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HQ 959730

May 29, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:FC 959730 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 4011.20.1025; 4011.20.1035; 4011.20.2030; 4011.20.5050; 4011.91.5000; 4011.99.4000; 4011.99.8000

Port Director of Customs
U.S. Customs Service
300 South Ferry St.
Terminal Island, CA 90731

RE: Application for Further Review of Protest 2704-96-102281, date July 15, 1996, Concerning Certain Off-The-Road Tires

Dear Ms. Adams:

This ruling is in reference to the protest that was filed against your decision of June 21, 1996, regarding an entry for Triangle brand off-the-road tires style TL-612.


The articles under consideration are off-the-road tires, style TL-612, designed for use on earthmoving and loader. The importer claims that the tread on these tires meets the definition for "herring-bone" or similar tread tires as that term is used in subheading 4011.91.5000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). It is stated that the tires are classified in accordance with the Tire and Rim Association (TRA) coding system. They bear a TRA code "E" which indicates that they are tires of earthmover equipment and a TRA code "L" which indicates that they are for loaders and dozers. The importer indicates that all these tires concurrently bear both "E" and "L" codes


Do the subject tires have a herring bone or similar tread?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied, taken in order.

According to the importer's literature, as further telephonically confirmed by the importer, the tires under consideration, style TL-612, bear a dual TRA code of "E" and "L", indicating that they are designed for earthmover equipment and loaders and dozers. Based on an application chart provided in connection with another protest, we note that a tire with the same type of tread and a TRA code E-3 is listed as being suitable for dump trucks. We presume that these are the ultra-large dump trucks that one would find at a road excavation site.

Prior to considering whether the instant tires might have a "herring-bone" similar tread, we note that such a determination is only necessary for tires falling under the "Other " provision of subheading 4011.91, HTSUSA. New pneumatic tires for various types of vehicles, e.g., cars, trucks, buses, come under subheadings appearing earlier under the same heading and would be classified thereunder, depending on their size and construction, i.e., radial or other.

We have discussed the meaning of the term "herring-bone" or similar tread with the importer and various industry representatives. We determined that such term is not a current term in the U.S. Industry, although one industry representative remembered the term being used in a colloquial manner in the distant past. It was used to refer to a tread pattern consisting of rows of short slanted parallel lines going in the opposite directions from the center of the tread with the slant alternating row by row. These short slanted rows would meet in the center of the tire tread to form a "V." This is in line with various dictionary definitions of the term herring-bone. We also consulted the Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized System, specifically 40.11 thereof, which represent the view of the international classification experts. All the tire treads pictured therein, except for one, have rows of short slanted parallel lines going in opposite directions with the slant alternating row by row, which meet in the center of the tire and form a "V." One of the tire treads pictured therein has short slanted parallel lines with the slant alternating row by row and these rows meet in the center of the tire tread, they form what would appear to be a very shallow "V" which might be better described as a "U." Based on our analysis of this information, we have concluded that a true "herring-bone" tread has alternating rows of tread going in opposite directions, on the diagonal, toward the center of the tire with the tread forming a
design in the center thereof. We have further concluded that the term "similar tread" appearing in heading 4011.91, HTSUSA, is descriptive of a tread having the above-noted slanting alternating tire tread which forms a shallow "V" in the center of the tire tread.

With such concept in mind we examined the tread pattern of the instant tires. We note that the tread pattern is of a zig-zag design and that it has neither the short slanting lines going in the opposite directions from the center of the tread nor does it have a tread pattern which forms a "V" at the center of the tread. We have concluded that an off-the-road tire with a zig-zag pattern, would not be classifiable under the provision for "herring-bone" or similar tread. If not classifiable under subheading 4011.20, HTSUSA, the provision for tires of a kind used on buses or truck, tires with the zig-zag tread pattern would be classifiable in the "Other" provision of subheading 4011.99, HTSUSA. We have further concluded that if the tires with such tread pattern bear a dual TRA code and under one code they would be considered suitable for trucks, they would all be classified under the subheading for truck tires, 4011.20, HTSUSA, since that provision comes earlier in the tariff schedule than does the previous referenced "Other" provision.


Triangle TL 612 off-the-road tires with a zig-zag tread pattern bearing a Tire and Rim Association (TRA) E-3 code, with or without another code, are considered to be suitable for use on dump trucks. They are classifiable in subheading 4011.20.1025 or 4011.20.1035, HTSUSA, if of radial construction, or in subheadings 4011.20.5030 or 4011.20.5050, HTSUSA, if of another construction. Radial tires of this group are dutiable at a general rate of duty of 4 percent ad valorem. Tires of this group of another construction are dutiable at a general rate of duty of 3.8 (currently 3.6) percent ad valorem. Such tires, if bearing only a TRA L-3 code, indicating a suitability for loaders and dozers, are classifiable in subheading 4011.99.4000 or 4011.99.80000, HTSUSA, depending on the type of construction, since a zig-zag tread pattern is not herring-bone tread pattern. Tires so classified are subject to a general rate of duty of 4 percent or 3.8 (currently 3.6) percent ad valorem , respectively.

Since the rate of duty under the classification indicated above is the same as or more than the liquidated rate, you are instructed to deny the protest in full.

A copy of this ruling should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.

In accordance with Section 3A(1)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3553-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be provided by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with this decision must be accomplished prior to the mailing of the decision. Sixty - 4 -
days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Ruling Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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