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HQ 952244

October 5, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 952244 LTO


TARIFF NO.: 8433.11.00

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
Patrick V. McNamara Building
477 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48266

RE: Protest No. 3801-92-101369; Seaforth 92" Tri-Deck Rotary Grass Mowers; HQ 066221; 8433.20.00; 666.00, TSUS; 666.10, TSUS

Dear Sir:

This is our decision on Protest No. 3801-92-101369, dated April 16, 1992, which concerns the classification of the Seaforth 92" Tri-Deck Rotary Grass Mower under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The subject of this protest is the Seaforth 92" Tri-Deck Rotary Grass Mower [92" Mower]. These mowers function with their cutting blades operating in a horizontal plane, and are powered from the power take off (PTO) of a tractor. They are pulled behind a tractor for the purpose of cutting grass on sod farms. Sod farms are horticultural concerns dedicated to the production, growth and sale of sod or turf.

The mowers in question can cut a large, 22-foot swath in a single pass. They have twelve large, low pressure flotation tires, which are staggered to provide minimal soil penetration. The flotation characteristic imparted by the mower's twelve tires allows for contour mowing within one inch of the ground. The mower's open back allows the cut grass to be evenly dispersed behind, thus eliminating damage caused by windrowing. The protestant states that, because of their enormous size, use of these mowers other than for cutting grass on sod farms is
contrary to their design and intended function.

The mowers were entered under subheading 8433.20.00, HTSUS, which provides for other mowers. They were liquidated under subheading 8433.11.00, HTSUS, which provides for mowers for lawns, parks or sports-grounds.


Whether the Seaforth 92" Tri-Deck Rotary Grass Mowers, which are used to mow grass on sod farms, are mowers for lawns, parks or sports-grounds under the HTSUS.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUS govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states in pertinent part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes . . . ."

The mowers in question are classifiable under Heading 8433, HTSUS, which provides for grass or hay mowers. The subheadings at issue are as follows:

8433.11.00 Mowers for lawns, parks or sports- grounds . . . [p]owered with the cutting device rotating in a horizontal plane

8433.20.00 Other mowers, including cutter bars for tractor mounting

The protestant states that the 92" Mower is sold exclusively to sod farms and, because of its 22 foot cutting width, that it is far too enormous for use anywhere else. However, the protestant has not provided any evidence as to why the mowers in question are not "lawn mowers" for tariff purposes.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Note (EN) to Heading 8433, HTSUS, states that the heading includes "[l]awn mowers, whether worked by hand or motor driven. They may have a cutter bar like an agricultural mower, rotary blades which cut the grass against a fixed horizontal blade, or a rotating disc with knives on the outer edge."

The term 'lawn' is defined as "ground (as around a house or
in a garden or park) that is covered with grass and is kept mowed." Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, pg. 652 (1977); See HQ 066221 (wherein this office held that mowers capable of being used on "turf farms" were classifiable as lawn mowers under item 666.10, TSUS). It is our opinion that ground covered with grass on sod or turf farms falls within this broad definition of the term "lawn."

Finally, the protestant compares its 65" Tri-Deck Rotary Mower [65" Mower] with the mower in question. The 65" Mower has "only" a 15 and a half foot cutting width. The protestant contends that the 65" Mower, unlike the 92" Mower, is specifically marketed for use in the mowing of parks, industrial sites, school yards, golf courses and other large recreational areas. The 65" Mower, the protestant concedes, would be classified under subheading 8433.11.00, HTSUS, as a mower for lawns, parks or sports grounds.

The 65" Mower is very similar to the 92" Mower. The 65" Mower also has an open back that disperses the clippings evenly through the rear discharge system. While the 65" Mower's cutting width is smaller than that of the 92" Mower (15 1/2 to 22 feet), there is no indication that the added swath of the 92" Mower makes it particularly amenable to the cutting of grass on sod farms, rather than on other large, grassy areas. Similarly, there is no indication that the 65" Mower could not be used on sod farms. As for the flotation tires (which are not a part of the 65" Mower), the protestant has not provided any evidence that this feature would not be used on mowers for grassy areas other than sod farms to avoid surface compaction.

Because each of the mowers are used to cut lawns and are indistinguishable except for size, we choose not to classify the mowers in separate provisions by carving out a small class from the provision for "mowers for lawns, parks or sports-grounds" for the mowers in issue. Therefore, the mowers in question are classifiable under subheading 8433.11.00, HTSUS.


The Seaforth 92" Tri-Deck Rotary Grass Mower is classifiable under subheading 8433.11.00, HTSUS, which provides for "grass or hay mowers . . . [m]owers for lawns, parks or sports-grounds . . . [p]owered with the cutting device rotating in a horizontal plane." The corresponding rate of duty for articles of this subheading is 4% ad valorem.

Accordingly, the protest should be denied in full. A copy - 4 -
of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.

John Durant, Director

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