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HQ 959052

May 17, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 959052 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8302.30.30

Mr. Walter R. Manns
Ford Motor Company
West Park Center
5111 Auto Club Drive
P.O. Box 6089
Dearborn, Michigan 48121

RE: Motor vehicle brackets; HQs 087542, 950437, 951097, 957722, 958724; NYs 809889, 812382, 812390; heading 8708; EN 83.02; Section XV, note 2(c); Section XVII, note 2(b)

Dear Mr. Manns:

This is in response to your letter of February 7, 1996, requesting the classification of certain motor vehicle brackets under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The subject base metal motor vehicle brackets are used throughout the entire vehicle to hold and/or support various components and parts. The components are described as follows: bracket assembly for the exhaust gas re-circulating solenoid vacuum valve (F47E-9H472-AA, F48E-9H472BB, F3DE-9H472DB); bracket assembly for the exhaust air supply valve (F4TE-9G426-BA, F5TE-9G426AA, E7TE-9G426-BC); battery support bracket (F5HS-10753-AA); reinforcement bracket, front body pillar at belt (E80B-54025A30-AC); bracket assembly console mounting front (E0SB-66045A46-AD); front fender mounting bracket (E83B16C076-AA); air-conditioning compressor mounting bracket (F3LC-2882-AF); steering column bracket support (F4CC-3E660-AA); rear bumper plastic facia cover mounting bracket (F4LB-17E850/1-AA); and front engine bracket insulator support (E9SC-6C010-AC, F5SC-6010-BA, E9SC-6C010-AC, F57-6038-DC, F57A-6B032DC, F37A-6B032EB, F37A-B032DB). - 2 -


Whether base metal mounting brackets for motor vehicles are classifiable as base metal mountings, fittings and similar articles, suitable for motor vehicles, under subheading 8302.30.30, HTSUS.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part, that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

Heading 8302, HTSUS, provides for base metal mountings, fittings and similar articles. EN 83.02, pg. 1118, states that the heading "covers general purpose classes of base metal accessory fittings and mountings, such as are used largely on furniture, doors, windows, coachwork, etc. Goods within such general classes remain in this heading even if they are designed for particular uses (e.g., door handles or hinges for automobiles)." The EN, pg. 1119, further states that the heading includes, in particular, "[m]ountings, fittings and similar articles suitable for motor vehicles (e.g., motor cars, lorries or motor coaches), not being parts or accessories of Section XVII (emphasis in original)."

The term "mounting" is not defined in the HTSUS or the ENs. When terms are not so defined, tariff terms are construed in accordance with their common and commercial meaning. Nippon Kogasku (USA), Inc. v. United States, 69 CCPA 89, 673 F.2d 380 (1982). Common and commercial meaning may be determined by consulting dictionaries, lexicons, scientific authorities and other reliable sources. C.J. Tower & Sons v. United States, 69 CCPA 128, 673 F.2d 1268 (1982).

The term "mounting" ("mount") is broadly defined as a frame or support, such as, "an undercarriage or part on which a device - 3 -

(as a motor or an artillery piece) rests in service," or "an attachment for an accessory." Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, pg. 775-776 (1990). Thus, a mounting is generally a component that serves to join two other parts together.

In HQ 951097, dated April 17, 1992, we considered the classification of various base metal mountings used to facilitate the attachment of cargo restraint assemblies to motor vehicles. These mountings were classified under subheading 8302.30.30, HTSUS, which provides for other mountings, fittings and similar articles suitable for motor vehicles, of iron or steel. Because the mountings were classified as "parts of general use," they could not be classified as motor vehicle parts or accessories under heading 8708, HTSUS. See Section XV, note 2(c); Section XVII, note 2(b), HTSUS. For other rulings concerning the classification of similar brackets, mountings or fasteners for motor vehicles, see HQ 958724, dated March 21, 1996; HQ 957722, dated May 12, 1995; NY 812390, dated July 27, 1995; NY 812382, dated July 27, 1995; NY 809889, dated June 5, 1995.

The base metal brackets under consideration serve to join (or hold) other components together throughout the entire vehicle. Thus, these brackets are covered by heading 8302, HTSUS, and cannot be classified as parts under heading 8708, HTSUS. Specifically, they are classifiable under subheading 8302.30.30, HTSUS.

Clearly, there is some overlap between headings 8302 and 8708, HTSUS. However, because the brackets under consideration meet the terms of the heading, as defined above, it is unnecessary to consider the criteria set forth in HQ 087542, dated October 31, 1990, wherein we attempted to sort or divide the merchandise of headings 8302 and 8708, HTSUS. See also HQ 950437, dated January 28, 1992. While we still adhere to the guidelines of HQ 087542, we caution the use of them as an absolute test, particularly where they pertain to simple fastening devices or mounting brackets. We have consistently held that base metal mounting brackets for motor vehicles, similar to those under consideration, are classifiable under heading 8302, HTSUS, rather than heading 8708, HTSUS. See HQs 958724, 957722 and 951907; NYs 812390, 812382 and 809889.


The base metal brackets are classifiable under subheading 8302.30.30, HTSUS, which provides for other mountings, fittings
and similar articles suitable for motor vehicles, of iron or steel. The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 2.7% ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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