OT:RR:CTF:TCM H259645 PTM
Tariff No: 8708.99.81
U.S. Customs & Border Protection
9400 Viscount Suite 104
El Paso, TX 79925
RE: Internal Advice Request, Tariff Classification of Fuel Rails with and without fuel injectors
Dear Port Director:
We are writing in response to your correspondence dated October 2, 2014, in which you request internal advice on behalf of Cooper Standard Automotive Inc. (‘Cooper”) concerning the tariff classification of fuel rails on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (“HTSUS”). Our response follows.
The product at issue are fuel rails. There are two types of fuel rails: fuel rails with integrated fuel injectors (part BR3E9FF797FA), and fuel rails without injectors (part 6M8G9D280CA). The function of the fuel rails with injectors is to regulate the introduction of fuel into the cylinders of an internal combustion engine of a motor vehicle. Cooper states that the fuel rails with injectors contain a solenoid valve that actuates with electrical signals from the engine control. When signaled, the fuel injectors open and spray pressurized fuel into the combustion chamber of the engine. The duration of time that the injector is open is known as the pulse width. The pulse width regulates the amount of fuel delivered to the engine. Cooper imports some fuel rails without injectors installed. The fuel rails without injectors facilitate the flow of fuel to the engine cylinders via the injectors, which must be installed after importation.
What is the tariff classification of fuel rails with integrated fuel injectors?
What is the tariff classification of fuel rails without injectors?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification 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 Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System represent the official interpretation of the tariff 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 at issue are as follows:
8481 Taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances, for pipes, boiler shells, tanks, vats or the like, including pressure-reducing valves and thermostatically controlled valves; parts thereof:
* * *
8708 Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705:
Note 2 to Section XVII, HTSUS, provides:
The expressions "parts" and "parts and accessories" do not apply to the following articles, whether or not they are identifiable as for the goods of this section:
* * *
(e) Machines or apparatus of headings 8401 to 8479, or parts thereof; articles of heading 8481 or 8482 or, provided they constitute integral parts of engines or motors, articles of heading 8483;
Note 3 to Section XVII, HTSUS, provides:
References in chapters 86 to 88 to "parts" or "accessories" do not apply to parts or accessories which are not suitable for use solely or principally with the articles of those chapters. A part or accessory which answers to a description in two or more of the headings of those chapters is to be classified under that heading which corresponds to the principal use of that part or accessory.
Regarding the scope of heading 8481, the EN to heading 84.81 provides:
This heading covers taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances, used on or in pipes, tanks, vats or the like to regulate the flow (for supply, discharge, etc.), of fluids (liquid, viscous or gaseous), or, in certain cases, of solids (e.g., sand). The heading includes such devices designed to regulate the pressure or the flow velocity of a liquid or a gas.
The appliances regulate the flow by opening or closing an aperture (e.g., gate, disc, ball, plug, needle or diaphragm). They may be operated by hand (by means of a key, wheel, press button, etc.), or by a motor, solenoid, clock movement, etc., or by an automatic device such as a spring, counterweight, float lever, thermostatic element or pressure capsule.
Taps, valves, etc., incorporating such mechanisms or devices remain classified in this heading. This applies, for example, to a valve equipped with a thermostatic element (double-leaf, capsule, bulb, etc.). The heading also covers valves, etc., connected to a thermostatic element by means of, for instance, a capillary tube.
* * *
Taps, valves, etc., remain classified here even if incorporating other accessory features (e.g., double walls for heating or cooling purposes; short lengths of tubing; short lengths of tube ending in a shower rose; small drinking fountain bowls; locking devices).
The EN to heading 87.08 provides:
This heading covers parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 87.01 to 87.05, provided the parts and accessories fulfil both the following conditions:
They must be identifiable as being suitable for use solely or principally with the above-mentioned vehicles; and
They must not be excluded by the provisions of the Notes to Section XVII (see the corresponding General Explanatory Note).
If the fuel rails and fuel rails with injectors are classifiable under heading 8481 HTSUS as a valve, then they are excluded from classification as a part of a motor vehicle in heading 8708 by virtue of Note 2(e) to Section XVII HTSUS. The General Note to Section XVII of the ENs further states that taps, cocks and valves of heading 84.81 are excluded from classification therein.
