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HQ 967802

SEPTEMBER 30, 2005



TARIFF NO.: 8412.29.8045

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

RE: Protest 3901-04-101474; Hydraulic Motor/Gearbox

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 3901-04-101474, filed on behalf of Bosch Rexroth Corporation, against your classification of a combination hydraulic motor/gearbox under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).

The goods were entered under provisions of heading 8483, HTSUS, either as gears and gearing and other transmission elements entered separately, or as parts of gear boxes. They were reclassified under another provision of heading 8483 as other fixed, multiple and variable ratio speed changers, and the entries liquidated on August 6 and 27, 2004, under this provision. This protest was timely filed on November 8, 2004.


The merchandise at issue is hydraulic motor/gearbox combinations or hydraulic drive motors, part numbers 16558180, 16218282, 16213214 and 16216529. In general, hydraulic motors are powered by pressurized hydraulic fluid and transfer rotational kinetic energy to mechanical devices. The ones under protest are rotary piston-type hydraulic motors with additional sets of gears called
planetary gears which increase torque in a rotating crankshaft while reducing speed. In operation, a diesel engine or other outside source of power pumps the hydraulic fluid into cylinders in the motor. Unlike a gas, these fluids cannot be compressed, so when they are forced into a smaller cylinder the amount of force is multiplied. Hydraulic drive motors are commonly used in snow blowers, fork-lift trucks, dredgers, harvesters and combines, industrial-type shredders, earth moving equipment, and other types of industrial and farming machinery.

The 2003 HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8412 Other engines and motors, and parts thereof:

Hydraulic power engines and motors:

8412.29 Other:


Transmission shafts;; gears and gearing;; parts thereof:

Gears and gearing,and other transmission elements entered separately;:

Gear boxes and other speed changers:

Fixed ratio speed changers, multiple and variable ratio speed changers each ratio of which is selected by manual manipulation:

8483.40.50 Other

Gears and gearing,, and other transmission elements entered separately


Whether the hydraulic drive motors are other engines and motors of heading 8412.


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.

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

Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS, states that unless the context otherwise requires, 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. Note 5 states that for the purposes of the Section XVI notes the expression “machine” means any machine, machinery, plant, equipment, apparatus or appliance cited in the headings of chapter 84 or 85.

The entries were liquidated under subheading 8483.40.50, HTSUS, based on NY I81342, dated May 29, 2002, concerning hydrostatic transmissions, a type of speed changer. Protestant maintains that this ruling does not govern the classification of hydraulic drive motors which he maintains are properly classifiable as hydraulic power engines and motors in heading 8412, HTSUS. Protestant contends these motors are the hydraulic equivalent of electric clutch motors and needle positioner motors - referred to by protestant as gearmotors - which NY 835179, dated January 20, 1989 and HQ 083955, dated July 10, 1989, classified as other AC single-phase electric motors, in subheading 8501.40.40, HTSUS.

We agree that NY I81342 does not govern classification of the instant merchandise. Hydrostatic transmissions typically consist of a hydraulic pump coupled to a hydraulic motor in a common housing. An outside power source drives the pump which outputs a high pressure stream of fluid into the hydraulic motor which converts this force to rotation and torque. The instant motors utilize an external hydraulic pump driven off a power source, often an engine located somewhere else in the facility, to provide fluid under pressure to the motor which, in turn, provides rotation to the planetary gear box to power the application.

In our opinion, protestant’s reliance on the NY 835179 and HQ 083955 as authority for classifying the rotary hydraulic drive motors at issue is misplaced. These rulings cited with approval relevant 85.01 ENs which, in discussing rotary motors, stated “Motors remain classified [in heading 8501] even when they are equipped with pulleys, with gears or gear boxes, or with a flexible shaft for operating hand tools.” HQ 083955 concluded “It therefore appears that electric motors imported with additional components which complement the function of a motor were intended to remain classifiable in heading 8501.” The 84.12 ENs discuss a variety of hydraulic power engines and motors but do not sanction the inclusion of “pulleys, gears or gear boxes, or flexible shafts for operating hand tools” of the type mentioned in the 85.01 ENs.

The hydraulic drive motors at issue qualify as composite machines under Section XVI, Note 3, HTSUS. The General ENs to Section XVI state that composite machines include machines of different kinds (in this case motors of heading 8412 and gear boxes of heading 8483) “fitted together to form a whole,” that is, incorporated one in the other or mounted one on the other, or mounted on a common base or frame or in a common housing. Submitted literature confirms that the hydraulic motors at issue conform to this description. Although it is the planetary gear box that actually powers the application, it is the hydraulic motor, supplied with pressurized fluid by an external hydraulic pump driven off an external source of power, that provides the necessary rotation to the gear box. Therefore, we conclude that it is the hydraulic motor component that performs the principal function of this composite machine, the whole being classifiable in heading 8412.


Under the authority of GRI 1, and Section XVI, Note 3, the hydraulic motors/gearboxes are provided for in heading 8412. They are classifiable as axial piston type hydraulic power engines and motors, in subheading 8412.29.8045, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The 2003 general column 1 rate of duty is free.

The protest should be ALLOWED. In accordance with the Protest/Petition Processing Handbook (CIS HB, January 2002, pp. 18 and 21), 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
of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the 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 methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial and Trade Facilitation Division

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