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HQ 962927

NOVEMBER 17, 1999

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 962927 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8716.39.00

Port Director of Customs
Bldg. #77
Jamaica, NY 11430

RE: Protest 1001-98-103567; Aircraft Engine Stand; Engine Shipping Base

Dear Port Director:

This is our decision on Protest 1001-98-103567, filed against your classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of aircraft engine stands. The entries under protest were liquidated on June 12 and 26, July 17 and 31, and on August 14, 1998. This protest was timely filed on September 10, 1998.


Engine stands are used in aircraft engine repair and service applications. They typically consist of two components, a cradle designed to hold and protect the engine, and a wheeled transportation base into which the cradle fits and which facilitates transport of the engine. When first removed from an aircraft, an engine is placed on the engine stand and imported in that manner. At the repair facility, the engine stand, with engine, is towed by a forklift or small truck to the receiving area where the engine is removed and disassembled for repair.

The engine cradle is of steel construction and generally rectangular, and is uniquely configured to hold an aircraft engine. It includes pick-up arms, braces, swaybars, rear bootstrap hoist cable pulleys, cradle securing assemblies and forklift pockets. The transportation base is a rectangular steel frame whose bed is a series of horizontally placed suspension tie beams. It has front and rear wheels, a tow bar, independent
steering, hydraulic cylinder, hand pump, anti-vibration shock mounts, cradle location pockets and securing assemblies, hand brake for the rear wheels, cradle security chain, lash points and fork lift pockets. Engine stands come in various configurations to accommodate a different-sized aircraft engines, but each cradle and transportation base are specially designed to be used with each other. On average, the engine stands have a capacity of 32 cubic meters. The classification of a particular aircraft engine with which the engine stands may be imported is not in issue here.

The aircraft engine stands were entered under a provision of heading 8716, HTSUS, for other vehicles, not mechanically propelled. After proposing to reclassify the goods under a provision of heading 7326, HTSUS, as other articles of iron or steel, the entries were liquidated under the heading 8716, HTSUS, provision. Counsel for the protestant maintains the engine stands are classifiable under heading 8609.00.00, HTSUS, as containers specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport. The claim is that the forklift pockets and braces, among other design features, specially design or equip the aircraft engine stands as required by heading 8609. As support for this classification counsel cites T.D. 66-213, dated October 5, 1996, in which conveyances called steel aircraft stands, referred to as containers, were designated as instruments of international traffic. Alternatively, counsel advances a claim under another provision of heading 8716, as other trailers and semi-trailers for the transport of goods. In support of this classification counsel cites administrative rulings on wheeled conveyances claimed to be similar to aircraft engine stands.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8609.00.00 Containers (including containers for the transport of fluids) specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport

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

Other trailers and semi-trailers for the transport of goods:

8716.39.00 Other

8716.80 Other vehicles:

8716.80.50 Other


Whether the aircraft engine stands are goods of heading 8716; whether they are trailers of that heading.


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. GRI 2(a) states in part that any reference in a heading to an article shall include that article entered unassembled or disassembled. GRI 3(a) states that 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. Though not dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the Harmonized System and Customs believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-80. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

Initially, heading 7326, HTSUS, the provision Customs originally proposed, covers numerous of iron or steel articles produced by a variety of processes, but does not include articles covered more specifically in the HTSUS. Therefore, if either heading 8609 or heading 8716 is found to apply, that heading would take precedence.

We note the term container is not defined in any legal note of the HTSUS, relevant to the provisions under consideration here. However, the ENs on p. 1542 state, in part, that the containers of heading 86.09 are packing receptacles specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport (e.g., road, rail, water or air). They are equipped with fittings (hooks, rings, castors, supports, etc.) to facilitate handling and securing on the transporting vehicle, aircraft or vessel. The more usual type, which may be of wood or metal, consists of a large box equipped with doors, or with removable sides.

The engine cradle has two fork lift pockets on each of the longer sides that mate with fork lift pockets on the transportation base. We have ruled previously that fork lift pockets or lifting channels, that facilitate use with fork lift trucks, but which can also be used for tie-down purposes during transport, are design features of packing receptacles of heading 8609. See HQ 951388, dated September 29, 1992, and HQ 954927, dated September 22, 1993. The engine cradle and transportation base, together, are described by heading 8609.

Other ENs on p. 1560 in part describe the goods of heading 8716 as non-mechanically propelled vehicles equipped with one or more wheels and constructed for the transport of goods or persons. Vehicles of heading 8716 are designed to be towed by other vehicles, to be pushed or pulled by hand, or to be drawn by animals. Among the vehicles covered are trailers and semi-trailers which are vehicles of a kind designed solely to be coupled to another vehicle by means of a special coupling device. The most important types 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. Listed among the trailers of heading 8716 are those adapted for the transport of certain goods (e.g., plate glass). In one of the cases counsel cites, NY 881099, dated December 9, 1992, a wheeled trailer designed for
storing and transporting a glider (sailplane) was held to be classifiable in subheading 8716.39.00, HTSUS. The engine cradle and transportation base, together, are described by heading 8716.

In accordance with GRI 3(a), HTSUS, because the engine cradle and transportation base are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, the heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred. Goods will be classified in the provision which most narrowly and specifically describes the goods, or has the requirements which are the most difficult to satisfy. In this case, both headings encompass articles that hold or contain that which is being transported. However, the articles of heading 8609 are stationary, designed to hold a variety of articles, and to be secured to the transporting vehicle, while those of heading 8716 are vehicles which actually transport one, specific kind of good. Among the vehicles of the latter type are those with wheels, designed to transport either persons or goods, and to be towed by other vehicles. In our opinion, heading 8716 has requirements that are more difficult to satisfy, and the engine cradle and transportation base, together, meet those requirements.


Under the authority of GRI 3(a), HTSUS, the aircraft engine stands, consisting of an engine cradle and transportation base, whether imported assembled or unassembled, are provided for in heading 8716. They are classifiable in subheading 8716.39.00, HTSUS.

The protest should be DENIED, except to the extent that reclassification of the goods under subheading 8716.39.00, HTSUS, as indicated, results in a partial allowance. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to 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 at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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