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HQ 085424

November 29, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:CV:G: 085424 JLV; 843926 NY


TARIFF NO.: 8701.30.50; 8708.99.50

Ms. Connie Kallenbach
3067 Unionville Pike
Hatfield, PA 19440

RE: Formatic 4 tractor with power-driven trailer; track- laying motor vehicle and trailer

Dear Ms. Kallenbach:

In a letter of July 27, 1989, you requested a ruling on the tariff classification of a track-laying motor vehicle and power-driven trailer which will be imported together. Your request was in response to a ruling letter of May 31, 1989 (file 840723), in which the Formatic 2 was classified in subheading 8701.30.5015, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), but additional information was requested on the Formatic 4 and trailer.


The Formatic 4 base unit is identical in size and engine to the Formatic 2, and is similarly described as an all- terrain motor vehicle that can be used to transport persons and goods and to push or pull equipment. The distinguishing feature is the additional coupling designed to permit the use of a powered trailer with the base unit. When the Formatic 4 is coupled with the specially-designed powered trailer, the steering is changed from a skid-steer system to an articulated steering (body steer) controlled by hydraulic cylinders at the coupling. In order to accommodate the powered trailer, the Formatic 4 must have a hydraulic connection to supply fluid to the two hydraulic motors in the trailer. Both the Formatic 4 and the powered trailer are track-laying vehicles, i.e., mounted on tracks rather than on wheels.

The trailer, fitted with the standard cargo bed, has a loading area of 1600 mm by 2400 mm amd a load capacity of 1800 kg. With the standard cargo bed, it is designed with mountings for various accessories and machines, such as a
crane, hydraulic support legs and log holders, and protection gratings. The trailer frame can also be fitted with a passenger cabin for 10 persons. The passenger cabin and the standard cargo bed are options which can be relatively easily attached to the powered trailer frame.

The trailer, although described as "powered" and designed with two hydraulic motors to provide tractive power to the tracks, is not self-propelled. The trailer does not have its own power source (motor and hydraulic pump to power the two hydraulic motors). The two hydraulic motors can become functional only when the trailer is coupled to the Formatic 4 tractor and its hydraulic system. Furthermore, the trailer has no independent steering system.

The two hydraulic motors can be disengaged and the trailer towed in free wheel when the additional traction is not required. Although the trailer can be towed in free wheel, it cannot be safely used as trailer by any other type of vehicle because of the unique coupling device.

The Formatic 4 and powered trailer are produced in Finland.


What is the classification of the Formatic 4 and the powered trailer, if imported together? If classified separately, is the powered trailer "mechanically propelled" within the meaning of heading 8716?


In a ruling of May 31, 1989 (file 840723), the Formatic 2 all-terrain vehicle was classified under the provision for other track-laying tractors in subheading 8701.30.50, HTSUSA. This ruling controls the classification of the Formatic 4 base unit which is substantially the same in design and, because of this design, falls under note 2, chapter 87, HTSUSA. Although the rear deck of the Formatic 4 has a cargo-carrying function, it is subsidiary to the basic vehicle design, which is to push or pull equipment, such as a snowblade, snow tiller, ski track machine, front loader, bush and grass cutter, and trailer.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 87.01 are instructive on the classification of tractors fitted with other machinery. Interchangeable working tools, even when fitted to tractors, remain classified in their appropriate
headings. In this case, the Formatic 4 tractor will be imported with a trailer. The powered trailer is a specialized accessory for the tractor. It is powered by the hydraulic system of the tractor. The trailer is designed for accepting various tools and equipment, such as a passenger module, cargo bed, sky lift, rotator and grapple, drill, excavator shovel, and special cargo attachments (support legs, log holders, protection gratings), all of which can be attached or removed relatively easily. The trailer requires a special coupling that is built into the Formatic 4, and it cannot be used or towed by another vehicle.

The powered trailer is not a "semi-trailer" as the term is commonly used, because the trailer is not supported in part by the tractor. However, the trailer remains separately classified because the trailer functions as an accessory to the tractor. The Formatic 4 tractor is fully functional without the powered trailer. The powered trailer, as an accessory device for use with the tractor, provides a versatile trailer for transporting articles, for supporting various tools and equipment, or for personnel transport.

Heading 8716 covers trailers and semi-trailers, and other vehicles, not mechanically propelled [emphasis added]. The trailer, in this case, has the same type of hydraulic motors as does the tractor. The trailer, however, is not self- propelled because it has no self-contained power source or steering mechanism. The question, therefore, is whether the powered trailer is mechanically propelled within the meaning of heading 8716.

The term "mechanically propelled" is not synonymous with "self-propelled." For example, wheelchairs with a mechanical device for propulsion when operated by the physical action of the operator are not self-propelled. They are, however, mechanically propelled. In this case, the hydraulic motors, powered by a pump located on a tractor, provide mechanical propulsion to the tracks on the trailer. Furthermore, the means by which it is "steered," i.e., towed by a tractor, does not make the trailer any less "mechanically propelled" by the two hydraulic motors. Heading 8716 covers trailers, semi- trailers, and other vehicles, not mechanically propelled. Therefore, the powered trailer for the Formatic 4 is precluded from classification in heading 8716.

By its design, the powered trailer is principally or solely used with the Formatic 4 tractor. Absent a more specific provision for this type of mechanically propelled
trailer, it is classifiable as an accessory for a tractor of heading 8701 in heading 8708, HTSUSA. Note 3, section XVII, HTSUSA.


The Formatic 4 tractor base is classified as a track- laying tractor, other, in subheading 8701.30.50, HTSUSA, dutiable at 2.2 percent ad valorem. The powered trailer is classified as an other accessory of a motor vehicle of heading 8701, other, in subheading 8708.99.50, HTSUS, dutiable at 3.1 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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