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HQ 967092

July 23, 2004

CLA-2: RR:CR:TE: 967092 BtB


TARIFF NO.: 8482.99.5695, 8482.99.6510

Port Director
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
610 S. Canal Street
Room 306
Chicago, IL 60607

RE: Internal Advice 04/009; classification of adapter sleeves

Dear Port Director:

This is in response to your memorandum forwarding a request for internal advice initiated by letter dated November 21, 2003, by Barnes, Richardson & Colburn on behalf of NTN Bearing Corporation of America (“NTN”) concerning the tariff classification of certain adapter sleeves manufactured by NTN Bearing Corporation of America (“NTN”) under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The adapter sleeves are fixing sleeves, normally used to mount spherical bearings onto mechanical shafts. Based on information made available from NTN, the adapter sleeves in question are threaded steel sleeves that feature a slotted straight bore with a finely ground tapered surface on their outer circumference. The straight bore fits onto a round shaft, while the tapered outer surface is designed to accept bearings that have an inner ring with a matching taper. The bearing and sleeve can be fixed anywhere along the length of a round shaft by tightening a lockwasher onto the sleeve’s threads, which, in turn, compresses the slotted sleeve thereby fixing it in place.


Are the adapter sleeves classified under heading 8483, HTSUSA, as parts of transmission shafts or under heading 8482, HTSUSA, as parts of ball and roller bearings?


Classification under the HTSUSA is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides, in part, that classification decisions are to be "determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes." In the event that goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may then be applied. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level (for the 4 digit headings and the 6 digit subheadings) and facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI. While neither legally binding nor dispositive of classification issues, the EN provide commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127-28 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Petitioner asserts that the adapter sleeves are classifiable under heading 8483, HTSUSA, as parts of transmission shafts. In its Request for Internal Advice, petitioner states:

First, Section XV (sic), Note 2(a) indicates that parts which are goods included in any of the headings of chapter 84 or 85 (other than headings 8409, 8431, 8448, 8466, 8473, 8585, 8503, 8522, 8529, 8538, and 8548) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings. Hence, if the adapter sleeves are parts as described under HTSUS 8483.90.8080, the section note mandates that it be classified in heading 8483.

As the adapter sleeves are not goods included in any of the headings of chapters 84 or 85, HTSUSA, section XVI, note 2(a), HTSUS, is inapplicable. (See HQ 960834, dated August 15, 1997, for a similar situation in which cylindrical rollers were also found not to be goods included in the headings of chapters 84 or 85). We find section XVI, note 2(b) applicable

We note that Section XVI, note 2 has been held to constitute “special language” that renders the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation inapplicable, so the Additional Rules are inapplicable to the classification of the adapter sleeves.. Section XVI, note 2(b), in pertinent part, states:

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 .

We note that “machine” is defined in Section XVI, note 5, as “any machine, machinery, plant, equipment, apparatus or appliance cited in the headings of chapter 84 or 85.” This definition includes the ball or roller bearings cited in heading 8482, HTSUSA.

Petitioner asserts that the adapter sleeves can solely be used with transmission shafts. In its Request for Internal Advice, petitioner states:
the very nature of adapter sleeves requires them to be used with transmission shafts. They are designed and function so that a variety of power transmission devices—some of which are classified in different tariff provisions from each other—can be used to transmit their power through transmission shafts. Thus, in all of their uses, adapter sleeves are used solely with transmission shafts.

We find this assertion to be incorrect. While NTN or the parties that NTN supplies with the adapter sleeves may use the sleeves solely with transmission shafts, we find that the adapter sleeves can be utilized with any round shaft (e.g., round shafts serving as axles, in pulleys and gears, etc.), not solely with transmission shafts covered under heading 8483, HTSUSA.

We find that the adapter sleeves are specifically and principally used as parts of the bearings with which they are used. The tapered adapter sleeves are designed to be used with bearings that have a matching tapered bore. The sleeves permit the bearings to be mounted and fixed in place onto round shafts. The adapter sleeves are not part of the shafts onto which they are mounted because they do not complete or in any way enhance the functionality of the shaft. Regardless of whether or not the adapter sleeves are used with the transmission shafts of heading 8483, HTSUSA, the adapter sleeves are part of the bearing because they provide the means of mounting the bearing. “Bearing” can generally be defined as a friction-reducing mechanical element used to fix or hold a moving (usually rotating) component with respect to a component that is either stationary or in a non-compatible motion (e.g., components rotating in opposite directions). (See generally, THK America, Inc. v. United States, 17 CIT 1169 (1993), HQ 962384, dated January 25, 1999, and T.D. 94-22, dated February 28, 1994 and published in the Federal Register on March 22, 1994 (59 FR 13450)). In order for a bearing to fix or hold a component, it must be capable of being mounted onto that component. In HQ 960049, dated August 26, 1997, we stated:
it is apparent that for ball or roller bearings to function as friction-reducing elements they must necessarily have design features which permit them to attach to a shaft or machinery part with which they will be used.

As the adapter sleeves have design features, i.e., threading and tapering, that permit attachment of the bearing onto a mechanical shaft, which thereby enables the bearing to perform its intended function, i.e. to fix and hold moving machine parts and reduce friction, the sleeves qualify as “parts” of the bearing for tariff purposes. The ENs to heading 8482 also support classification under this heading. The ENs to heading 8482, state, in pertinent part, that the heading covers “parts of ball, roller or needle roller bearings, e.g.: (4) Rings, cages, fixing sleeves, etc.

NTN’s tapered adapter sleeves are “fixing sleeves” used to fix the location of a bearing along any round shaft and are explicitly named in the EN. The adapter sleeves clearly fall within the scope of heading 8482.

Finally, petitioner points out New York Ruling (NY) G86683, dated February 27, 2001, in which a keyed adapter sleeve was classified under subheading 8483.90.8080, HTSUSA. The instant adapter sleeve and the sleeve that was the subject of NY G86683 are substantially different. The keyed adapter sleeve in G86683 was classified under subheading 8483.90.8080, HTSUSA, because it was keyed to transmit torque and used to mount flywheels. The keyed sleeves are classified in subheading 8483.90.8080, HTSUSA, as parts of flywheels, not as parts of transmission shafts, because they complete the flywheel by providing the means of mounting. The instant adapter sleeve does not transmit torque and is not part of a flywheel. Rather, the instant adapter sleeve completes the bearings, permitting the bearings to be mounted and fixed in place onto round shafts


The adapter sleeves are classified in subheading 8482.99, HTSUSA, which provides for other parts of ball or roller bearings. Classification at the 8-digit and 10-digit levels will depend on which type of bearing the adapter sleeve is principally used with.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification), the importer should contact the local CBP office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

You are to mail this decision to the internal advice applicant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date, 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 methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Director

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