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HQ 089015

JULY 26, 1991

CLA-2:CO:R:C:M 089015 JAS


TARIFF NO. 8429.40.00

Bruce Benedict
John V. Carr & Son, Inc.
50 Monroe Ave., N.W., Suite 250
Grand Rapids, Michigan 40503

RE: Soil Compactors; Vibrating Earth Compacting Machines

Dear Sir:

In your letter of March 18, 1991, on behalf of J. I. Case, Inc., Racine, Wisc., you inquire as to the tariff status of certain vibrating compactors from Germany. Literature was submitted. Our ruling follows.


Your inquiry relates to the following models:

SL1 Rammer 900 Plate Compactor
SL2 Rammer 1300 Plate Compactor
AT22 Reversible Plate Compactor 50 Vibratory Roller AT40 Reversible Plate Compactor 70 Vibratory Roller 600 Plate Compactor

Submitted Literature describes a series of power rollers, vibrators and compactors for use in road work, construction, asphalt paving and other earthworks applications. The listed models weigh from 127 lbs. to 1587 lbs. and are hand operated or controlled from behind by means of handlebars or yokes utilizing a self-contained, non-electric (gasoline) motor.


Whether the listed models are self-propelled compacting machines of heading 8429.


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.

The Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the Customs Cooperation Council's official interpretation of the Harmonized System. While not legally binding on the contracting parties, and therefore not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the notes should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80.

Relevant ENs indicate that the machines of heading 8429 include self-propelled compacting machines, to include tamping machines and road rollers, both of which are used in road building. These are to be distinguished from certain earth compacting rammers classified in heading 8467 as tools for working in the hand. The ENs indicate the expression "tools for working in the hand" relates to tools designed to be held in the hand during use. It also covers heavier tools such as earth rammers which are portable and can be lifted and moved by hand by the user, in particular while work is in progress, and which are designed to be controlled and directed by hand during operation. To obviate the fatigue of taking their full weight during operation they may be used with auxiliary supporting devices such as tripods, jacklegs and overhead lifting tackle.

Heading 8467 expressly excludes tools which, because of their weight, size, etc., obviously cannot be used in the hand as described. This is significant because literature on the models SL1 and SL2 advertises transport wheels as optional equipment. If these models are imported with these wheels attached, then the issue of their portability for heading 8467 purposes is raised. This does not appear to be the case here.


The nine (9) models of the vibratory compactors and road rollers in issue are provided for in heading 8429. They are
classifiable in subheading 8429.40.00, HTSUSA, tamping machines and road rollers. The rate of duty is 2.5 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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