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HQ 964456

JANUARY 9, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 964456 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8708.99.67

Port Director of Customs
7400 Alum Creek Dr.
Columbus, OH 43217

RE: Protest 4103-00-100067; Roller Assemblies

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 4103-00-100067, filed against your classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of roller assemblies. The entries under protest were liquidated on June 9, 16 and 23, 2000, and this protest timely filed on July 7, 2000.


The roller assemblies at issue are components of tripod-style constant velocity (CV) joints - ball-style CV joints being the other common type - used in automotive power train systems. A tripod-style CV joint is composed of a tripod assembly fitted within a three-channeled housing referred to as a tulip. It’s a type of shaft coupling that forms a flexible joint between one of the two drive half-axles in front-wheel drive motor vehicles. Their purpose is to facilitate the transmission of torque from the engine through the drive shaft to the front wheels. CV joints are used at two locations on each of the axle halfshafts. One such CV joint, the “inboard” CV joint of which the roller assemblies at issue are parts, is located at the engine-side halfshaft. This CV joint is an integral component of the power train through which power is transmitted directly from the engine through the transmission and axle halfshaft to the drive wheels. The roller assemblies in this protest are mounted onto the legs or trunnions of the tripod, allowing the tripod to move freely within the channels along the axis of the tulip. Each roller assembly consists of a spherical plain bearing component mounted inside the bore of a needle roller bearing component, both components sharing a common race.

Their function is to lessen both the sliding friction and the rolling friction that results as the tripod moves along and pivot about the axis of the tulip as the axle half-shafts shorten or lengthen because of irregular surfaces or during sharp turning.

The roller assemblies were imported as housed bearings incorporating rollers, under a provision of heading 8483, HTSUS. Your office determined the roller assemblies were combination cylindrical/spherical plain bearings provided for in heading 8482, and liquidated the entries accordingly. Counsel for the protestant maintains that the roller assemblies are parts and accessories of motor vehicles, provided for in heading 8708, HTSUS. He advances the following arguments in support of this classification: (1) the roller assemblies are integral components of constant velocity joints used in the power trains of all front-wheel drive vehicles. As parts for power trains are provided for in heading 8708 so, too, should be the roller assemblies; (2) section XVII, note 3, HTSUS, requires that parts and accessories which are suitable for use solely or principally with goods of chapters 86 through 88 be classified in heading 8708; (3) the roller assemblies function primarily to transmit torque which is not the function of a bearing; (3) finally, several administrative rulings classify substantially similar merchandise in heading 8708.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Ball or roller bearings, and parts thereof:

Other, including combined ball/roller bearings

8483 [H]oused bearings and plain shaft bearings:

8483.20 Housed bearings, incorporating ball or roller bearings:

8483.20.80 Other

Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 through 8705:

Other parts and accessories:


8708.99.67 Other parts for power trains


Whether the roller assemblies are goods included in heading 8482 or heading 8483; whether they are parts and accessories of motor vehicles.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified 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.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Two of the headings under consideration, 8482 and 8483, are in section XVI, while the third heading, 8708, is in section XVII. GRI 1 instructs that we first examine the terms of those headings and any section or chapter notes that might be relevant. Section XVI, Note 1(l), HTSUS, excludes articles of Section XVII, while Section XVII, Note 2(e), HTSUS, in part excludes from the expression “parts and accessories” articles of heading 8482 and, provided they constitute integral parts of engines or motors, articles of heading 8483.

As to heading 8483, the entered provision, the ENs on p. 1435 indicate that bearing housings consist of a frame or block designed to house plain, ball or roller bearings in which the ends of a shaft or axle turn. The ENs state that bearing housings incorporating ball, roller or needle roller bearings remain in heading 8483. Clearly, the roller assemblies at issue do not meet this description. As to heading 8482, the liquidated provision, the ENs on p.1433 state that heading 8482 covers all ball, roller or needle roller type bearings. Bearings classified in this heading are ball bearings with single or double rows of balls, this group including sliding mechanisms with bearing balls. Also included are roller bearings with single or double rows of rollers of any shape, and needle roller bearings with cylindrical rollers of a uniform diameter not exceeding 5 mm and having a length which is at least three times the diameter. The roller assemblies at issue here consist of a spherical plain bearing component and a needle roller bearing component, both in a common race. In our opinion, heading 8482 is not broad enough to describe an entire roller assembly.

To be eligible for classification in heading 8708, a good must not be excluded by the notes to section XVII, and must be identifiable as being suitable for use solely or principally with the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705. Noting Section XVII, Note 2(e), the roller assemblies are not precluded from heading 8708 if otherwise qualified. Also, as CV joints are integral parts of motor vehicle power trains provided for as parts and accessories of heading 8708, it necessarily follows that the roller assemblies at issue, which are parts of CV joints, are also provided for in heading 8708.

We have previously classified tripod rollers for CV joints, substantially similar in description to the roller assemblies at issue here, as automotive parts and accessories of heading 8708. See NY 883907, dated March 23, 1993. Tripod rollers for constant velocity tripod joints, each roller consisting of 3 spherical rollers on needles, were similarly classified under the HTSUS predecessor tariff code, the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS). See HQ 069172, dated January 27, 1980.


Under the authority of GRI 1 the roller assemblies are provided for in heading 8708. They are classifiable in subheading 8708.99.67, HTSUS. The entries should be reliquidated under this provision and the protest ALLOWED.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to 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 make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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