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HQ 954581

October 8, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 954581 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 8537.10.00

Mr. Claude Humeau
Crouzet Corporation
P.O. Box 870517
Dallas, TX 75287

RE: Oven Latch Assembly; Electric Motors; Parts of Ovens; Control Panel; headings 8501, 8516; ENs 85.01, 85.37; Section XVI, Note 2(a); HQs 086832, 088726, 952500, 950834

Dear Mr. Humeau:

This is in response to your letter dated June 30, 1993, requesting the tariff classification of an oven latch assembly under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). We are treating your letter as a request for a prospective ruling according to section 177.1 of the Customs Regulations [19 CFR 177.1].


The subject merchandise, an oven latch assembly, consists of a mounting bracket, an electric motor, a cam shaft, and two or three switches. The assembly is used to operate an oven during automatic cleaning by pyrolysis, when the grease and dirt are baked off the interior oven walls by intense heat. It is necessary to keep the oven door closed during such cleaning to prevent an explosion. When the motor is actuated, the cam rotates, pulling the rod of the latch, activating the oven's "on" switch, and turns the motor off. Inside the oven an independent timer turns the oven "off" after two hours. After the oven cools, a thermostat activates the electric motor to open the latch. Despite the fact that the merchandise is called a latch assembly, there is no latch attached to the item in its imported condition.


Whether the oven latch assembly is classifiable as a part of an oven or as an electric motor or as a control panel under the HTSUS?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Customs in Laredo, Texas, advised you that the merchandise should be classified as an electric motor under heading 8501, HTSUS. However, you contend that the oven latch assembly is provided for as parts of ovens under heading 8516, HTSUS. Section XVI, note 2 provides as follows:

Parts of machines (not being parts of the articles of heading No. 84.84, 85.44, 85.45, 85.46 or 85.47) are to be classified according to the following rules:

(a) Parts which are goods included in any of the headings of Chapter 84 and 85 (other than headings No. 84.85 and 85.48) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings;

(b) 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 No. 84.79 or 85.43) are to be classified with the machines of that kind. However, parts which are equally suitable for use principally with the goods of headings No. 85.17 and 85.25 to 85.28 are to be classified in heading 85.17;

(c) All other parts are to be classified in heading No. 84.85 or 85.48.

According to Section XVI, Note 2(a), if the latch assembly is specifically provided for in a heading within chapters 84 or 85, it must be classified in that heading.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the HTSUS. While not legally binding, 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. EN 85.01(I)(A), page 1334, states that "[m]otors remain classified here even when they are equipped with pulleys, with gears or gear boxes, or with a flexible shaft for operating hand tools."

Customs has consistently held that a motor remains a motor for tariff purposes despite having other articles attached. These other articles can be quite substantial. See HQ 088726 (May 29, 1991) and HQ 086832 (May 21, 1990). When confronted with an assembly incorporating a motor which includes additional components other than those listed in EN 85.01, Customs will follow the guidelines set forth in HQ 950834, dated March 6, 1992, in which we stated the following:

An electric motor is classifiable under heading 8501, HTSUS, even when imported with additional components (other than those listed in Explanatory Note 85.01) if:

(1) those additional components complement the function of the motor [HQ 083955];

(2) those additional components are devices which motors are commonly equipped [HQ 087909];

(3) those additional components serve merely to transmit the power the motors produce [HQ 950557].

Attached to the electric motor is a cam and two or three switches. While the cam may complement the function of the motor, we find that the addition of the switches are devices which are not commonly equipped on electric motors. The switches do not complement the function of the motor nor do they serve merely to transmit the power the motor produces. One of the switches is used to control the "clean" circuits. The second switch is used to control the "on/off" operation of the latch motor. Therefore, we find that the oven latch assembly is not provided for in heading 8501, HTSUS, as electrical motors.

While the oven latch assembly does contain a motor, its ultimate function is to operate the oven for purposes of cleaning. Heading 8537, HTSUS, provides for "[b]oards, panels (including numerical control panels), consoles, desks, cabinets and other bases, equipped with two or more apparatus of heading 8535 or 8536, for electric control or the distribution of electricity. . . ." EN 85.37, page 1391, provides as follows:

These consist of an assembly of apparatus of the kind referred to in the two preceding headings (e.g., switches and fuses) on a board, panel, console, etc., or mounted in a cabinet, desk, etc. They usually also incorporate meters, and sometimes also subsidiary apparatus such as transformers, valves, voltage regulators, rheostats or luminous circuit diagrams.

The goods of this heading vary from small switchboards with only a few switches, fuses, etc. (e.g., for lighting installations) to complex control panels for machine-tools, rolling mills, power stations, radio stations, etc., . . . .

Headings 8535 and 8536, HTSUS, provide for "[e]lectrical apparatus for switching or protecting electrical circuits, or for making connections to or in electrical circuits (for example, switches, fuses, lightning arresters, voltage limiters, surge suppressors, plugs, junction boxes). . . ." We find that the oven latch assembly is a control panel incorporating two or more apparatus of headings 8535 or 8536, HTSUS. The oven latch assembly controls the oven door latch during the oven's cleaning function. Therefore, the oven latch assembly is classifiable as a control panel under subheading 8537.10.00, HTSUS.

Customs does not dispute your contention that the oven latch assembly is a part of an oven. However, based upon the above analysis and Section XVI, Note 2(a), we find that classification under heading 8516, HTSUS, is inapplicable.


The oven latch assembly for ovens is classifiable under subheading 8537.10.00, HTSUS, which provides for "[b]oards, panels (including numerical control panels), consoles, desks, cabinets and other bases, equipped with two or more apparatus of heading 8535 or 8536, for electric control or the distribution of electricity. . .: [f]or a voltage not exceeding 1,000 V. . . ." The column one, general rate of duty is 5.3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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