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HQ 960248

May 8, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 960248 HMC


TARIFF NO.: 8483.90.10/3916.90.50

Port Director of Customs
2nd & Chestnut Sts.
Philadelphia, PA 19106

RE: Protest 1101-97-100038; Sprockets and Rods for Conveyor Chain; Subheading 8431.39.00; Section XVI, Note 2(a); Explanatory Notes 39.16, 84.31 and 84.83; Rods of Other Plastics; Chain Sprockets.

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 1101-97-100038, filed against your classification of sprockets and rods used in plastic conveyor chain. The entries under protest were liquidated on January 1, 1997, and this protest timely filed on January 10, 1997.


The merchandise under protest is described as white sprockets and white polypropylene rods. The invoice states that the rods are 4.8 mm in diameter. No other documentation or description was provided regarding the merchandise after requesting such documents.

The merchandise was entered under a provision for other parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of heading 8428 in subheading 8431.39.00 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). However, the sprockets were classified under subheading 3926.90.98, HTSUS, as articles of plastics and the rods under subheading 3916.90.50, HTSUS, as rods of other plastics. Customs now believes that the sprockets are not classifiable under subheading 3926.90.98, HTSUS, but under subheading 8483.90.10, HTSUS, as chain sprockets.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8431 Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of headings 8425 to 8430: Of machinery of heading 8428:
8431.39.00 Other...1.2%(1996)

8483 Transmission shafts (including camshafts and crankshafts) and cranks; bearing housings, housed bearings and plain shaft bearings; gears and gearing; ball or roller screws; gear boxes and other speed changers, including torque converters; flywheels and pulleys, including pulley blocks; clutches and shaft couplings (including universal joints); parts thereof:
8483.90 Parts:
8483.90.10 Chain sprockets and parts thereof...4.5%(1996)

3916 Monofilament of which any cross-sectional dimension exceeds 1 mm, rods, sticks and profile shapes, whether or not surface-worked but not otherwise worked, of plastics: 3916.90 Of other plastics:
3916.90.50 Other...5.8%(1996)


Whether the sprockets and rods are classifiable as parts suitable for use solely or principally with conveyors under subheading 8431.39.00, HTSUS.


Merchandise is classifiable under the 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.

Chapter 39, Note 2(p) states that Chapter 39 does not cover articles of section XVI. The importer claims that the sprockets are described by heading 8431. Heading 8483 has also being identified as another heading that may describe the merchandise. We must then determine if the merchandise is provided for by heading 8431 or 8483. Section XVI, Note 2(a), HTSUS, states:

2. Subject to note 1 to this section, note 1 to chapter 84 and to note 1 to chapter 85, parts of machines (not being parts of the articles of heading 8484, 8544, 8545, 8546 or 8547) are to be classified according to the following rules:

(a) Parts which are goods included in any of the headings of chapters 84 and 85 (other than headings 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8485, 8503, 8522, 8529, 8538 and 8548) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings;

The Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN's) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the EN's 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 EN's should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

EN 84.83, at page 1435, states:

(C) gears and gearing including friction gears and chain sprockets

The basic gear is the toothed wheel, cylinder, cone, rack or worm, etc....

[Heading 8483] covers toothed and similar wheels for use with transmission chains.

In HQ 956032, dated March 17, 1994, Customs classified plastic sprockets for a conveyor drive system in subheading 8483.90.10, HTSUS, as chain sprockets. It cited the ENs to heading 8483 and found that the drive sprockets in issue were in all material respects similar to chain sprockets. Similarly, we find that the subject sprockets in this case are toothed wheels like those of heading 8483. No evidence was provided to support the claim that the sprockets fall in subheading 8431.39.00. The sprockets are instead classifiable in subheading 8483.90.10, HTSUS, as chain sprockets and parts thereof.

The importer also claims that the polypropylene rods are classifiable under subheading 8431.39.00, HTSUS, as parts of chain conveyors. EN 84.31, at page 1307, states that subject to the general provisions regarding the classification of parts, heading 8431 covers parts for use solely or principally with the machinery of headings 84.25 to 84.30. As stated above, no documentation describing the nature of this merchandise was included with the protest. Efforts to obtain information on both the sprockets and the rods were unsuccessful. Based on the evidence presented, we believe that the polypropylene rods are not principally used with the articles of 8428. Moreover, EN 84.31 states that many parts do not fall in heading 8431 if they are specified elsewhere in the Nomenclature. In this case, we believe that the polypropylene rods are described by heading 3916. They are classifiable, as liquidated, under subheading 3916.90.50, HTSUS, as rods of other plastics.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the sprockets are classifiable under subheading 8483.90.10, HTSUS, as chain sprockets and parts thereof. The 1996 rate of duty is 4.5%. The rods are classifiable under subheading 3916.90.50, HTSUS, as rods, of other plastics. The 1996 rate of duty is 5.8%.

This protest should be DENIED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you should mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing 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 to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, the Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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