In the July 13, 2022, Customs Bulletin and Decisions, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reclassifying a timing chain tensioner and a tensioner arm assembly as parts of an engine under HTSUS 8409.91.50 (2.5 percent duty) rather than as parts of a motor vehicle under HTSUS 8708.99.8180 (2.5 percent duty). Rulings HQ H316286 and HQ H316285 will revoke rulings NY N264870 and NY N264869, respectively, to reflect this change.

The tensioner consists of a steel housing, a spring, a rachet ring, and a plunger. In controlling the tension of the timing chain the tensioner performs a dampening function, maintaining the stability of the stretched chain during operation. The tensioner arm assembly comprises a plastic shoe and base that together attach to the timing chain and maintain its constant and regular orbit. One end is fixed to the engine with a bolt while the other transmits pressure from the tensioner to the chain and maintains its tension.

CBP explains that these items are integral, constituent parts of an engine because if the timing chain does not function properly power cannot be transferred to the camshafts in the precise ratio required. Similarly, without the precise functioning of the timing chain, the engine valves will not open and close properly and the engine will fail. Without the tensioner and the tensioner arm assembly, the timing chain cannot function and the engine cannot properly ignite the fuel mixture inside the cylinder.

For more information on how to seek or utilize classification and other rulings, please contact attorney Deb Stern at (305) 894-1007 or via email. Click here to see a list of our upcoming webinars on classification issues.

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