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HQ 967236

OCTOBER 15, 2004

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 967236 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8501.10.4060

Daniel J. Gluck
Serko & Simon LLP
1700 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

RE: Power Fold; automotive side view mirror positioning device; NY K81259 clarified

Dear Mr. Gluck:

In a letter to the Director of Customs National Commodity Specialist Division (NCSD), New York, dated June 14, 2004, you request reconsideration of a ruling issued to you on December 15, 2003, on behalf of the Eaton Corporation. The issue is the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States HTSUS), of the Eaton 240 Power Fold. Your request, together with samples of the merchandise and the complete mirror assembly in which it is incorporated, have been forwarded to this office for appropriate action.

In the ruling at issue, NY K81259, which the NCSD issued to you on December 15, 2003, the Eaton 240 Power Fold was found to be classifiable as other electric motors of an output of under 18.65 W, in subheading 8501.10.40, HTSUS. You maintain the device is classifiable as other parts and accessories of [motor vehicle] bodies, in subheading 8708.29.50, HTSUS.

Factual issues and legal arguments were discussed extensively in telephone conferences between you and a member of my staff on September 10 and 30, and again on October 4, 2004. You confirmed these conversations in a submission, dated September 23, 2004, and in email transmissions, dated October 1 and 4, 2004.


The Eaton 240 Power Fold is an electro-mechanical device designed for incorporation into a motor vehicle side view mirror that permits the driver to fold the mirror either electrically or manually from the view position to the park position and the reverse. The Power Fold consists of a spring loaded shaft about which the body of the mirror (housing, frame and cover) can rotate, a claw clutch and clutch gear mechanism, two “planet” (planetary) gears and a motor-operated dual worm gear. Operating manually, the claw clutch separates from the clutch gear and the spring compresses, which enables the mirror head to freely rotate around the shaft. Thus, the mirror head can be folded by hand to enable the vehicle to drive safely into a tight parking space or other narrow opening. The mirror is also free to fold away if the vehicle strikes an obstacle. On the return stroke, the claw clutch sits back into the notched clutch gear, and the spring decompresses to stabilize the mirror head. In manual operation the motor is not involved. Push-button activation of the motor positions the mirror by turning the dual worm gear and planetary gears which interface with the claw clutch and clutch gear, the former of which is splined onto and rotates the shaft.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

Electric motors and generators:

8501.10 Motors of an output not exceeding 37.5 W:

Of under 18.65 W:


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

Other parts and accessories of bodies (including cabs):

8708.29.50 Other


Whether the Power Fold is a good of heading 8501 or of heading 8708.


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.

Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, states that composite machines consisting of two or more machines fitted together to form a whole and other machines designed for the purpose of performing two or more complementary or alternative functions are to be classified as if consisting only of that component or as being that machine which performs the principal function.

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 and Border Protection believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

You advance the following arguments in support of classification in subheading 8708.29.50: the requirements for classification in heading 8708, HTSUS, are met, i.e., the Power Fold is suitable for use solely or principally with motor vehicles of headings 8701 to 8705, and it is not excluded by the Section XVII legal notes; numerous rulings classify substantially similar devices in subheading 8708.29.50, HTSUS; the Power Fold cannot be classified in subheading 8501.10.40 because it contains mechanical features, i.e., claw clutch and clutch gear, which do not complement the function of the motor and with which electric motors are not normally equipped; the Power Fold is not a composite machine under Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, because the claw clutch and clutch gear are provided for in subheadings of heading 8708; and finally, because clutches and gears are prima facie classifiable both in heading 8483 and in heading 8708, they cannot automatically be classified in heading 8483, hence 8483 is not a specific provision which Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(c), HTSUS, requires shall prevail over a provision for “parts” or for “parts and accessories.”

