3d 1349 (CAFC 2002). There, the Federal Circuit defined parts as “an essential element or constituent; integral portion which can be separated, replaced, etc.” Id at 1353 (citing Webster’s New World Dictionary 984 (3d College Ed. 1988)). The Court also noted that a “part” must bear a direct relationship to the primary article. The subject motor/clutch combination, though housed in plastic configured for assembly in Aisin’s back door lifting device, is not itself so specialized that it satisfies the various tests for classification as a “part.” A motor even combined with a clutch, can power any device. Further, it is provided for eo nomine as a motor of heading 8501, HTSUS, and all relevant Court cases and prior Customs rulings direct that motors described like the subject motors remain classified as a motor, and not under the more general provision for “parts”.
As the subject motors are not parts of lifting machinery, Note 2 to Section XVI is inapplicable. However, to ensure a fulsome ruling, we will address Aisin’s argument regarding the application of that Legal Note. This assumes, arguendo that the subject motors are considered parts of lifting machinery of heading 8428, HTSUS, and have satisfied the above noted tests for “parts”. However, even under this rubric, the subject motors are still classified in heading 8501, HTSUS, as motors.
In its argument to the contrary, Aisin quotes the following statement made by the CIT in ENI Technology, Inc. v. United States, 641 F. Supp. 2d 1337 (Ct. Int’l Trade 2009), regarding Note 2 to Section XVI which provides:
Note 2(b) establishes that parts are to be classified with the goods with which they are principally used unless such parts have a particular or respective heading as specified by Note 2(a), except for the headings listed in the parentheses in Note 2(a) which are themselves “parts” provisions. These “parts” headings are specifically excluded from the scope of Note 2(a) by the force of the “other than” provision in the parentheses, and thus these parts are not “to be classified in their respective headings,” but rather are to be classified in accordance with 2(b), “with the machines of that kind or heading”.
Id at 1350. Specifically, Aisin argues that Note 2 to Section XVI “requires” that the subject merchandise be classified in heading 8431, HTSUS. But if this office were to interpret the Court’s above statement in the manner in which Aisin argues, it would be contrary to the Court’s own holding in ENI Technology, Inc. v. United States, supra, because, notwithstanding the above quoted dicta, the Court later relied on the EN to Section XVI Note 2, to arrive at its conclusion. The EN to Section XVI, Note 2 states:
In general, parts which are suitable for use solely or principally with particular machines or apparatus (including those of heading 84.79 or 85.43), or with a group of machines or apparatus falling in the same heading, are classified in the same heading as those machines or apparatus…The above rules do not apply to part which in themselves constitute an article covered by a heading of this Section…; these are in all cases classified in their own appropriate heading even if specially designed to work as part of a specific machine. [Emphasis added]
The ENs quoted above by the ENI Court, as well as the legal text of the Note itself, support CBP’s position here. Note 2(a) does not operate to “force” products of the parenthetically enumerated headings to be classified alongside their respective machines. Rather, Note 2 (a) directs that where an imported good is described eo nomine in a heading of chapter 84 or 85, then “in all cases” it is to be classified in that heading, even if that imported good is also a part of a machine of chapters 84 or 85. The parenthetically enumerated headings are all parts provisions. Therefore, these headings are reserved only for parts which are not provided for eo nomine elsewhere in Section XVI. Goods which are provided for eo nomine elsewhere in Section XVI are not classified therein.
If classification cannot be determined pursuant to Note 2(a), then Note 2 (b) directs that if a part is used solely or principally with a particular kind of machine, then it is classified alongside that machine, or in the relevant parts provisions which are listed (e.g. 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8503, 8522, 9529 or 8538). This makes it clear that if an article is a part of a specific machine, then it should be classified as such. But if the article is a part of one of the parenthetically enumerated machines listed in Note 2(b), then it is classified there.
Motors are a good example of how this works in practice. Motors, are in nearly all cases a component of some larger machine or device. However, motors are also provided for eo nomine in heading 8501, HTSUS. Therefore, if a motor is found to satisfy the various tests for “parts” for tariff classification purposes (meaning, Note 2 to Section XVI is applicable in the first place), and it is a part of a machine listed in the parenthesis, then pursuant to Note 2(a), it will still be classified in heading 8501, HTSUS, and not in one of the parenthetically enumerated parts provisions. This analysis is consistent with previous CBP rulings. See HQ 083955, supra, where Customs said:
Electric motors and generators are classifiable in heading 8501. Section XVI, Note 2(a), HTSUSA (Annotated), 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. Whether or not the clutch motors and needle positioning motors are parts of industrial sewing machines, GRI 1 requires that they be classified in heading 8501, provided they remain electric motors.
See also, HQ 087909, supra, where Customs said, “Section XVI Note 2(a) provides that parts of machines which are included in a heading of Chapters 84 or 85 are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings. The articles under consideration are described by and included in Heading 8501, HTSUS. Notwithstanding the fact that they may be parts of thermal printers, they are classified pursuant to Section XVI Note 2(a) as electric motors in 8501.10.40, HTSUS”; and see HQ 955037, HQ 950557, and HQ H044560.
Therefore, by application of GRI 1, the subject merchandise is classified in heading 8501, HTSUS. It is specifically provided for under subheading 8501.31.4000, HTSUSA (Annotated), which provides for, “Electric motors and generators (excluding generating sets): Other DC motors; DC generators: Of an output not exceeding 750 W: Motors: Exceeding 74.6 W but not exceeding 735 W.” The column one, general rate of duty is 4% ad valorem.
Duty rates are provided for your convenience and subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided at www.usitc.gov
NY N101957, dated May 5, 2010 is hereby AFFIRMED.
Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division