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HQ 966472

November 25, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 966472 DSS


TARIFF NO.: 8428.90.00

Mr. Paul Giguere

Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20004

RE: Certain forklift truck attachments; NY I84769 Affirmed

Dear Mr. Giguere:

In a letter, dated May 10, 2003, on behalf of Cascade Corporation, you request reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) I84769, which the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, New York, issued to you on August 23, 2002. The issue is the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of certain forklift truck attachments. You met with representatives of this office on September 30, 2003. On September 30, 2003, and October 7, 2003, you submitted supplemental material, which we have considered. We have reviewed NY I84769 and determined that the classification is correct for the reasons set forth below.


In NY I84769, we classified the goods under subheading 8428.90.00, HTSUS, which provides for other lifting, handling, loading, or unloading machinery. We described the five devices as follows:

You submitted brochures describing 5 devices which enable a forklift truck to more efficiently handle special products such as paper rolls and boxed appliances. These devices supplement or replace the standard fork and frame assembly which moves up and down on the forklift truck mast, and are available in various capacities that match the lifting capacity of the truck on which they will be mounted. The specific devices you inquired about are:

Fork positioner – utilizes two hydraulic cylinders to allow the forklift operator to mechanically adjust the distance separating the forks to match the width of the object being handled, thus obviating the need for the operator to perform this task manually. The positioner basically consists of a metal frame on which the L-shaped forks are hung, two hydraulic cylinders which move the forks horizontally, a flow divider to equalize fork speed and movement, carriers which keep the forks vertically stabilized, rod grommet brackets to protect the cylinders from accidental impact, and hydraulic hoses and connectors to allow the article to be connected to the forklift’s hydraulic system.

Carton clamp – replaces the standard forks with pads mounted on horizontally opening arms, thus allowing the forklift to hold and handle medium density loads in the warehousing, beverage, appliance and electronics industries. The unit contains a frame incorporating four hydraulic cylinders for smooth and equal arm movement, and utilizes an extended height arm stabilizer for added contact pad support.

Roll clamp – similar in use to the carton clamp, this unit features hydraulic cylinders which operate curved arms to allow rolled materials to be gripped and handled.

Push/pull – features a fork frame which can be mechanically extended or retracted by means of two hydraulically operated scissor-like arms in order to push a load off or pull a load onto fork-like platens attached to the base of the unit. The loads may rest on special slipsheets for easier movement.

Rotator – gives the forklift operator the ability to rotate the fork mechanism 360 degrees in either direction in order to quickly dump or invert a load, and then return the forks to the pick-up position in one continuous motion.

You argue that these five attachments are not optional accessories, but rather are parts solely used with forklift trucks. As such, you argue, they are classifiable under heading 8431, which provides in relevant part for parts of the machinery of heading 8427 (i.e., forklift trucks). You also argue that these attachments are not mentioned in, nor are they similar to the goods that are mentioned in, the Explanatory Notes to heading 8428.


Whether the instant articles are classified as parts of forklift trucks under heading 8431, HTSUS, or as other lifting, handling, loading, or unloading machinery under heading 8428, HTSUS.


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (Customs) believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Other lifting, handling, loading or unloading machinery (for example, elevators, escalators, conveyors, teleferics): 8428.90.00 Other machinery
8431 Parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of headings 8425 to 8430: 8431.20.00 Of machinery of heading 8427

You contend that the instant attachments should be classified under subheading 8431.20.00, HTSUS, as forklift truck parts. Because accessories for forklift trucks are not included within heading 8431, HTSUS, we must determine whether the instant attachments should be considered as parts or accessories.

In Bauerhin Technologies Limited v. United States, 19 CIT 1441, 914 F. Supp. 554 (1995), aff’d, 110 F.3d 774 (Fed. Cir. 1997), the court pointed out that there are two distinct lines of cases defining the word "part" in the tariff. Starting with United States v. Willoughby Camera Stores, Inc., 21 CCPA 322, 324, (1933) T.D. 46075 (1933), cert. denied, 292 U.S. 640 (1934), this line of cases holds that a part of an article "is something necessary to the completion of that article without which the article to which it is to be joined, could not function as such article." Another line of cases evolved from United States v. Antonio Pompeo, 43 CCPA 9, C.D. 1669 (1955), which held that a device may be a part of an article even though its use is optional and the article will function without it, if the device is dedicated for use upon the article, and, once installed, the article will not operate without it. See also Rollerblade, Inc. v. United States, 116 F. Supp. 2d 1247, 1252 (CIT 2000), aff’d, 282 F.3d 1349 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (discussing differences between classifying “parts” and “accessories”).

In applying this analysis, Customs generally will consider an article to be a part if: it is combined with other articles to be used; or it is an integral, constituent or component, without which the article to which it is joined could not function. In contrast, Customs generally will consider an article to be an accessory if: it facilitates use or handling; or it widens the range of uses of the main article; or it improves the operation of the main article. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 962634, dated October 25, 2001, and HQ 082976, dated March 20, 1990.

A forklift truck basically consists of a wheeled chassis upon which is mounted a vertical mast assembly. The standard forklift truck features a frame and two L-shaped forks which move up and down on the mast assembly. The forks can be inserted into openings in a pallet, thus allowing the forklift to handle goods which have been placed on the pallet.

