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HQ 959625

February 3, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 959625 HMC


TARIFF NO.: 8704.21.00/8704.22.50/8704.23.00

Port Director of Customs
2nd and Chestnut Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106

RE: Protest 1101-96-100334; Crane Equipped Log Forwarder; Motor Vehicle for the Transport of Goods; Tractors; Chapter 87, Note 2; HQ 957397, HQ 086395; Explanatory Note to Heading 8704; Heading 9817; Chapter 98, Subchapter XVII, US Note 2 (w).

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 1101-96-100334, filed against your classification of certain crane equipped log forwarders. The entries under protest were liquidated on April 19, 1996, and this protest timely filed on April 30, 1996. In preparing this ruling, consideration was given to arguments presented during a meeting with counsel for the protestant on May 12, 1997, and to protestant's supplemental submission, dated July 7, 1997.


The merchandise under protest are 6 and 8 wheel Rottne SMV Rapid Forwarders also known as crane equipped log forwarders. The log forwarders have an enclosed cab and a cranab grapple crane mounted on the trailer portion. They are used to handle, sort, collect, pile, load and unload timber on tree farms and in forests, and to transport the timber to a landing or loading area from where it is subsequently trucked to processing plants. These vehicles are described as having a four-wheeled articulated wagon with gates and bunks in its trailer area, designed to hold up to 10 tons of lumber. The wagon features an outreach loader for collecting lumber that is not self-propelled and attached to the tractor hydraulics and power train via a power take-off

The log forwarders were originally entered under a provision for agricultural tractors, duty-free in subheadings 8701.90.1070 and 9817.00.50 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). However, the entries were liquidated in subheadings 8704.21.00, 8704.22.50 and 8704.23.00, HTSUS, as motor vehicles for the transport of goods.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

8436 Other agricultural, horticultural, forestry, poultry-keeping or bee-keeping machinery, including germination plant fitted with mechanical or thermal equipment; poultry incubators and brooders; parts thereof:

8436.80.00 Other machinery...Free

8701 Tractors (other than tractors of heading 8709):

8701.90 Other:

8701.90.10 Suitable for agricultural use...Free

8704 Motor vehicles for the transport of goods:

Other, with compression-ignition internal combustion piston engine (diesel or semi-diesel): 8704.21.00 G.V.W. not exceeding 5 metric tons...25 percent

8704.22 G.V.W. exceeding 5 metric tons but not exceeding 20 metric tons:

8704.22.50 Other...25 percent

8704.23.00 G.V.W. exceeding 20 metric tons...25 percent

9817.00.50 Machinery, equipment and implements to be used for agricultural or horticultural purposes...free


Whether the log forwarders are tractors or motor vehicles for the transport of goods.


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.

Protestant claims that the articulated wagons and tractors are properly classified separately. Alternatively, if considered a single unit, protestant claims that the log forwarders are properly classified under subheadings 8701.90.10 or 8436.80.00/9817.00.50, HTSUS. Protestant argues that based on Chapter 87, Note 2, the Rottne Rapid Forwarders should be considered tractors coupled with self-loading wagons.

Chapter 87, Note 2, HTSUS, states that

" tractors' means vehicles constructed essentially for hauling or pushing another vehicle, appliance or load, whether or not they contain subsidiary provision for the transport, in connection with the main use of the tractor, of tools, seeds, fertilizers or other goods."

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 useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise. Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

EN 87.04, at p. 1428, indicates that self-loading vehicles equipped with winches, elevating devices, etc., but designed essentially for transport purposes, are among the vehicles covered. Thus, if the log forwarders are vehicles designed essentially for the transport of lumber, they are described by heading 8704.

It is well settled that merchandise must be classified with reference to its condition when imported. As imported, the log forwarders are the kind of vehicles contemplated by EN 87.04. The Rottne Rapid Forwarders are vehicles equipped with a cranab grapple crane mounted on the trailer portion or wagon. The log forwarders are single, interdependent units designed essentially to transport already harvested timber to a landing area from where it is trucked to processing plants. This is sustained by HQ 957397, dated February 15, 1994 and HQ 086395, dated February 22, 1990, where it is stated that the design features of the vehicles in issue suggest a rugged, off-road vehicle designed to transport logs over short distances in the forest to points where they can be collected. The crane merely facilitates the transportation function. The designation log forwarder supports this conclusion. We therefore find that the log forwarders under protest are motor vehicles for the transport of goods, covered by heading 8704.

Protestant states that the Rottne Rapid log forwarders are specifically designed for hauling a bogie (wagons) and other implements used in the harvesting of lumber. We disagree. To support its argument, Protestant cites a Revenue Ruling from Canada and other Customs Headquarters rulings. These rulings are distinguishable since they do not involve log forwarders. Also, as to the Canadian ruling, Customs is not bound to abide by another country's rulings. At best, the foreign ruling is merely instructive of how others may classify like goods. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Having found that Rottne Rapid Forwarders fall under heading 8704, Chapter 98, Subchapter XVII, U.S. Note 2 (w), HTSUS, precludes subheading 9817.00.50 from consideration.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the crane-equipped log forwarders are provided for in heading 8704. They are classifiable in subheadings 8704.21.00, 8704.22.50 and 8704.23.00, HTSUS, as appropriate.

This protest should be DENIED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you should mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the Protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision.

Sixty 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 Rulings Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, the Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classifications Appeals Division

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