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HQ 966610

January 10, 2004

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 966610 RSD


TARIFF NO. 8413.91.90

Port Director
Customs and Border Protection
10 Causeway Street, Rm. 603
Boston, MA 02222

RE: Protest 0401-03-100110; disassembled pump assemblies for nuclear power reactors

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 0401–03-100110, filed by counsel on behalf of Westinghouse Electric Company on April 10, 2003, against your decision classifying nuclear reactor coolant pump rotating element assemblies under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The entry under protest was liquidated on January 10, 2003, and this protest timely filed on April 10, 2003.


The subject merchandise consists of various components for “rotating element assemblies” of a reactor coolant pump used in a nuclear power plant. A reactor coolant pump is a vertical, centrifugal radial flow pump (single stage). This pump is a part of a nuclear steam supply system, which actually includes four such pumps that are designed to circulate water through the reactor core, or onto the steam generator and back to the pump suction in an enclosed loop. It is capable of pumping 85,000 gallons of water a minute (8,800 HP).

The imported articles with three exceptions, once reassembled, form the “rotating element assembly” of the reactor coolant pump. This assembly represents less than one fourth of the value of the finished reactor pump, and consists primarily of the pump’s rotating elements and its diffuser. To complete the pump, a seal housing and thrust bearing assembly must be added to the rotating element assembly inside a motor support stand. A number of pipes must also be added to the motor support stand’s exterior. The complete motor support assembly is then mounted onto a pump casing.

Prior to shipment, the manufacturer completely assembles the rotating element assembly. The assembly is then dynamically balanced to ensure that its rotating parts are moving properly. Material is removed from the impeller and thrust-bearing rotor to achieve this balance. In addition balancing weights may be added to reduce any remaining imbalance. Measurements are taken to ensure that the shaft and impeller (from end to end) are straight and round (concentric). After balancing and measuring, the parts are then matched-marked to assure proper orientation during re-assembly. Each rotating set is serialized to identify that the components are to be grouped together. The assembly is then disassembled for shipment purposes.

The items listed on the entry include four disassembled rotating element assemblies. Each individual rotating element assembly is broken down into six (shipping) sub-assemblies and a small number of miscellaneous parts. The six sub-assemblies and the miscellaneous parts are placed in seven individual crates. The six sub-assemblies and miscellaneous parts are as follows:

The Diffusor assembly
The Impeller assembly
The Pump shaft assembly
The Drive shaft assembly
The Thrust bearing rotor (and pin)
The Bearing sleeve
Discrete items include an oil impeller, thrower (with installed dowel pin) casing insert and diffuser.

In addition to the parts for the rotating element assemblies, other parts were imported in the shipment, a stationary seal ring holder, and a stainless steel cylinder with chrome oxide coating that acts as a positioning device for the carrier ring. Although not listed on the packing lists, part number 8000-400-026 was part of the entry listed on the purchase order and invoice. It is a hand-operated “plug” valve” that is not a part of the rotating element assembly. This valve, which is made of carbon steel, connects to the thrust bearing and is essential to its operation, but does not connect to the rotating element assembly. In addition, a helical spring that pushes the carrier ring from its retainer against a rotating face was included in the entry.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Springs and leaves for springs, of iron or steel:

Helical springs:


Pumps for liquids, whether or not fitted with a measuring device; liquid elevators; parts thereof:


Of pumps:

8413.91.90 Other

Taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances, for pipes, boiler shells, tanks, vats or the like, including pressure-reducing valves And thermostatically controlled valves; parts thereof:

8481.80 Other appliances:

Hand Operated

8481.80.30 Of iron or steel


Whether the imported parts for a rotating element pump assembly would be classified as an unassembled pump assembly under GRI 2(a) under subheading 8413.91.90.


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.

Goods that are identifiable as parts of machines and apparatus of Chapter 84 and 85 are classifiable according to Section XVI Note 2, HTSUS. Under Note 2(a), parts which are goods included in any heading of Chapters 84 or 85 are classifiable in their respective headings. Under Note 2(b), other parts are classifiable with the machines or apparatus with which they are solely or principally used.

Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1 (c), HTSUS states that a provision for parts of an article covers products solely or principally used as a part of such articles but a provision for “parts” or “parts and accessories” shall not prevail over a specific provision for such part or accessory.

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. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

GRI 2(a) provides that goods imported in an unassembled condition are to be classified as the assembled article. GRI 2(a) states that:

Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also include a reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), entered unassembled or disassembled.

By its terms, GRI 2(a), HTSUS, extends the scope of a 4-digit heading to include an article, whether assembled or unassembled, that is imported incomplete or unfinished. The first part of Rule 2(a) extends the scope of any heading which refers to a particular article to cover not only the complete article but also that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as presented, it has the essential character of the complete finished article.

In interpreting the HTSUS, we have construed the term "essential character" to mean the attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish what an article is; that which is indispensable to the structure, core or condition of the article. See HQ 956538 dated November 29, 1994. Factors found to be relevant in other contexts are the significance of the imported components or their role in relation to the use or overall functioning of the completed article and, to the extent that it validates that comparison, the cost or value of the completed article versus the cost or value of the imported merchandise. See HQ 956410 dated October 14, 1994.

