Section XVI of the HTS is comprised of Chapters 84 and 85 and respectively covers “Nuclear Reactors, Boilers, Machinery, Mechanical Appliances; Parts Thereof”, “Electrical Machinery and Equipment and Parts Thereof; Sound Recorders and Reproducers, Television Image and Sound Recorders and Reproducers, and parts and accessories of such Articles.” This is such a wide range of machinery that in order to properly classify merchandise under these Chapters one needs to understand several important rules that apply specifically to Section XVI articles.
The first important rule is found in the notes to Section XVI. Section XVI note 2(a) provides that parts of machines “which are goods included in any of the headings of chapter 84 or 85” (other than goods in the “parts provisions” such as 8409, 8431, etc.) are in all cases to be classified in their respective headings.” Furthermore, Section Note 5 provides that “For the purposes of these notes, the expression ‘machine’ means any machine, machinery, plant, equipment, apparatus, or appliance cited in the headings of chapter 84 or 85”. Thus, even if an article is specially designed to be a component of a machine found in Chapter 84 or 85, and is only suitable for that purpose, but otherwise is a good included under Chapter 84 or 85, the item must be classified as an article unto itself under the particular Chapter 84 or 85 heading rather than a part of the larger machine.
For example, bearings (8482), compressors (8414) and gaskets (8484) which might be specially designed for use in a refrigerator unit (8418) will still be classified as bearings, compressors, and gaskets individually rather than parts of the refrigerator, as they are goods included under a heading of Chapter 84. In the same way a wiring harness (8544), a transformer (8504), and a fuse (8535) incorporated into a computer (8471) will remain classified in their respective headings rather than as parts of the computer.
A similar rule applies to another large category of machinery, in particular the articles of Section XVII which covers “Vehicles, Aircraft, Vessels, and Associated Transport Equipment”. While Section XVII merchandise would in most cases certainly meet the ordinary definition of a “machine”, the HTS carves out machinery related to transportation equipment and segregates it from Section XVI machines. Similar to Section XVI note 2(a) discussed above, Section XVII Note 2(e) provides that “parts” and “parts and accessories” of Section XVII articles do not include “Machines or apparatus of headings 8401 to 8479, or articles of heading 8481 (valves) or 8482 (ball or roller bearings) or, provided they constitute integral parts of engines or motors, articles of heading 8483 (transmission shafts, other bearings, etc.). In addition to this, Section XVII note 2(a) also excludes heading 8484 gaskets from being classified as parts of Section XVII goods.
As these headings cover nearly all of the goods of Chapter 84, similar to our refrigerator example above, even if a component is specifically designed for use on Section XVII transportation equipment, so long as it is classifiable as a good unto itself under these Chapter 84 headings, it will in all cases be classified there rather than as part of the Section XVII article. As another example, applying the Section XVII notes a gasoline engine (8407), roller bearings (8482), and gaskets (8484) incorporated into a passenger vehicle (8703) will all remain classifiable under their Chapter 84 headings rather than as parts of the 8703 vehicle .
In a very similar way Section XVII note 2(f) also excludes Chapter 85 electrical machinery and parts from being classified as parts of Section XVII articles, so a classifier can likely expect that when classifying an electrical component chances are it will stay under its heading in Chapter 85, even if specially designed for use as a component on a Section XVI machine or a Section XVII transport article. Also the Chapter notes of the HTS, such as Chapter 90, contain exclusionary provisions related to Chapter 84 and 85 goods. As illustrated above, it is critical that a classifier be familiar with all of the legal text of the HTS, including the Section and Chapter notes, and apply the rules carefully when making any classification determination. When in doubt, check with your experienced trade professional for additional support in order to assure compliance with CBP’s reasonable care requirements.