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HQ 083955

July 10, 1989

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 083955 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8501.40.4020, 8501.51.4020

Murray Sklaroff, Esq.
1507 Howell Road
Valley Stream, New York 11580-1328

RE: Clutch Motors and Needle Positioner Motors

Dear Sir:

In your letter of February 27, 1989, on behalf of your client Consolidated Sewing Machine Corp., Maspeth, New York, you ask that we reconsider a ruling on electric sewing machine motors. Our ruling follows.


Ruling letter 835179, dated January 20, 1989, from the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, concerned certain 1/3, 1/2, and 3/4 hp. electric motors used with industrial sewing machines. The ruling held 1-phase AC electric clutch motors and needle positioner motors, to be classifiable as other AC gear motors, single-phase, in subheading 8501.40.4020, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), and 3-phase AC electric clutch motors and needle positioner motors as other AC gear motors, multi-phase, in subheading 8501.51.4020, HTSUSA.

The clutch motor is designed for attachment to industrial type sewing machines and contains a clutch mechanism, braking mechanism, and a belt pulley to transmit power. These features permit the motor to continually run and stop and restart the operation of the sewing machine. You state the needle positioner motor provides motive power for industrial sewing machines, as well as instantaneous starting and stopping of these machines. Unlike the clutch motor, which
performs physical clutching and braking functions, the needle positioner motor performs its clutching and starting functions and its braking and stopping functions by means of a microprocessor utilizing electromagnetic waves. The needle positioner motor performs the additional functions of positioning the sewing machine needle, sending signals to sever the sewing thread, reversing direction, and permitting sewn objects to be removed from the machine.

Our New York office has cited relevant Explanatory Notes, which provide guidance as to the scope of the HTSUSA at the international level, for the proposition that electric motors remain classifiable in heading 8501 even when they are equipped with pulleys, with gears or gear boxes, or with a flexible shaft. However, you have submitted drawings which purport to show that the pulley is a feature of the clutch and brake components and is not attached to the motor section. You maintain that the presence of the braking and clutching components are additional functions which make the clutch motor and needle positioning motor "more than" single-phase and multi-phase AC electric motors for tariff purposes. You conclude that the proper classification is in subheading 8452.90.0090, HTSUSA, a provision for other parts of sewing machines.


Are the clutch motors and needle positioning motors classifiable as electric AC motors under the HTSUSA?


Your claim for classification in subheading 8452.90.0090, HTSUSA, is based on the tariff concept that where an article is in character or function either more limited or more diversified than that described by a specific statutory provision, and the difference is significant, the article cannot be classified in that provision. It is more than the article described. This tariff concept was developed in judicial decisions under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS). However, because the HTSUSA has replaced the TSUS as the official tariff code of this country, this tariff concept does not control classification in this case.

General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, HTSUSA, states, in part, that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any
relative section or chapter notes. Electric motors and generators are classifiable in heading 8501. Section XVI, Note 2(a), HTSUSA, 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.

The Explanatory Notes indicate that heading 8501 covers electric motors of all types. Motors remain classifiable in heading 8501 even when equipped with pulleys, with gears or gear boxes, or with a flexible shaft for operating hand tools. It therefore appears that electric motors imported with additional components which complement the function of a motor were intended to remain classifiable in heading 8501.


The clutch motors and needle positioning motors in question, which are 1-phase AC electric motors, are classifiable in subheading 8501.40.4020, HTSUSA, while those motors which are 3-phase AC electric motors are classifiable in subheading 8501.51.4020, HTSUSA. Ruling 835179, dated January 20, 1989, is affirmed.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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