EN (V) to GRI 2(a) states that:

The second part of Rule 2(a) provides that complete or finished articles presented unassembled or disassembled are to be classified in the same heading as the assembled article. When goods are so presented, it is usually for reasons such as requirements or convenience of packing, handling or transport.

EN (VII) to GRI 2(a) states that:

For the purposes of this Rule, "articles presented unassembled or disassembled" means articles the components of which are to be assembled either by means of fixing devices (screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) or by riveting or welding, for example, provided only simple assembly operations are involved. Unassembled components of an article which are in excess of the number required for that article when complete are to be classified separately.

Initially, based on the information available, it appeared that the parts of the pump assembly were imported in more than one shipment. However, a review of the relevant documents in the record, such as the invoices, indicates that the components for the pump assemblies were contained in a single shipment.

In this instance, the articles that are being imported are unassembled parts for a rotating element pump assembly, which is, in turn, a component of pumps used to circulate water in a nuclear reactor. Heading 8413, HTSUS, provides for pumps for liquids whether or not fitted with a measuring device; liquid elevators; parts thereof. Since heading 8413, HTSUS, includes parts, if the rotating element pump assemblies were imported fully assembled, they would be classified in heading 8413, HTSUS, as parts of a pump for liquids. We note that after importation, the pump assembly components are assembled together using bolts, nuts and other mechanical fastening devices. However, the pump assemblies are not subject to any further operations other than simple assembly, fixing or welding. Accordingly, we conclude that under GRI 2(a), the rotating element assemblies, imported unassembled, should be regarded for tariff purposes as if imported fully assembled. They constitute parts of the nuclear reactor coolant pump provided for in heading 8413, HTSUS. In reaching this decision, we note that in addition to the rotating element assemblies at issue here, a seal housing, thrust bearing assembly, motor support stand and assorted piping, together with a pump casing, are necessary to comprise a complete pump for liquids. The record is therefore inconclusive as to whether the unassembled components constitute an incomplete or unfinished pump of heading 8413.

The unassembled pump assemblies are classified in subheading 8413.91.90. HTSUS, as otherparts of pumps.

Three other parts listed in the entry are not components of the rotating element assembly. The first is part number 476.21, a stationary seal ring holder. It is a stainless steel cylinder with a chrome oxide coating that acts as a positioning device for the carrier ring. The part is specifically designed and to be solely used with the coolant pumps. The port classified and liquidated the part in subheading 8413.91.90, HTSUS at a free duty rate. Protestant agrees that pursuant Section XVI, Note 2(b), HTSUS, is classified as other parts of pumps, in subheading 8413.91.90, HTSUS. Therefore, because there is no dispute regarding the classification of the stationary seal ring holder, it will remain classified in subheading 8413.91.90, HTSUS.

The second is part number 8000-400-026, a hand-operated “plug” valve. The valve of carbon steel connects to the thrust bearing and is essential to its operation, but does not connect to the rotating element assembly. The part was liquidated with a classification in subheading 8481.80.90, HTSUS. Protestant contends that pursuant to Section XVI, Note 2(a), HTSUS, it is a good included in heading 8481, and is classified as other hand operated valves and similar appliances in subheading 8481.80.30, HTSUS. The applicable subheading for the manually operated (wrench, handwheel or gearbox operated) valves, of steel, is 8481.80.30, HTSUS, which provides for hand operated plug valves of iron or steel. See NY 805714 dated February 9, 1995. Based on Protestant’s representations, we assume that the plug valves in this instance are hand operated plug valves made of steel. Thus the plug valves are classified in subheading 8481.80.30, HTSUS. This change in tariff classification of the plug valve would result in an increase in the duty assessed.

The third part which is not of rotating element assembly is part number 95021. This is a helical stainless steel spring that pushes the carrier ring from its retainer against a rotating face. This part was liquidated with classification in subheading 7320.90.20, HTSUS. Protestant maintains that in accordance with Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(c), this part should be classified as other helical springs in subheading 7320.20.50, HTSUS. Based on the information provided by the Protestant, we conclude that the helical springs are classified in subheading 7320.20.50. This change in tariff classification for the helical springs would also result in an increase in the duties that are assessed on these articles.


The unassembled pump assemblies are classified in subheading 8413.91.90, HTSUS, as otherparts of pumps. The protest with respect to the pump assemblies should be granted. The stationary seal ring holders remain classified in subheading 8413.91.90, HTSUS. The plug valves are classified in subheading 8481.80.30, HTSUS. The helical stainless steel springs are classified in 7320.20.50, HTSUS. Since the reclassification of the hand operated plug valves, and the helical stainless steel springs would result in the payment of higher duties, the protest with respect to these items must be denied.

You are instructed to Allow the protest in part and to Deny the protest in part, as indicated. 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 in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision. No later than sixty (60) days from the date of this decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to CBP personnel, and to the public on the CBP Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.cbp.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other means of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Director

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