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HQ 963263

MAY 20, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 963263 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8704.90.00

Mr. Phil Tralies
Textron, Inc.
1721 Packard Avenue
Racine, Wisconsin 53403-2564

RE: NY D84244 Affirmed; HillCat 1700, Off-Road, All Terrain Vehicle

Dear Mr. Tralies:

This is in response to your letter, dated November 5, 1999, requesting reconsideration of a ruling on the classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a special purpose, off-road vehicle called the HillCat 1700. In a facsimile transmittal, dated May 18, 2000, you withdrew a claim for proprietary treatment with respect to all the information contained in November 5 letter.


In NY D84244, which the Director of Customs National Commodity Specialist Division issued to a Customhouse broker on behalf of Textron on May 17, 1999, the HillCat 1700 was found to be classifiable in subheading 8704.90.00, HTSUS, as a motor vehicle for the transport of goods. The literature advertises the vehicle as suitable for a variety of off-road agricultural and industrial applications in extreme terrain.

Submitted specifications indicate the HillCat is a special purpose, off-road vehicle measuring 2.78m x 2.10m x 1.96m, powered by a 46 hp turbo diesel engine that supplies power to eight driven wheels, four on each side, with hydrostatic transmission. It can accommodate three passengers in a canvas canopy-covered front cab with windscreen, and has an open rear cargo deck with sideboards having a 1650 lb. payload. Standard equipment includes safety brakes, passenger seat belts, heater, headlights, cigarette lighter, twin lever
control and 50mm ball hitch. Among available options are a nylon rubber track, hydraulic power take off (PTO), crane, backhoe, cutter mower attachments and agricultural implements. You state that, to date, all imported HillCats have been equipped with nylon rubber tracks and PTO.

You maintain that the HillCat 1700 is a tractor of heading 8701 because in addition to meeting standard dictionary definitions of the term “tractor,” it meets the Chapter 87, Note 2, HTSUS, definition for “tractors,” that is, it has design features that dedicates the vehicle for pushing or hauling another vehicle, appliance or load. Moreover, the HillCat is not among the types of motor vehicles for the transport of goods provided for in heading 8704.

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

8701 Tractors (other than tractors of heading 8709):



Motor vehicles for the transport of goods:

Other, with spark-ignition internal combustion piston engine:

8704.90.00 Other


Whether the HillCat 1700 is constructed essentially for a tractor of heading 8701.


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.

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

Chapter 87, Note 2, HTSUS, defines “tractors” as 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 ENs on p. 1544 indicate that tractors of heading 87.01 may be equipped with a coupling device for trailers or semi-trailers, or with PTO for driving machines such as threshers and circular saws. Tractors of heading 87.01 may be fitted with winches for various hauling applications. On the other hand, the ENs on pp. 1547-1548 include within heading 87.04 various lorries, as well as dumpers and shuttle cars, having the common characteristic of holding and transporting goods and materials. Certain self-loading vehicles of heading 87.04, though equipped with winches and elevating devices, are designed essentially for transport purposes.

Based on these ENs and the 4-digit heading text of the respective provisions, Customs has traditionally classified a vehicle based on it’s design features which establish whether it is constructed primarily to withstand the vertical stresses associated with transporting goods or rear-mounted machines and their loads, or the horizontal or tractive stresses associated with hauling or pushing another vehicle, appliance or load. The HillCat 1700 is available with numerous options and accessories. However, because it is the condition of each vehicle as imported that determines its tariff status, we cannot consider all possible combinations of options or accessories with which a particular vehicle might be outfitted. For this reason, we will examine only the HillCat’s advertised standard equipment.

The specifications include as standard equipment a 50mm ball hitch, which is a towing feature commonly associated with tractors. Utilizing power from the HillCat’s 46 hp. turbo diesel engine, hydraulic motors operate a number of implements including a crane, backhoe, spraying equipment, excavator with stabilizer legs, cutter mowers and other agricultural implements, all of which are optional. Certain of these implements require hydraulic PTO which is also optional. Cranes, backhoes, sprayers and excavators normally are rear-mounted while cutter mowers and similar agricultural implements normally are towed. The
fact that the HillCat 1700 can accommodate any or all of these implements does not conclusively establish the purpose for which it was designed or constructed. However, the literature also states “The 1700 is capable of transporting 750 kg. plus three personnel over extreme terrain (Emphasis added). This indicates a cargo-carrying capability that is 40 percent of the vehicle’s total unladen weight (1880 kg.).

The HillCat 1700 is capable of hauling and operating agricultural implements and towing wheeled wagons, but it also operates numerous other implements that are mounted on the rear deck, which independently provides considerable cargo-carrying capability. This suggests to us that this vehicle is constructed essentially for transport purposes and not for hauling or pushing. This is consistent with Customs practice in classifying similar motor vehicles. In HQ 958767, dated March 15, 1996, we classified the Tatra truck, model 815 VVN 26 265, a product of the Czech Republic, as a motor vehicle for the transport of goods. Though slightly larger in dimensions, this was an eight-wheel, four-axle vehicle with an enclosed cab and rear cargo deck with sideboards, equipped with a winch. It was advertised as “The Truck of the Future.”


Under the authority of GRI 1, the HillCat 1700 is provided for in heading 8704. It is classifiable in subheading 8704.90.00, HTSUS. NY D84244, dated May 17, 1999, is affirmed.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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