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NY H86872

January 10, 2002

CLA-2-87:RR:NC:MM:101 H86872


TARIFF NO.: 8708.99.6790

Mr. Robert E. Burke
Ms. Jane E. Welsh
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
303 East Wacker Drive
Suite 1100
Chicago, Illinois 60601

RE: The tariff classification of Automotive Hydraulic Shaft Couplings from Japan

Dear Mr. Burke/Ms. Welsh:

In your letter dated December 21, 2001 you requested a tariff classification ruling.

You submitted literature detailing the structure and function of the automotive hydraulic shaft couplings. The hydraulic couplings in question are automotive hydraulic shaft couplings with an optional electromagnetic coupling device. In your narrative you state that:

“Commercially they are sometimes called electronically controlled rotary blade couplings. These devices are imported fully assembled. These are mechanical fluid couplings that may also use an electromagnetic coil to manually engage the mechanism. The couplings are designed for four wheel drive sport utility vehicles, and enable the vehicle to provide ‘constant four wheel drive’ power to all four wheels in normal operation. The device connects the main drive shaft off the engine to the driven shaft that connects to the rear differential of the vehicle. Inside the device are blades like those of a fan, surrounded by fluid. In the normal ‘automatic’ mode, as the relative speed difference between the input/drive shaft and the output/driven shaft increases, the pressure in the fluid surrounding the blades inside the shafts also increases causing the driven shaft to rotate. The coupling contains an optional feature that permits the operator of the vehicle to engage an electromagnetic mechanism within the device that engages the input and output shafts regardless of the speed of the input shaft. In that way, the operator of the vehicle can engage the four-wheel drive feature while the input shaft is operating at low r.p.m.

“As stated, in their normal mode, the couplings use fluid pressure to engage the torque transmission assembly or ‘clutch’ during the standard operation of the vehicles in which they are installed. This mode of operation is automatic, constant, and cannot be shut off. The electromagnetic portion of the coupling works as a secondary engagement device. A manual switch inside the vehicle can activate a solenoid, which then creates an electromagnetic field that squeezes the clutch between plates. When this function is engaged, the torque is completely transferred to the output shaft. In its primary, hydraulic mode, the rotary blades which engage between the driving shaft and the driven shaft can vary the torque transfer between the shafts from 0 to 100%. The electromagnetic mode causes this torque transfer to happen instantly until the mode is disengaged by the operator. In the hydraulic mode, the drive shafts are always adjusting to the difference in speed and transferring torque. In its electromagnetic mode, the drive shafts are always engaged, thus providing power to all four wheels, but at the expense of fuel economy and ease of operation of the vehicle. Thus, the electromagnetic feature is used only on occasion and is secondary to the fluid coupling operation of the device.”

You state that you believe that the Automotive Hydraulic Shaft Couplings are correctly classified under HTS 8708.99.8080, which provides for Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705: Other parts and accessories: Other: Other: Other: OtherOther; dutiable at 2.5% ad valorem.

We disagree with your proposed classification because these couplings are more correctly classified as other parts for power trains.

The applicable subheading for the Automotive Hydraulic Shaft Couplings will be 8708.99.6790, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705: Other parts and accessories: Other: Other: Other: Other parts for power trains: Other. The rate of duty will be 2.5% 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 Robert DeSoucey at 646-733-3008.


Robert B. Swierupski

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