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HQ 954911
October 25, 1993
CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 954911 KCC
CATEGORY: Classification
TARIFF NO.: 8501; 8608.00.00
Richard C. Hall, President Universal Gate Operators, Inc.

5301 Southcenter Blvd.

Seattle, Washington 98188
RE: Gate Operating Devices; Power Arm Swing Gate Opener; Power Slide 500; Power Post Swing Gate Opener; Barrier Arm; EN 85.01; HQ 952500; HQ 083955; HQ 087909; HQ 950557; HQ 950834; EN 86.08
Dear Mr. Hall:

This is in response to your letter dated August 21, 1993, to the Commissioner of Customs, requesting the tariff classification of gate operating devices under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter and descriptive information were forwarded to this office for a response.


The submitted information describes the gate operating devices as follows:

1. Power Arm Swing Gate Opener (Model 301) consists of a 24- volt DC permanent magnet motor connected to ball screw and direct drive steel gears. It is designed to laterally pull the gate open or push it closed.

2. Power Slide 500 appears to be a gear motor with a 24-volt DC motor.

3. Power Post Swing Gate Opener is a post containing a 24-volt DC permanent power magnet attached to a ball-screw actuator which moves a power transfer fixture in a rotary motion to open and close a gate.

4. Barrier Arm consists of a 24-volt DC permanent magnet motor and direct-drive steel gear low-friction ball screw actuator contained in an aluminum housing. The motor powers the actuator to raise and lower a barrier arm to control the flow of traffic.


What is the tariff classification of the gate operating devices under the HTSUS?

The classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1, HTSUS, states, in part, that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes...."
Heading 8501, HTSUS, provides for "Electric motors and generators...." In understanding the language of the headings of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HCDCS) Explanatory Notes (ENs) may be utilized. The ENs, although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989). EN 85.01 (I)(A) (pg. 1334), states that:

[m]otors remain classified here even when they are equipped with pulleys, with gears or gear boxes, or with a flexible shaft for operating hand tools.
The heading includes "outboard motors" for the propulsion of boats, in the form of a unit comprising an electric motor, shaft, propeller and a rudder.

Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 952500, dated October 16, 1992, held that a DC motor, gearbox and encoder assembly was classified under subheading 8501.10.40, HTSUS, as an electric motor. HQ 952500 stated that:

[t]he Explanatory Notes and the rulings interpreting heading 8501, HTSUS, make it clear that electric motors equipped with additional components, remain classifiable in this heading, even if those other components are "quite substantial." However, it is equally clear that heading 8501, HTSUS, does not encompass every assembly which includes an electric motor. When confronted with an assembly incorporating a motor which includes additional
components other than those listed in Explanatory Note 85.01, HTSUS, the rulings described above provide the following guidelines--an electric motor is classifiable under heading 8501, HTSUS, even when imported with additional components (other than those listed in Explanatory Note 85.01) if:

(1) those additional components complement the function of the motor [HQ 083955 (dated July 10, 1989)]; (2) those additional components are devices which motors are commonly equipped [HQ 087909 (dated December 26, 1990)]; (3) those additional components serve merely to transmit the power the motors produce [HQ 950557 (dated December 26, 1991)].

The HQ dates in parenthesis have been added. See also, HQ 950834 dated March 6, 1992, which did not classify an automotive passive seat belt rail assembly under heading 8501, HTSUS, because it did not fall into one of the three categories of assemblies listed above, nor was it similar to the acceptable additional equipment as listed in EN 85.01.

Based on the above standards, we are of the opinion that the Power Arm Swing Gate Opener, Power Slide 500 and Power Post Swing Gate Opener are classified under heading 8501, HTSUS. The gate operating devices are essentially motors with additional equipment that is acceptable pursuant to EN 85.01 and/or falls within one of the three categories listed above. Classification to the eight digit level is dependant upon the output of the motor.

Subheading 8608.00.00, HTSUS provides for "Railway or tramway track fixtures and fittings; mechanical (including electro-mechanical) signaling, safety or traffic control equipment for railways, tramways, roads, inland waterways, parking facilities, port installations or airfields...." En 86.08 (pg. 1420) states that the heading "covers essentially apparatus in which the signal, etc., is operated from a control point, generally at some distance, by the movement of levers, cranks, wires...or electric motors." The Barrier Arm satisfies the terms of this heading as it is a mechanical piece of equipment designed to control traffic. Therefore, the Barrier Arm is classified under subheading 8608.00.00, HTSUS.


The Power Arm Swing Gate Opener, Power Slide 500, and Power Swing Gate Opener are classified under heading 8501, HTSUS, as electric motors. Classification to the eight digit level is dependant upon the output of the motors.

The Barrier Arm is classified under subheading 8608.00.00, HTSUS, as traffic control equipment for parking facilities, which is dutiable at the Column 1 rate of 5.7 percent ad valorem.

John Durant, Director 

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