While the instant attachments are suitable for use solely or principally with forklift trucks of heading 8427, HTSUS, they are not essential for their normal operation. As indicated in the original ruling letter, they are optional devices which are mounted on the forklift for use in lifting and handling certain special products such as rolls of paper or unpalletized cartons (i.e., carton clamp, roll clamp), or increasing its range or type of operations (i.e., fork positioner, push/pull, rotation). While the forks themselves allow the forklift to lift and handle goods on pallets, the instant attachments allow the forklift to be used to lift and handle other equipment or products, expanding its range of operations. The instant attachments are not standard equipment that is normally sold with most forklifts. Additionally, they are designed for easy installation and removal, which also tends to show that they are temporary accessories rather than integral parts. Since heading 8431 does not provide for accessories, classification of these items in heading 8431, HTSUS, is precluded. Accordingly, we conclude that the attachments are not classified within subheading 8431.20.00, HTSUS, as parts of the machinery of heading 8427, i.e., forklifts.

Additionally, the importer contends that these five devices are not similar to the goods mentioned in the ENs to heading 8428. EN 84.28 indicates that heading 8428 covers a wide range of machinery for the mechanical handling of materials, goods, etc. that remain in the heading even if specialized for a particular industry. The instant goods, which incorporate bearings, pistons and other moving parts, as well as pressurized hydraulics and motors, have moving parts, have mechanical capability and lift and handle various goods. Indeed, the brochures supplied with the roll clamps describe motors and other gears that are used to operate the clamps, and the rotator describes a gear and drive box combination. Additionally, each of these articles performs a lifting or handling operation in its own right. The fact they are powered from the forklift truck is of no consequence, as other goods (such as winches) are capable of being mounted on and powered from a vehicle and are nevertheless independent articles, not parts. The design and function of the hydraulic forklift attachments in issue indicates that they perform a lifting or handling function. Under section XVI, Note 2(a), they are goods of heading 8428, HTSUS.

However, even assuming arguendo that the instant forklift truck attachments could be considered “parts,” they still would not be classified under heading 8431; Note 2(a) to Section XVI would require that they be classified in heading 8428, HTSUS. See HQ 957755, dated January 24, 1996. Section XVI, Note 2 states in pertinent part:

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:

Parts which are goods included in any of the headings of chapter 84 or 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;

(b) Other parts, if suitable for use solely or principally with a particular kind of machine, or with a number of machines of the same heading (including a machine of heading 8479 or 8543) are to be classified with the machines of that kind or in heading 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8503, 8522, 8529 or 8538 as appropriate. However, parts which are equally suitable for use principally with the goods of headings 8517 and 8525 to 8528 are to be classified in heading 8517;

Thus, according to Note 2, if the instant attachments are described in heading 8428, HTSUS, they would be classified therein.

You cite HQ 950634 and HQ 952019, both dated March 18, 1993, in support of your request for reconsideration. However, those rulings cover articles that are properly considered parts of fork lift trucks rather than accessories. Assuming arguendo that the instant attachments are parts, however, the rulings still support classification of the instant articles under subheading 8428.90.00, HTSUS. In these two rulings we classified rough castings of a load wheel bracket, valve lever, tension rod clevis, load wheel support, parking brake lever assembly and spindle left hand, under subheading 8431.20.00, HTSUS, as unfinished parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machines of heading 8427. The articles in those rulings are made into finished parts that are essential to the operation of the fork lifts in their standard operations. Moreover, they do not assist in the lifting or handling of goods, as do the machines of heading 8428, but instead aid the fork lifts in their movement.

In your supplemental submission, you cite several rulings to support your claim that the instant articles are parts: NY I81164, dated May 21, 2002; Preclassification ruling (PC) 891547, dated October 28, 1993; NY 892112, dated November 29, 1993; and HQ 958357, dated December 15, 1995. In NY I81164, in relevant part, Customs classified a bar tie as a part under heading 8431. The bar tie was welded to the fork positioner frame which moves up and down on the fork mast. According to the information you submitted, the bar tie is specifically designed and solely used in the frame of the fork positioner. It is integral to attaching the fork positioner frame to the fork mast. Thus, it is a part of the fork positioner, and as, the fork positioner is a machine of heading 8428, the bar tie is classified under heading 8431. Therefore, we intend to modify NY I81164 to reflect classification of the bar tie as a part of the fork positioner under subheading 8431.39.00, HTSUS.

In PC 891547, dated October 28, 1993, for Kenhar Products, which was later purchased by Cascade Corp., Customs classified, in relevant part, steel fork extensions and steel carpet poles as parts under 8431.20.00, HTSUS. Information supplied by Casade shows that these articles appear to be made of steel and attached to the fork lift frame. The carpet poles take the place of forks, and extend the range of products that the fork lift trucks can carry to include carpets; however, they do not seem like integral parts. The fork extensions fit over the existing forks, and allow them to carry longer loads. Thus, they are accessories, not parts, and are not classified under heading 8431, HTSUS. We will issue a ruling superseding PC 891547 to Cascade Corporation.

In NY 892112, dated November 29, 1993, Customs classified a fork lift drum lifter as a part under heading 8431, which the importer argues is similar to the carton clamp at issue here. However, the records from that ruling were destroyed in the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center site and there is not enough information in the ruling itself to decide whether the drum lifters are similar to the articles at issue.

In HQ 958357, dated December 15, 1995, a side shifter, among other items, was classified with a fork lift truck under heading 8427, HTSUS, because it was an option for the fork lift. In that ruling, a fork lift truck, a transmission, and two masts, along with the side shifter were classified under subheading 8427.20.40, HTSUS, as a fork lift truck, complete with options. According to GRI 1, in that instance those items are classified with the fork lift trucks under heading 8427, if imported together. Therefore, we find that HQ 958357 is distinguishable.

Based on the foregoing analysis, the instant articles are classified under subheading 8428.90.00, HTSUS.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the instant forklift attachments are provided for in heading 8428, HTSUS. They are classified under subheading 8428.90.00, HTSUS, as “Other lifting, handling, loading or unloading machinery (for example, elevators, escalators, conveyors, teleferics): Other machinery.”


NY I84769 is AFFIRMED.


Myles B. Harmon

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