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HQ 961043

NOVEMBER 12, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 961043 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 4011.91.10, 4011.99.10

Port Director of Customs
300 S. Ferry Street
Terminal Island, CA 90731

RE: Protest 2704-97-102175; Pneumatic Tires of Rubber for Use On Agricultural Tractors; Multipurpose Tires, Tires Designed Exclusively for use on Agricultural Tractors; 4011.91.10, 4011.99.10; HQ 085629, HQ 958303, NY A81065

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 2704-97-102175, filed against your classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of certain new pneumatic tires of rubber. The entries under protest were liquidated on March 21, 1997, and this protest timely filed on June 17, 1997.


The facts here indicate that Kubota agricultural tractors are imported in containers with their tires unattached. For convenience in shipping, extra tires for these tractors are packed loose in the containers. It is these extra tires, designated "BR 9376," "BR 8722," and "LR 9473," which are the subject of this protest.

The tires in issue are said to be designed to be mated to tractor tire rims and tire disks produced abroad specifically for agricultural tractors. However, the file contains no actual physical description of these tires. Nevertheless, the Kubota Wholegoods Price List, dated September 1, 1996, lists the BR 8722 tire series as "agricultural tires" while the Kubota Tractor Front Tire list shows that the BR 8722, BR 9376 and LR 9473 tire
series fit only on the Kubota B and L series tractors. The parties agree that Customs has designated these as tractors suitable for agricultural use.

The subject tires were entered under heading 4011, HTSUS, provisions for new pneumatic tires of rubber, designed for agricultural tractors or agricultural or horticultural machinery. Your office rejected the entered classification because, in your opinion, the protestant had not established that the subject tires were designed solely or exclusively for use on agricultural tractors or equipment. This is because an excerpt from the 1996 publication, Tire and Rim Association, Inc., which publishes industry-recognized technical specifications on vehicle tires, designates types F-1 and F-2 tires as agricultural while type-3 tires are designated industrial. The commercial invoice merely designates the tires in issue as "F tires." The entries were liquidated under provisions of HTS heading 4011 for other new pneumatic tires of rubber, having a "herring-bone" or similar tread, and for other new pneumatic tires of rubber, respectively.

Counsel for the protestant maintains there is no legal basis on which to equate the "designed for" criteria in subheadings 4011.91.10 and 4011.99.10 with "sole or exclusive use" on agricultural tractors or equipment as Customs contends; that the proper legal test which protestant must satisfy is the less stringent test in Additional U.S. Rule of Interpretation 1(a), HTSUS, that is, the principal use of the class or kind of goods to which the subject tires belong; thus, at the very least, the subject tires belong to a class of kind of tires principally used on agricultural tractors; and in any event, the tires under protest are used exclusively by a company that manufactures tractors nearly all of which are agricultural.

The provisions under consideration are as follows:

4011 New pneumatic tires, of rubber:


4011.91 Having a "herring-bone" or similar tread:

4011.91.10 Designed for tractors provided for in subheading 8701.90.10 or for agricultural or horticultural machinery or implements provided for in chapter 84

4011.91.50 Other

4011.99 Other:

4011.99.10 Designed for tractors provided for in subheading 8701.90.10 or for agricultural or horticultural machinery or implements provided for in chapter 84

4011.99.40 Other, radial


Whether the tires under protest are multipurpose tires; whether they are designed for sole or exclusive use on agricultural tractors or agricultural or horticultural machinery.


Under General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), goods are to be classified 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.

In NY A81065, dated April 3, 1996, we held that to be classifiable in subheading 4011.99.10, HTSUS, new pneumatic tires of rubber must be intended solely for use on [agricultural tractors] or agricultural or horticultural equipment. Thus, tires characterized as multipurpose, that is, those also suitable for use on industrial tractors and machinery, do not qualify. By implication, this analysis applies as well to subheading 4011.91.10, HTSUS.

NY A81065 is a restatement of Customs longstanding position, first announced under the HTSUS in HQ 085629, dated January 29, 1990, and clarified but otherwise affirmed in HQ 958303, dated August 11, 1995. The rationale behind these decisions dates to the HTSUS predecessor tariff code, the Tariff Schedules of the

United States (TSUS), and rulings issued thereunder. In these rulings, Customs developed information that the domestic tire industry considered the word "designed" as relating not only to the outer physical appearance of a tire, its internal fabric construction and rubber compounding, but also its intended application and ultimate use. The facts in HQ 085629 indicated that technical designations recognized by the domestic tire industry, together with certifications by both the manufacturer and the U.S. distributor, were strong evidence that the tires in issue were intended for use in agricultural applications.

In this case, there is no actual physical description of the tires, nor is there evidence of a code stamped on the sidewall of the tires which would, presumably, characterize their special construction and identify the intended use for which they were designed. However, the available evidence does indicate that the Kubota literature referenced above designates the BR 8722 tire series as "agricultural," and that the BR 8722, BR 9376 and the LR 9473 tire series fit only on tractors that Customs recognizes as suitable for agricultural use. This information, while not conclusive in all respects, indicates to us that the tires in issue satisfy the requirements for classification as claimed.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the tires designated "BR 8722," BR 9376" and "LR 9473" are provided for in heading 4011. They are classifiable in subheadings 4011.91.10 and 4011.99.10, HTSUS, respectively.

The protest should be ALLOWED. 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 make the decision available to

Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other public methods of distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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