United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1996 HQ Rulings > HQ 958890 - HQ 959027 > HQ 958995

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 958995

MAY 6, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:MM 958995 JAS


TARIFF NO: 8710.00.00

Mr. Donald O. Montgomery
Anderson Shipping Company, Inc.
2430 Mall Drive, Suite 295
North Charleston, SC 29418

RE: NY 898914 Revoked; Amphibious Truck, Wheeled Motor Vehicle for Transport of Goods, 8704; Armored Fighting Vehicle, Supply Vehicle for Transport of
Ammunition in Fighting Areas, Heading 8710.00.00; GRI

Dear Mr. Montgomery:

In NY 898914, issued to you on June 27, 1994, on behalf of Garron Fratzer, the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, replied to your ruling request of April 27, 1994, supplemented on June 2, 1994, and confirmed that the Alvis Stalwart amphibious off-road truck, made in the United Kingdom was classifiable as a motor vehicle for the transport of goods, in subheading 8704.32.00/9903.87.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). We have reconsidered this ruling and believe that it is incorrect.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of NY 898914 was published on April 3, 1994, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 30, Number 14.


The Alvis Stalwart FV 600 series is a six-wheeled vehicle capable of traversing adverse terrain and inland waters. These vehicles were manufactured prior to 1968, and used in the British Army as armored supply vehicles. The Stalwart measures 21 ft. X 9 ft. X 8 ft. weighs approximately 18,800 Ibs. gross vehicle weight (G.V.W.), with a top speed of 38 mph. These vehicles are fully amphibious and propelled in the water by two marine jets driven by a power take-off from the gearbox. These vehicles have a fully - 2 -
enclosed cab with a rear cargo bed open at the top, with drop sides and a drop tailgate.
The Stalwart can carry 5000 kg of cargo or up to 38 fully armed troops. They are equipped with 3/4 to 1 inch metal plate on its sides, front, rear and underside - the latter for protection against land mines - and 3/8 inch thick glass in all windows. The metal plating is said to be bullet-proof against ammunition of up to 30 caliber (0.3"). The
Stalwart has a front-mounted hydraulically operated winch with a 4900 kg capacity. The model FV 623 is fitted with a hydraulic crane for unloading pallets of ammunition to field-based artillery regiments.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8704 Motor vehicles for the transport of goods:

Other, with spark-ignition internal combustion piston engine:

8704.32.00 G.V.W. exceeding 5 metric tons/25 percent under subheading 9903.87.00

8710.00.00 Tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, motorized, whether or not fitted with weapons, and parts of such vehicles...Free


Whether the Alvis Stalwart is an armored fighting vehicle of heading 8710.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) 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. Under GRI 3(a), where goods are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings, the heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description.

The Harmonized Commodity Description And Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the 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 - 3 -
useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Relevant ENs at p. 1428 include among the vehicles of heading 8704 self-loading vehicles equipped with winches, elevating devices, etc., but designed essentially for transport purposes. These notes describe the Alvis Stalwart vehicles in issue. Other ENs at p 1435 include within the vehicles of heading 8710 armored cars and armored supply vehicles. Armored cars are faster and lighter than tanks and sometimes are only partly armored. They are mainly used for police duties, reconnaissance or for transport in fighting areas. Some armored cars are track-laying but the majority are either half-track or road-wheel type, and they may be amphibious. Armored supply vehicles are generally of the track-laying type, whether or not designed to be armed, and are used for the transport of petrol, ammunition, etc., in fighting areas. Whether used for transporting troops or war materiel, the Alvis Stalwart vehicles are described by the ENs to heading 8710.

For purposes of GRI 3(a), a heading which more clearly identifies goods shall be preferred to one where the identification is less complete. In this case, both heading 8704 and heading 8710 encompass motorized vehicles for transporting goods. However, for purposes of heading 8710 the term armored fighting vehicles encompasses motorized vehicles that are armored and which transport both persons and goods in fighting areas. We conclude that heading 8710 more clearly identifies the goods than does heading 8704.


Under the authority of GRI 3(a), the Alvis Stalwart FV 600 series is classifiable in HTSUS 8710.00.00. NY 898914, June 27, 1994, is revoked. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1) does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: