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HQ 967894

OCTOBER 26, 2005



TARIFF NO.: 8703

Mr. Ashok B. Khiamal
11 North Street
Old Bridge, NJ 08857

RE: Motor Vehicles Imported for Parts

Dear Mr. Khiamal:

In a letter dated August 3, 2005, to the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), New York, you inquire as to the classification of certain motor vehicles under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), you propose to import in five possible scenarios. Your letter has been forwarded to this office for reply.


The motor vehicles at issue are the Austin Mini motor vehicle from the UK, model year 1990 to 1998. You propose to purchase complete vehicles over eBay.co.uk and import them for use solely as parts for two Austin Mini classic cars you currently own. You indicate that no DOT or EPA documentation will be required as these vehicles will be untitled, and used as parts only. We
will address the tariff status of each of the following scenarios as you describe them:

1990 –1998 Austin Mini – Accident Damaged – NON REPAIRABLE complete vehicle. Vehicle shipped RO/RO. Vehicle is drivable;

1990 – 1998 Austin Mini – Engine and or transmission damaged – non-running or driving. Vehicle shipped RO/RO. Possible towed onboard;

1990 – 1998 Austin Mini – Rolling Chassis – Engine and Transmission removed from vehicle. Body and interior is intact. Vehicle shipped RO/RO. (This would be $250 more since vehicle cannot be driven onto the boat and has to be towed.);

1990 - 1998 Austin Mini complete car – Car completely dismantled and put into crate and shipped to the USA. (This is most expensive and finding a person to perform this task is proving to be difficult. I would probably have to go over to the UK);

1990 – 1998 Austin Mini – Complete car with body or chassis rusted. Mechanical parts to be used only i.e., engine transmission, suspensions and brakes.


Whether the merchandise imported in each of the five scenarios are motor vehicles of heading 8703.


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. GRI 2(a), HTSUS, 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.

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

Initially, heading 8703, HTSUS, provides for motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons (other than those of heading 8702), including station wagons and racing cars. Such motor vehicles with spark-ignition internal combustion reciprocating piston engine are classifiable in subheadings 8703.21.00 through and including 8703.24.00, HTSUS, depending on cylinder capacity. Such motor vehicles with compression-ignition internal combustion piston engine (diesel or semi-diesel) are classifiable in subheadings 8703.31.00 through and including 8703.33.00, HTSUS, depending on cylinder capacity. Motor cars and other motor vehicles having engines other than those described are classifiable in subheading 8703.90.00, HTSUS, as motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, other.

Scenarios 1, 2 and 5

Articles are classified and assessed with duty under the tariff provision that most clearly and accurately describes them, even if damaged. See C.J. Tower & Sons v. United States, 24 Cust. Ct. 39, C.D. 1204 (1950).

Scenario 3:

This is a complete motor vehicle, minus engine and transmission. It is an incomplete or unfinished article pursuant to GRI 2(a). The term "essential character" under the HTSUS, has been interpreted 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 966681, dated November 25, 2003. Cost or value data for this merchandise is not available. Nevertheless, a complete motor vehicle with body and interior intact, minus only the engine and transmission, leaves the form and shape and every visually apparent characteristic of a motor vehicle intact. This import has the aggregate of distinctive component parts that
establishes its identity as what it is, i.e., a motor vehicle for the transport of persons. The vehicle in scenario 3 is a motor vehicle of heading 8703, HTSUS, imported incomplete or unfinished.

Scenario 4:

This is a complete or finished motor vehicle that has been disassembled and all components packaged for shipment. It is imported unassembled or disassembled. The ENs to GRI 2(a) state that articles are presented unassembled or disassembled usually for reasons such as requirements or convenience of packing, handling or transport. The ENs indicate further that the components of such articles are to be assembled by means of fixing devices (screws, nuts, bolts, etc.) or by riveting or welding, for example, provided only assembly operations are involved. No account is to be taken in that regard of the complexity of the assembly method. However, the components shall not be subjected to any further working operation for completion into the finished state. Notwithstanding your stated intent to use the unassembled vehicle as replacement parts only, and not to reassemble the components, the import remains fully capable of reassembly and, upon importation, otherwise is in conformity with these ENs. Under the facts presented, the import consists of all components and subassemblies of a single, identifiable motor vehicle and is to be distinguished from components imported in bulk, i.e., inventory for a motor vehicle assembly operation. See HQ 083222, dated April 25, 1989, and HQ 081999, dated December 10, 1990. The vehicle in scenario 4 is a motor vehicle of heading 8703, HTSUS, imported unassembled or disassembled.


Under the authority of GRI 1 and 2(a), HTSUS, the merchandise described in scenarios 1 through 5 is provided for in heading 8703. It is classifiable in the subheadings of that heading, as appropriate. The general, column 1, rate of duty under each of these subheadings is 2.5 percent ad valorem.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov/tata/hts.


Gail A. Hamill, Chief
Tariff Classification and Marking Branch

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