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NY B83517

April 23, 1997

CLA-2-84:RR:NC:1:102 B83517


TARIFF NO.: 8481.90.9080, 7318.22.0000

Mr. Michael Skidmore
Tower Group International
115 Broad Street
P.O. Box 192
Boston, MA 02101-3022

RE: The tariff classification of thrust bearing rings for valves.

Dear Mr. Skidmore:

In your letter dated March 24, 1997 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client Neles-Jamesbury Incorporated.

The items in question are identified by the manufacturer as "thrust bearings". The items are used in the assembly of flanged ball valves and high energy performance rotary control valves. The bearings serve to properly fit the valve stem and closure element, e.g., the ball, into the valve body. Thrust bearings, also known as "thrust washers", are commonly used in valve assemblies.

Technical drawings submitted with your request indicate that subject "bearings" are manufactured in a range of sizes and are designed to meet specific dimensional criteria for the particular valve in which they will be used. The submitted sample is a metal ring approximately 1.3 millimeters in thickness, with an outside diameter of approximately 35 millimeters and an inside diameter of approximately 31 millimeters.

It is your contention that the thrust bearing is neither a bearing nor specifically a part for the valve. Rather, you suggest the thrust bearing is an "other washer", classified under subheading 7318.22.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA). While we agree the "thrust bearing" does not fall within the tariff provisions for bearings, we do not agree it is a washer encompassed by heading 7318, HTSUSA.

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 do provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are useful in ascertaining the proper classification of merchandise.

The relevant ENs state that washers of heading 7318 are usually small, thin discs with a hole in the center, placed between a nut and one of the parts to be fixed to protect the latter. The metal rings in question do not fit this description and there is no evidence that they are bought and sold in the fastener trade as washers. The thrust bearings are not articles of heading 7318.

As to the applicability of heading 8481, if articles are identifiable as parts suitable for use solely or principally with an appliance of chapter 84, they are to be classified in the provision for the appliance and its parts. The design of the thrust bearings and the purpose they serve lead us to conclude that they are integral, constituent and component parts necessary to the completion and proper functioning of the ball and rotary control valves.

The applicable subheading for the thrust bearing rings will be 8481.90.9080, HTSUSA, which provides for other parts of valves. The rate of duty will be 1.5 percent ad valorem.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Kenneth Brock at 212-466-5493.


Robert Swierupski
Chief, Metals and Machinery Branch

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