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HQ 082932

March 27, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 082932 VEA


TARIFF NO.: 8708.99.30., 8708.39.50.

Ms. Beverly J. Nichols, Manager
Customs, Purchasing and Transportation
ITT Automotive Parts Supply Division
Distribution Center
8085 Production Avenue
Florence, Kentucky 41042-3046

RE: Classification of unfinished automotive brake rotors and drums imported from Canada

Dear Ms. Nichols:

This letter is in response to your request for reconsideration of a New York ruling dated July 15, 1988 (File # 830906), classifying brake drums and rotors.


The initial request for classification states that the merchandise at issue consists of two classes of unfinished automotive brake components, rotors and drums. The parts are imported from ITT's Canadian plant to its divisions in the U.S. The brake rotors are cast iron and are primarily used on the front wheels of vehicles. The three kinds of rotors include: an integral rotor, a disc rotor and a composite disc rotor. The integral rotor has its hub and rotor cast as one part. These parts also have bearing cups and wheel studs. The disc rotors do not have the hub as an integral part of the rotor. They are gray iron casting machined with out wheel studs or bearing cups. Some newer vehicles also utilize a composite disc rotor which has a steel stamping as the hat section of the rotor.

The second class of automotive brake components, brake drums, are also used on the rear of the vehicles and consist of fullcast or allcast brake drums. The fullcast or allcast drum is also made of cast iron and is principally used in light trucks. The composite brake drum has a steel welded plate molded into the finished drum. The outside braking surface of the drum is cast iron.

You submitted a request to classify this merchandise on June 24, 1988 to Customs' New York office. In a letter dated July 15, 1988 (File # 830906), New York ruled that the merchandise was classified under the provision for brake drums and rotors under subheading 8708.39.50 and dutiable at a rate of 3.1 percent ad valorem.

On October 5, 1988, you submitted a request for reconsideration of this ruling. This letter is in response to that request.


Whether unfinished allcast brake drums and rotors are properly classified under subheading 8708.39.50 and dutiable at a rate of 3.1 percent ad valorem, or subheading 8708.99.30 and subject to a free rate of duty.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) govern classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedules (HTS) There are six GRI's. GRI 1 provides, for legal purposes, classification should be determined according to the terms of the heading and any relative section or chapter notes. According to GRI 1, the primary consideration in classifying goods should be given to the language of the heading.

There is no dispute as to the applicable heading in this case. Both the importer and the New York office agree that the brake parts should be classified under heading 8708 providing for parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705. Since the issue in this case involves the proper subheading for classification, we look to GRI 6, which states that for legal purposes, the classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of the subheadings and any related subheading notes and on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable. Pursuant to GRI 6, as with GRI 1, the primary consideration in classifying goods should be given to the language of the subheading which must be read in conjunction with any relevant notes.

The competing subheadings at issue, or as in this case, the competing levels of indentation for the subheadings, provide:

8708 Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705:

Brakes and servo-brakes and parts thereof:

8708.39 Other:

Other parts and accessories:

8708.99 Other

Under GRI 6, subheading 8708.39 is the proper subheading for classification. The language of 8708.39 specifically lists brake drums and parts thereof, the merchandise at issue. The importer's argument that this merchandise should be classified in subheading 8708.99 is incorrect, since under GRI 3(a), a subheading in which the language provides the most specific description for the merchandise is the preferred subheading for classification and, in this case, is not superseded by a subheading in which the language of the subheading only provides for other parts of vehicles.

Although the drums and rotors are imported in an unfinished condition, this would not preclude classification under subheading 8708.39. GRI (2)(a) states that any reference in a subheading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as presented, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article.

Essential character is determined by looking at the nature of the material or component and its role in its unfinished state to its overall use. The rotors and drums in this case have the shape of the finished products, i.e. rotors and drums, but they must undergo a series of finishing processes before they can be used as finished products. These processes include machining (cutting the excess metal off so that the drum or rotor meets the buyer's individual specifications), grooving, painting and coating.

The fact that this merchandise cannot be used in its unfinished condition does not affect our decision to classify it under 8708.39. Under GRI 2 (a), incomplete or unfinished articles, which are not ready for direct use, but which have the approximate shape or outline of the finished article or part, and which can only be used for completion into the finished article, are classifed as the completed article. The unfinished brake drums and rotors in this case are imported in the shape of brake drums and rotors and need only be machined to tolerances. Thus, they have the essential character of the finished products when they are imported.


Allcast brake drums and rotors are properly classified in subheading 8708.39.50 and are dutiable at a rate of 3.1 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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