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HQ 086888

AUG 2 1990

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 086888 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8426.12.0000

Mr. Terence Derry
Valmet Materials Handling Equipment, Inc. 1520 Randolph Avenue
Avenel, N.J. 07001

RE: Container Stacker Straddle Carrier

Dear Mr. Derry:

In your letter of April 2, 1990, you inquire as to the tariff classification of container handling straddle carriers from Finland. Our ruling follows.


Descriptive literature you submitted depicts self- propelled machines used in container terminals to load, unload, stack and transport containers over short distances. They consist of a large steel superstructure/chassis mounted on two parallel sets of wheels. The wheels turn independently for maximum maneuverability. The superstructure is open at both ends to permit the straddle carrier to be driven over and straddle the container to be lifted. Lifting is accomplished by means of two horizontal, heavy duty cylinders mounted on the top frame, lift chains, and a T-shaped telescopic top lift spreader designed to handle all sizes of containers. The operator's cabin is located at the top of the superstructure for clear visibility.


Whether the straddle carrier in issue is a works truck fitted with lifting or handling equipment.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 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 and, provided the headings or notes do not require otherwise, according to GRIs 2 through 6.

You maintain that under the HTSUSA predecessor tariff code, the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), these straddle carriers were free of duty. The HTS equivalent, heading 8427, is a duty-free provision for fork-lift trucks and other works trucks fitted with lifting or handling equipment. Heading 8426, on the other hand, provides for derricks, cranes, including cable cranes, mobile lifting frames, straddle carriers and works trucks fitted with a crane.

Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. Though not binding, they provide a commentary on the scope of the Harmonized System, and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes they should always be consulted. Relevant ENs describe the straddle carriers of heading 84.26 as consist[ing] of a chassis of the "straddle" type, generally with vertical telescopic members for adjusting the height. This chassis is normally mounted on four or more tyred wheels which usually serve both as driving and steering wheels so as to permit maneuvering within a very small radius. Straddle carriers are used in factories, warehouses, dock areas, airports etc., for handling long loads or for stacking containers. These notes describe the machines in issue here. In addition, ENs describing the trucks and equipment of heading 84.27 specifically exclude straddle carriers and works trucks fitted with a crane of heading 84.26.

While the underlying intent in converting the TSUS to the HTSUSA was to be revenue neutral to the greatest extent possible, it was recorgnized that in some cases the conversion would result in changes in duty rates. Regrettably, this is such a case.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the Valmet container stacker straddle carrier is provided for by name in heading 8426.

Actual classification is in subheading 8426.12.0000, HTSUSA, mobile lifting frames on tires and straddle carriers. The rate of duty is 2 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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