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HQ 955262

December 7, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 955262 KCC


TARIFF NO.: 8716.80.10

Mr. William J. LeClair
Trans-Border Customs Services, Inc.
One Trans-Border Drive
P.O. Box 800
Champlain, New York 12919

RE: Hay Bale Trailer; NY 852004 revoked; farm wagons and carts; 8716.20.00; 8716.39.00; trailers and semi-trailers; principal use; Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a); EN 87.16; Jones v. U.S.; HRL 070245; HRL 072237

Dear Mr. LeClair:

This is in reference to New York Ruling (NY) 852004 dated May 25, 1990, which concerned the tariff classification of a hay bale trailer under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


NY 852004 held that model F-40 Flexi-Bale round bale handling trailer ("trailer") was classified under subheading 8716.39.00, HTSUS, which provides for agricultural trailers and semi-trailers for the transport of goods.

The trailer is described as a four wheel, rubber tired, metal "wagon" that is used to carry round hay bales. The trailer has a single axle located toward the rear of the vehicle. The flat cargo bed has two metal uprights on the back side that prevent bales from rolling off the back of the trailer. Additionally, the trailer has a hydraulic arm on the side that "spears" the rolled bale from the ground and loads it on the "wagon." The trailer is hitched to a farm tractor and is used to transport merchandise from the hay field to the hay storage area on a farm. The design of the trailer is such that its use is limited to agricultural pursuits. From the submitted information it appears that the trailer is attached to the farm tractor with a simple drawbar hitch connection and there does not appear to be brake lights or any suspension system.


Is the hay bale trailer classified as agricultural trailers and semi-trailers for the transport of goods under subheading 8716.39.00, HTSUS?


The classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1, HTSUS, 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...." The competing subheadings are:

8716 Trailers and semi-trailers; other vehicles, not mechanically propelled; and parts thereof...

8716.20.00 Self-loading or self-unloading trailers and semi-trailers for agricultural purposes.

8716.39.00 Other trailers and semi-trailers for the transport of goods...Other....

8716.80.10 Other vehicles...Farm wagons and carts.

Classification under subheading 8716.39.00, HTSUS, is incorrect, because the trailers at issue have a self-loading and self-unloading mechanism; the hydraulic arm that loads and unloads the hay bales. Therefore, we must determine whether the trailers at issue meet the definition of "trailers and semi-trailers" or that of "farm wagons and carts." The competing subheadings in this case are controlled by use. "A tariff classification controlled by use (other than actual use) is to be determined in accordance with the use in the United States at, or immediately prior to, the date of importation, of goods of that class or kind to which the imported goods belong, and the controlling use is the principal use." Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a), HTSUS.

Explanatory Note (EN) 87.16 of the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (pg. 1439) states that for the purposes of heading 8716, HTSUS:

...the terms "trailers" and "semi-trailers" means vehicles (other than side-cars) of a kind designed solely to be coupled to another vehicle by means of a special coupling device (whether or not automatic).

The most important types of trailers and semi-trailers falling in this group are those designed for use with motor vehicles. Trailers usually have two or more sets of wheels, and a coupling system mounted on the swivelling front wheels which steer the vehicles. Semi-trailers are fitted with rear wheels only, the forward end resting on the platform of the towing vehicle to which it is coupled by a special device.

The ENs, although not dispositive, are to be looked to for the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

No distinctions between "trailers and semi-trailers" and "farm wagons and carts" has been drawn for classification purposes under the HTSUS. However, this issue as to whether an article is a farm wagon or a trailer has been considered numerous times under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS).

In Richard L. Jones v. United States, 58 Cust. Ct. 165, C.D. 2920 (1967), the court held that certain cotton wagons, used to transport cotton from a field to a gin were classified as farm wagons and carts in item 666.00, TSUS, which provided for agricultural implements, not specifically provided for. Although the court's conclusion appears to classify the cotton wagons under two distinct provisions of item 666.00, TSUS (i.e., "farm wagons" and "agricultural implements not specially provided for"), we note that the court went to great lengths to distinguish between a wagon and a trailer. A trailer, according to the definitions cited by the court, appears to be designed for highway travel or for use in an industrial plant. A farm wagon or cart is not so designed. Further, the court noted that the terms "wagon' and "cart" are not synonymous with "trailer."

Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 070245 dated February 10, 1993, classified hay bale handlers, which are similar to the trailers at issue, in item 666.00, TSUS. HRL 070245 stated:

[w]agons which are designed for and chiefly used in agricultural pursuits are characterized by their off-highway utilitarian nature. These wagons usually do not have lights, brakes, or shock-absorbing suspensions. They are capable of bearing heavy loads over rough terrain, and they are incapable of safe speed over 20 miles per hour. Some of these wagons have self-unloading features designed to enable a person to pick up agricultural products from the field for transport to market or to a storage site.

See also, HRL 072237 dated August 23, 1983, which classified other hay bale trailers in item 666.00, TSUS.

Congress has indicated that earlier tariff decisions must not be disregarded in applying the HTSUS. The conference report to the Omnibus Trade Bill states that "on a case-by-case basis prior decisions should be considered instructive in interpreting the HTS[US], particularly where the nomenclature in those decisions remains unchanged and no dissimilar interpretation is required by the text of the HTS[US]." H. Rep. No. 100-576, 100th Congr., 2D Sess., 548, 550 (1988). We find the earlier decisions to be both instructive and applicable. Although changes in the nomenclature from the TSUS to the HTSUS have occurred, no dissimilar interpretation is required. HRL 072237 and HRL 070245 dealt with the meaning of terms "trailers" in item 692.60, TSUS, and "wagons or cart" in item 666.00, TSUS. These terms are still used in subheadings 8716.20.00 and 8716.80.10, HTSUS.

The trailers at issue are specifically designed to pick up, stack and transport hay bales from the field to a storage area. There does not appear to be any other designed use for these trailers. Their design is such that they have limited safe use on a highway because they do not have lights, brakes or shock absorption systems. Based on the information submitted and prior rulings, we are of the opinion that the model F-40 Flexi-Bale round bale handling trailers are classified as farm wagons and carts under subheading 8716.80.10, HTSUS.


The subject hay bale trailers are classified under subheading 8716.80.10, HTSUS, which provides for "Trailers and semi-trailers; other vehicles, not mechanically propelled; and parts thereof...Other vehicles...Farm wagons and carts", which is a duty-free tariff provision.

To insure uniformity in Customs classification of merchandise of this type and to eliminate uncertainty, we are revoking NY 852004. This letter is notice to you of the revocation of NY 852004 under section 177.9(d)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.9(d)(1)).

Additionally, it should be noted that the version of NY 852004 which is available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Lexis, etc. was an earlier draft version which was incorrectly forwarded as public information. That version classified the hay bale trailer under subheading 8716.80.10, HTSUS. Although the incorrect classification was set
forth in NY 852004 and the correct classification was set forth in the Rulings Module, as of the date of this ruling the Rulings Module version now presents the correct classification of the subject hay bale trailers.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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