Concerning the fuel rails with integrated fuel injectors, we first examine whether they may be classified in heading 8481, HTSUS, by application of GRI 1. Heading 8481 provides eo nomine for “Taps, cocks, valves for…tanks… including pressure-reducing valves and thermostatically controlled valves.” Furthermore, the EN to heading 84.81 covers valves that regulate the flow of fluids (liquid, viscous or gaseous) by opening or closing an aperture. The fuel rails with fuel injectors consist of two primary components: the fuel rail, and the fuel injector. The purpose of the fuel rail is to transport gasoline to the fuel injector, while the injector introduces fuel to the combustion chamber of the engine. The fuel injector on the fuel rails regulates the amount of gasoline supplied to the engine at measured intervals. When signaled by engine control, the solenoid valve engages and sprays gasoline into the combustion chamber. The fuel injectors on their own are properly described as a valve within the meaning of heading 8481 as they regulate the flow of fuel introduced into the engine via a solenoid valve. However, the fuel rail with integrated fuel injectors also perform an integral function of transporting the fuel from the fuel tank to the fuel injector. The function of the fuel rail itself (delivering fuel from the gas tank to the engine), is not described by heading 8481because the rail itself does not regulate the pressure or flow of a liquid. Therefore, the fuel rail with integrated fuel injectors may not be classified under heading 8481 by application of GRI 1 because its function goes beyond that of a valve. We note that the EN to heading 84.81 provides that products remain classified therein even if they have accessory features, including short lengths of tubing. However, we find that the fuel rail’s length and function cannot be characterized as simple short length of tube.
Heading 8708 covers “[p]arts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705.” Cars and other motor vehicles are classified in chapter 87. See, e.g., New York Ruling (“NY”) R05070 (Nov. 8, 2006) (classifying various passenger automobiles in heading 8703 HTSUS). Thus, it is necessary to determine whether the fuel rails and fuel rails with integrated fuel injectors are “parts” of the motor vehicles. U.S. courts have considered the nature of "parts" under the HTSUS and two distinct though not inconsistent tests have resulted. In Bauerhin Technologies Limited Partnership, & John V. Carr & Son, Inc. v. United States, 110 F.3d 774, 779 (Fed. Cir. 1997) (citing United States v. Willoughby Camera Stores, Inc., 21 C.C.P.A. 322 (1933) and United States v. Pompeo, 43 C.C.P.A. 9 (1955)), the court explained:
As set forth in Willoughby Camera, “an integral, constituent, or component part, without which the article to which it is to be joined could not function as such article” is surely a part for classification purposes. 221 C.C.P.A. at 324. However that test is not exclusive. Willoughby Camera does not address the situation where an imported item is dedicated solely for use with the article. Pompeo addresses that scenario and states that such an item can also be classified as a part.
Reconciling Willoughby Camera with Pompeo, we conclude that where, as here, an imported item is dedicated solely for use with another article and is not a separate and distinct commercial entity, Pompeo is a closer precedent and Willoughby Camera does not apply […] Under Pompeo, an imported item dedicated solely for use with another article is a “part” of that article within the meaning of the HTSUS.
The purpose of the fuel rails and fuel rails with integrated fuel injectors is to deliver gasoline from the fuel tank to the combustion chamber in a motor vehicle engine. Both products are designed solely for use in motor vehicles. Moreover, because the fuel rails and fuel rails with fuel injectors are not described by heading 8481, they are not precluded from classification as a part by Note 2(e) to Section XVII, HTSUS. Therefore, we find that the fuel rail and fuel rail with integrated fuel injectors are properly classified in heading 8708 HTSUS as parts of a motor vehicle.
Prior CBP rulings classify fuel rails and similar products in heading 8708 HTSUS. For example, in New York Ruling (“NY”) N250428 (Feb. 25, 2014), CBP classified a fuel rail described as a steel cylindrical pipe designed to deliver fuel to injectors mounted on six ports along the fuel rail under heading 8708, HTSUS. In N039277 (Oct. 8, 2008), CBP classified a fuel feed tube in heading 8708, HTSUS.
By application of GRIs 1 and 6, the fuel rails and fuel rails with integrated fuel injectors are classified in heading 8708 HTSUS. Specifically, they are classified in subheading 8708.99.81 HTSUS, which provides for “Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705: Other: Other.” The column one, general rate of duty is 2.5 percent ad valorem.
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, Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to CPB personnel, and to the public on the CPB 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.
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 online at www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.
Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division