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HQ 955504

September 27, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 955504 RFA


TARIFF NO.: 8505.20.00

Regional Commissioner of Customs c/o Protest and Control Section
6 World Trade Center, Room 762
New York, NY 10048-0945

RE: Protest No. 1001-93-101532; Power take-off (PTO) clutch/ brake; parts for tractors suitable for agricultural use; composite machine; principal function; section XVI, legal note 3; section XVII, legal note 2(f); heading 8708

Dear Regional Commissioner:

The following is our decision regarding the request for further review of Protest No. 1001-93-101532, which concerns the classification of power take-off clutch/brakes under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The subject entry was liquidated on December 28, 1992. The protest was timely filed on March 18, 1993.


The subject merchandise, labeled as the Ogura electro-magnetic power take-off ["PTO"] clutch and mechanical brake [hereinafter "PTO clutch/brake"] participates in the rotation of a PTO tractor blade. When power is applied to the PTO clutch/ brake, an electromagnetic field causes the unit to function as a clutch by pulling the unit's armature until it engages the pulley, thereby facilitating the turning of the blade. The creation of the electromagnetic field draws back the spring-actuated brake. When power to the PTO clutch/brake is terminated, the electromagnetic field disappears and the spring-actuated brake halts the blade's rotation by pulling the armature against the brake shroud, thereby stopping the output pulley. Even though the blade has stopped, the PTO tractor engine continues to run.

The merchandise was entered under subheading 8708.99.10, HTSUS, as parts of tractors suitable for agricultural use. The entry was liquidated under subheading 8505.20.00, HTSUS, as electromagnetic clutches and brakes.

Classification of the merchandise under subheading 8708.93.10, HTSUS, as clutches and parts for tractors suitable for agricultural use, is also under consideration.

The following subheadings are under consideration:

8505.20.00: . . . ; electromagnetic couplings, clutches and brakes; . . . : [e]lectromagnetic couplings, clutches and brakes. . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 3.9 percent ad valorem.

8708 Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705: [o]ther parts and accessories:

8708.93.10 Clutches and parts thereof: [f]or tractors suitable for agricultural use. . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of free.

8708.99.10 Other: [p]arts of tractors suitable for agricultural use. . . .

Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of free.


Is the PTO clutch/brake classifiable as a composite machine, and if so, what is its principal function under the HTSUS?


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

The protestant states that the merchandise consists of an electromagnetic clutch and a mechanical brake. According to the information provided, the brake portion operates or engages based upon the absence of an electromagnetic field. Because the brake operates as a result of an electromagnetic phenomena, Customs finds that it is an electromagnetic brake.

The subject merchandise consists of a clutch and a brake fitted together to form a whole, which performs alternative functions of engaging and disengaging a tractor blade through the turning on and off of an electromagnetic field. Section XVI, Legal Note 3, HTSUS, reads as follows:

Unless the context requires otherwise, composite machines consisting of two or more machines fitted together to form a whole and other machines adapted for the purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative functions are to be classified as if consisting only of that component or as being that machine which performs the principal function.

Based upon Section XVI, Legal Note 3, HTSUS, we find that the PTO clutch/brake meets the definition of a composite machine. The only remaining issue is which component performs the principal function.

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. See T.D. 89-80, 54 FR 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). EN (VI) to section XVI, for multi-function and composite machines, states as follows:

In general, multi-function machines are classified according to the principal function of the machine.

Multi-function machines are, for example, machine-tools for working metal using interchangeable tools, which enable them to carry out different machining operations (e.g., milling, boring, lapping).

Where it is not possible to determine the principal function, and where as provided in Note 3 to the Section, the context does not otherwise require, it is necessary to apply General Interperative Rule 3(c) . . . .

The merchandise functions alternatively as a clutch and a brake. Each function is important to the safe operation of the tractor blade. GRI 3(c) states as follows:

When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

The merchandise consists of an electromagnetic clutch and an electromagnetic brake. Both components are provided for in the same heading and subheading. Therefore, the merchandise is classifiable under subheading 8505.20.00, HTSUS.

Protestant submitted several arguments for the exclusion of the merchandise from heading 8505, HTSUS, based on the claim that the merchandise contains a mechanical brake. Because of the factual determination that the merchandise contains an electromagnetic brake and not a mechanical brake, there is no need to address the merits of these arguments.

The protestant argues that the merchandise should be classified under heading 8708, HTSUS, as parts and accessories of tractors suitable for use for agriculture. Heading 8708, HTSUS, is within Section XVII, HTSUS. Legal Note 2(f) to Section XVII, HTSUS, states as follows:

2. 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:
(f) [e]lectrical machinery or equipment (chapter 85). . . .

Even though the PTO clutch/brake is a part of an agricultural tractor, both components of the PTO clutch/brake are classifiable under chapter 85, HTSUS. Based upon Legal Note 2(f) to Section XVII, HTSUS, the merchandise is precluded from classification under heading 8708, HTSUS.


Under the authority of GRI 1 and Legal Note 3 to Section XVI, the PTO clutch/brake is provided for in heading 8505, HTSUS. It is classifiable under subheading 8505.20.00, HTSUS, which provides for electromagnetic couplings, clutches and brakes. Goods classifiable under this provision have a general, column one rate of duty of 3.9 percent ad valorem.

The protest is DENIED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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