You have cited numerous administrative rulings which you maintain either support classification of the Power Fold in subheading 8708.29.50 or support its exclusion from heading 8501. We have thoroughly examined these rulings, and have carefully considered the legal arguments you have presented. For purposes of expediency, we will omit discussion of rulings on dissimilar merchandise and authorities not directly on point and, therefore, not believed controlling. Instead, we will limit our discussion to the rulings and legal authorities on which we believe this case turns. See Apple Computer, Inc. v. United States, 749 F. Supp. 1142, Slip Op. 90-111 (Ct. Int’l Trade, decided October 19, 1990).

Initially, the applicable section and chapter notes must be examined for any instruction they provide. In this regard, Section XVI, Note 1(l), HTSUS, excludes articles of Section XVII. Section XVII, Note 2(f), HTSUS, excludes from the expressions “parts” and “parts and accessories” electrical machinery or equipment (chapter 85). Thus, if the Power Fold is found to be a good classifiable in heading 8501 or elsewhere in chapter 85, it cannot be classified in heading 8708.

As to your assertion that the requirements for classification in heading 8708 are met, the General Explanatory Notes to Section XVII, (III) PARTS AND ACCESSORIES, add a requirement you fail to mention, i.e., the good must not be more specifically included elsewhere in the Nomenclature.

In HQ 088233, dated May 1, 1991, a case you cite, a lighted make-up mirror consisting of glass mirror with plastic frame, electrical wiring and components, and lamps with fittings, was held to be a composite good under GRI 3(b), with the essential character imparted by the glass mirror. Hence, classification in subheading 7009.92.10, HTSUS, glass mirrors, whether or not framed, obtained. GRI 3(b) was found to be the appropriate authority in that case because the components were prima facie classifiable in different chapters and sections of the HTSUS, and the good could not be classified at GRI 1. It is our opinion in this case that, at GRI 1, the Power Fold is a composite machine under Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, which is to be classified as if consisting only of the machine or component which performs the principal function or, if none can be found, under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration, by application of GRI 3(c), HTSUS, pursuant to the General Explanatory Notes to Section XVI. See Kanematsu USA Inc., v. United States, 185 F. Supp. 2d 1364, Slip Op. 02-9 (Ct. Int’l Trade, decided January 29, 2002), on PTO electric clutch/electromagnetic brake combinations. Under the facts presented here, the Power Fold has components which perform functions that complement each other. The claw clutch and clutch gear, both described by heading 8483, permit the mirror to be positioned/folded manually, while the electric motor with dual worm gear and planetary gears, described by heading 8501, perform the same function automatically. Neither function appears to be either more or less significant than the other, as both facilitate movement of the mirror. As no principal function can be determined, the Power Fold is to be classified in heading 8501, as if consisting only of the electric motor. By operation of Section XVII, Note 2(f), which excludes electrical machinery or equipment of Chapter 85, the Power Fold cannot be classified in heading 8708, HTSUS. In addition, because the Power Fold is specifically included elsewhere in the Nomenclature, i.e., heading 8501, a criteria for classification in heading 8708 is unsatisfied. You claim that Section XVI, Note 3 is not the controlling authority because at least the clutch component of the Power Fold is provided for in heading 8708 as it can only be used with motor vehicle
side view mirrors. We disagree. Clutch assemblies of the type provided for in heading 8708 are used with automatic and manual transmissions for motor vehicles. See HQ 963031, dated March 3, 2000. Moreover, side view mirror assemblies for motor vehicles, of which the Power Fold is a component, are not classifiable in heading 8708. They are classifiable as glass mirrors, framed, including rear-view mirrors, in subheading 7009.92.10 or 7009.92.50, HTSUS, depending on reflecting area, pursuant to the analysis in HQ 088233, previously cited.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the Eaton 240 Power Fold is provided for in heading 8501. It is classifiable in subheading 8501.10.4060, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), as other electric motors of an output of under 18.65 W. NY K81259, dated December 15, 2003, is clarified as to its reference to essential character. The ruling is otherwise affirmed.

As requested, the sample Power Fold and side view mirror assembly are being returned under separate cover.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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