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NY C82026

January 29, 1998

CLA-2-87:RR:NC:1:102 C82026


TARIFF NO.: 8708.99.7060; 8483.20.4040

Mr. Stephen L. Gibson
Arent Fox
1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-5339

RE: The tariff classification of a McPherson strut component from Germany

Dear Mr. Gibson:

In your letter dated November 20,1997 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client INA Bearing Company.

The article in question is identified as INA part number F-224294.3 and described as a component designed and used exclusively as part of an automotive McPherson strut assembly. Technical drawings and samples were submitted with the ruling request.

The McPherson strut assembly is a type of suspension system that combines a shock absorber with a coil spring. Typically the McPherson strut is used in the steerable, front suspension of a motor vehicle, but may also be used in the rear suspension. The article in question is located in the strut assembly between the coil spring and the structure of the vehicle. Its function is to allow free rotation of the top of the spring that normally occurs when a coil spring is compressed and allow rotation of the complete strut assembly when used with suspensions for steered wheels.

The article is an assembly of two steel thrust washers, steel balls and a cage, contained in a plastic enclosure. The washers, balls and cage form a thrust bearing, with the washers serving as raceways and the balls as rolling elements. The enclosure is formed by two pieces of plastic which snap together to form a housing for the antifriction bearing. The housing serves to align the axis of the bearing with the axis of the strut assembly and facilitates mounting the bearing between the fixed vehicle structure and the rotating coil spring.

The issue raised by your request is whether the strut component is properly classified under heading 8708, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA), as a part or accessory of a motor vehicle, or under heading 8483, as a housed bearing.

The classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1, HTSUSA, 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". The headings in contention are headings 8708 and 8483, HTSUSA.

Heading 8708 provides for "...(p)arts and accessories of the motor vehicles of 8701 to 8705..." Heading 8483 provides for "...bearing housings, housed bearings and plain shaft bearings..." While both headings appear to describe the strut component, classification must be determined in accordance with section and chapter notes. Heading 8708 is within Section XVII and Chapter 87, HTSUSA. Heading 8483 is within Section XVI and Chapter 84, HTSUSA.

There are three relevant legal notes. Section XVI, Note 1(l), HTSUSA, excludes articles of Section XVII from classification within Section XVI. Section XVII, Note 2(e), HTSUSA, states that articles of heading 8483 are excluded from Section XVII if the articles constitute integral parts of engines or motors. Section XVII, Note 3, HTSUSA, requires that the term "parts" in chapter 87 refers only to parts which are used solely or principally with the articles of chapter 87.

You state that the strut component is designed and used exclusively as part of an automobile suspension system. Since the support is used "solely or principally" with motor vehicles and motor vehicles are classified in chapter 87, the strut component is a "part" within the meaning of Section XVII, Note 3. Motor vehicles designed for the transport of persons are classified under heading 8703, HTSUSA. As a part that is solely or principally used with articles of heading 8703 the strut component meets the terms of heading 8708.

Furthermore, Section XVII, Note 2(e) only excludes articles of heading 8483 which are parts of engines or motors, from Section XVII. Since the strut component is used in a vehicle's suspension system and not with engines or motors, it is not excluded from Section XVII by Note 2(e).

The strut component is clearly an article of Section XVII. Articles of Section XVII are excluded from classification within Section XVI under heading 8483 by Section XVI, Note 1(l).

The applicable subheading for the strut component will be 8708.99.7060, HTSUSA, which provides for "Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705 ... Parts for suspension systems ... Other..." The rate of duty will be 2.6 percent ad valorem.

It is the opinion of this office that the strut component is not subject to antidumping duties under Department of Commerce orders relating to antifriction bearings. In light of recent determinations by Commerce relevant to automotive components, we consider the strut component to be outside the scope of the orders. Should you desire a binding ruling on the applicability of current antidumping duty orders to your merchandise, please write directly to the Department of Commerce, Office of Compliance, Washington, D.C.

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 T. Brock at 212-466-5493.


Robert Swierupski
Director, National Commodity

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