CLA-2:OT:RR:CTF:EMAIN H290373 EKR

Mr. Matt Moore
General Counsel
Quality Bicycle Products, Inc.
6400 West 105th Street
Bloomington, MN 55438

Re: Request for Reconsideration of NY N288058; Classification of Bicycle Axle Parts

Dear Mr. Moore:

This letter is in reference to a request for reconsideration ("Reconsideration Request") submitted by you on behalf of Qualify Bicycle Products, Inc. ("QBP"), dated September 6, 2017, concerning New York Ruling Letter (NY) N288058 issued July 24, 2017. That ruling concerned the classification of six models of bicycle thru axles under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ("HTSUS"). All six thru axles are used to affix a bicycle hub and wheel assembly to the frame or fork of the bicycle. The ruling classified the merchandise under subheading 8714.99.8000, HTSUS, which provides for "Parts and accessories of vehicles of headings 8711 to 871: Other: Other: Other."

We have determined that NY N288058 is correct, and, for the reasons set forth below, are affirming that ruling.

The six thru axles considered in NY N288058 are identified as follows:

(1) FK8909 - Maxle Lite Front Thru Axle 15 x 150, 198mm Length (2) FK3950 - Maxle Stealth Front Thru Axle 12 x 100, 125mm Length, Road (3) FK4636 - DVO Diamond Boost 110 x 15mm Thru Axle (Black/Green) (4) HU5005 - Surly 15 x 150 Front Thru Axle (5) QR1934 - DT Swiss RWS 12 x 142mm Rear Thru Axle with a Flat Washer (6) FS1016 - Maxle Lite Rear Thru Axle 12 x 150 182mm Length.

There is no dispute as to the appropriate heading for the subject thru axles; both CBP and QBP agree that the thru axles are properly classified in heading 8714, HTSUS. In NY N288058, CBP classified the thru axles in subheading 8714.99, HTSUS. CBP asserted that the subject thru axles are unlike the parts of frames and forks included in the Explanatory Notes ("ENs") to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System for heading 84.17. Instead, CBP noted that the thru axles are used to hold the hollow hub, which is part of the bicycle wheel.

QBP asserts that the thru axles are parts of both the frame and the fork of the bicycle, and should be classified in subheading 8714.91, HTSUS. QBP asserts that the design of bicycle frames and forks has evolved to include thru axles, and that frames and forks are imported with corresponding thru axles that are "integrated into the very design of the particular frame or fork." (Reconsideration Request, p. 2). QBP argues that CBP has misinterpreted EN 87.14 by relying too heavily on the parts of frames and forks listed therein. QBP notes that the EN does not provide an exhaustive list of the parts of frames and forks, and that thru axle technology is too new to be specifically listed in the EN. QBP asserts that, although EN 87.14 does not list thru axles as parts of frames or forks, the "common and commercial meaning of bicycle 'frames and forks, and parts thereof' now includes bicycles thru axles." (Reconsideration Request, p. 3, emphasis original). Lastly, QBP argues that CBP erred in referencing the axles' relationship to hubs, classified under 8714.93, because the hubs compatible with thru axles contain their own axles, along with bearings to support the hub shell and allow the hub to rotate about the axle. Such hubs "are therefore complete in themselves, and are designed to directly mount to a fork or frame using the thru axle designed for, and sold with, that specific frame or fork." (Reconsideration Request, p. 3). QBP notes that this design is different from the hubs compatible with a "lever-operated quick release mechanism," classified in 8714.93.0500.

As an initial matter, CBP notes that the thru axles under consideration all operate in the same fashion, though their specifications differ. The thru axles are used to affix a hub and wheel assembly to the frame or fork of the bicycle. To accommodate a thru axle, the frame or fork of the bicycle must have round openings through which the thru axle can be threaded and tightened. Thru axles are cylindrical, thicker than traditional quick-release skewers, and threaded on one end. To attach a hub to the frame or fork, the thru axle is threaded through one side of the frame or fork, through the hub, and then through the far side of the frame or fork, where the threaded end of the thru axle can be tightened onto the second opening of the frame or fork. The thru axle must be completely removed from the frame or fork to remove the wheel assembly.

This design differs from the design of frames or forks accommodating a quick release skewer, which have "dropouts" or open slots at the tips of the frame or fork. The quick release skewer is tightened onto the dropouts to attach the wheel. Because the dropouts are open on one end, the wheel can be attached and removed without removing the quick release skewer from the wheel assembly.

In considering appropriate classification in heading 8714, HTSUS, CBP has stated that an "axle set and quick release bolt" are "other" parts of bicycles classified in subheading 8714.99. (Headquarters Ruling ("HQ") 089872, January 27, 1992). In New York ("NY") Ruling R02469, dated September 8, 2005, CBP determined that a bicycle skewer, consisting of a shaft that runs through the center of a hollow axle and a quick-release lever and measuring 9mm in diameter 6 inches in length, was likewise classified in subheading 8714.99. Like the "quick release bolt" and "bicycle skewer" considered in these rulings, the instant thru axles are used to attach the hub and wheel assembly to the frame or fork of the bicycle, and should be classified in like manner (i.e. they are not provided for under the legal text of subheading 8714.91 as parts of frames and forks).

This reading of the HTSUS is supported by EN 87.14, wherein none of the articles listed as exemplars of parts of forks are similar to a thru axle. The EN lists "[f]orks, including telescopic forks, and parts thereof (fork crowns and blades, etc.)." Though QBP correctly asserts that "fork crowns and blades, etc." does not comprise an exhaustive list of the parts of frames and forks, the instant thru axles are not akin to these listed parts. Furthermore, we note that other sections of the EN specifically list axles that comprise parts of the listed article. For example, axles are specifically listed as parts of crank-gear and pedals, but are not listed as parts of forks.

Therefore, the above thru axles are properly classified as other parts of bicycles in subheading 8714.99.80, HTSUS, which provides for "Parts and accessories of vehicles of headings 8711 to 871: Other: Other: Other." This request for reconsideration is denied, and NY N288058 is affirmed.

Sincerely,

Craig T. Clark, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division


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