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HQ 950771

MARCH 23, 1992

CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 950771 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8482.10.50, HTSUS

District Director of Customs
511 N.W. Broadway Federal Building
Portland, Oregon 97209

RE: Ball Bearing Turntable; Trailer Turntable; Angular Thrust Ball Bearing; Tractor-Trailer Connecting Device; Headings 8482, 8716; PRD 2904-1-000144; 083066

Dear Sir:

This is our decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 2904-1-000144, dated September 5, 1991, filed on behalf of Western Unit Sales, Albany, Oregon. The merchandise is ball bearing turntables from Germany.


Literature depicts an article consisting of two steel rings, each with ground raceways that provide a rolling surface for a number of ground steel balls placed between the rings. The rings have drilled holes to permit mounting to the upper part of a tractor bed and the lower part of a trailer. The turntable serves to connect the two vehicle halfs, allowing the tractor to freely turn while pulling the trailer.

You found the articles to be anti-friction devices and liquidated the entry under subheading 8482.10.50, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for other ball bearings. The rate of duty is 11 percent ad valorem. Protestant contends that the articles contain ball bearings which perform the antifriction function, but are distinct from articles classifiable as ball bearings because they serve primarily to transmit axial load, thrust and traction forces to maximize the steering and hauling capability for the trailer. These articles are specially designed flanged turntables which are housings for bearings. As such, protestant claims that subheading 8716.39.00, HTSUS, applies. However, this is a provision for other trailers - 2 -
and semi-trailers for the transport of goods. The provision in subheading 8716.90.50, HTSUS, encompasses parts of such trailers and semi-trailers, but this provision was not claimed. The rate of duty under both provisions is 3.1 percent ad valorem.


Whether ball bearing turntables are goods included in any heading of chapter 84.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 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, and provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

Subject to certain exceptions not relevant here, 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. Section XVI, Note 2(a), HTSUS.

The Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80.

Relevant ENs at p. 1324 indicate that the bearings of heading 8482 are used to considerably reduce friction. They normally consist of two concentric rings or races enclosing single or double rows of balls or rollers, and a cage which keeps them in place and ensures that their spacing remains constant. Bearings of heading 8482 may be designed to give radial support (radial bearings) or to resist thrust (thrust bearings). Certain bearings may be designed for both radial and thrust support.

The evidence of record indicates that turntable bearings are essentially large thrust bearings used to reduce rotational (pivotal) friction between two surfaces. In this case, the - 3 -
turntable bearing provides a frictionless pivot between the truck and the trailer, thus functioning somewhat in the manner of the "fifth wheel" on a tractor trailer rig. This application comports with the cited ENs. See HQ 083066, dated April 6, 1989. In the bearing industry, turntables are angular contact ball bearings designed to reduce friction in both the radial and axial (thrust) planes. The fact that this article may be specialized or dedicated to a particular use is not legally relevant because many ball bearing types are manufactured to specific engineering and design criteria and are purchased with a particular application in mind.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the turntable bearing in issue here is provided for in heading 8482. Actual classification is in subheading 8482.10.50, HTSUS, other bearings.

The protest should be denied. A copy of this decison should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and forwarded to the proestant, through counsel, as part of the notice of action on this protest.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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