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HQ 966463

August 4, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 966463 DSS


TARIFF NO.: 8704.22.50

Mr. Michael Hodes
Hodes, Keating & Pilon
39 S. LaSalle Street, Ste. 1020
Chicago, IL 60603-1731

RE: Ruling Request for Harwarder

Dear Mr. Hodes:

In your letter to the Director, National Commodity Specialist Division (NCSD), New York, dated March 19, 2003, on behalf of Ponsse USA Inc., you inquire as to the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), of a harwarder. Your letter was forwarded to this office for reply.


The article combines features of a mobile tree harvester, a mobile crane, and a log forwarder, subject to the removal or addition of certain equipment. The article is manufactured in Finland.

The basic elements of the harwarder are as follows. The fore section is a 4-wheeled tractive base mounted on a single bogie axle. The fore section contains an enclosed driver’s cab, and also contains the engine. The cab contains controls for both the operation of the unit and operation of the particular application, as well as for the electronic and hydraulic systems. It includes a hydraulic pump which powers the boom. This tractive base is coupled by means of a flexible pivot joint to the rear section. The bogie wagon or rear section consists of a chassis mounted on a single four-wheel bogie axle with high ground clearance. A disengageable drive shaft from the engine provides motive force to the rear wagon. At the front of the rear section is mounted a Ponsse K90 dual hydraulic boom/crane powered by the hydraulic pump in the tractive base. Traditionally, utilizing the grapple crane for loading and unloading purposes, log forwarders transport de-limbed timber from the forest floor to a road or staging area where a larger timber hauling truck transports it to the mill or other location for further processing. This crane differs from the standard Ponsse K90 crane (normally found on Ponsse log forwarders) in that it is fitted with modified hydraulic hoses, cable and stump treatment hoses to withstand the weight of the harvester head (which is heavier and bulkier than the grapple attached to Ponsse’s log forwarder) and quick connecters which facilitate conversion of the harwarder from a tree harvester to a log forwarder and vice versa. The crane is powered by a hydraulic system located on the fore section.

The harwarder is designed to be easily converted in the field so that it can function as a harvester, a mobile timber crane, or a log forwarder, depending upon what equipment is attached. You state that the harwarder possesses several key features which distinguish it from both tree harvesters and log forwarders. The first is the quick-connectors and quick-install systems for the boom, which permit the attachment of either a Ponsse harvester head or a grapple to the crane. Second, the rear chassis can be modified to form a log storage area by the addition of grids and bunks through special “twist and lock” connectors on the grids and bunks. Without the grids and bunks, the harwarder is a fully functional harvester or mobile crane; in this mode, the rear chassis is used as a transit storage platform for whichever equipment is installed on the boom. With the grapple attached and the addition of grids and bunks to the rear frame to form a log storage area, the harwarder is a log forwarder.

All Ponsse harwarders will also come equipped with the Ponsse Opti Measurement System which permits the operator to send and receive data regarding the proposed harvest, to measure both log length and log volume, to program the harvester to cut to a particular length, and to sort the harvest as it is being cut by type of log. When equipped as a harvester, the harvester head on the harwarder grasps the tree, cuts it, delimbs it and cuts it into desired lengths. A bulldozer blade is an optional attachment.

You propose to import harwarders equipped in three configurations:

The harwarder will be assembled by the manufacturer in one piece, in a “drive-on, drive-off” condition with a harvester head in the same shipment and without a grapple, and without the grids and bunks required to allow the harwarder to be converted into a log forwarder.

The harwarder will be assembled by the manufacturer in one piece, in a “drive-on, drive-off” condition with both the harvester head and grapple in the shipment and without the grids and bunks.

The harwarder will be assembled by the manufacturer in one piece, in a “drive-on, drive-off” condition with a harvester head and with the grids, bunks and grapple, all in the same shipment.

You are requesting classification for each of these configurations.


Whether the harwarder is classifiable under heading 8436 as other forestry equipment, heading 8704 as a motor vehicle for the transport of goods, or heading 8705 as a special-purpose motor vehicle.


Classification under the HTSUS is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may then be applied.

The HTSUS 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

Motor vehicles for the transport of goods: Other, with compression-ignition internal combustion piston engine (diesel or semi-diesel): G.V.W. exceeding 5 metric tons but not exceeding 20 metric tons: 8704.22.50 Other

Special purpose motor vehicles, other than those principally designed for the transport of persons or goods (for example, wreckers, mobile cranes, fire fighting vehicles, concrete mixers, road sweepers, spraying vehicles, mobile workshops, mobile radiological units): 8705.90.00 Other

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While not legally binding, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are thus useful in ascertaining the classification of merchandise under the System. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (Customs) believes the ENs should always be consulted. See T.D. 89-90, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

You claim in its condition as imported, the harvester is designed to perform several different functions, principally harvesting trees, and as a result, is classifiable in heading 8705, HTSUS, as a special-purpose motor vehicle. Alternatively, you suggest classification under heading 8436, HTSUS, as tree harvesting machinery.

If the harwarder is provided for either in heading 8704 or in heading 8705, HTSUS, as a motor vehicle, it is excluded from Section XVI (which includes heading 8436, HTSUS) by Section XVI, note 1(I). Section XVII covers vehicles, including the motor vehicles of headings 8704 and 8705. The question is whether the harwarder meets the definition of a motor vehicle for the transport of goods, or a special-purpose motor vehicle.

Motor vehicles, if principally designed for the transport of goods, are among the kinds of vehicles excluded from classification in heading 8705, HTSUS. EN 87.04 indicates that self-loading vehicles equipped with winches, elevating devices, etc. but designed essentially for transport purposes, are among the vehicles covered by heading 8704, HTSUS. Thus, if the harwarders are vehicles designed principally for the transport of timber, they are described by heading 8704, HTSUS. In its imported condition, the harwarder possesses the essential design elements of a log forwarder, similar to the log forwarders with cranes that were classified as motor vehicles for the transport of goods under heading 8704, HTSUS, in Headquarters Ruling Letters (HQs) 957397, dated February 15, 1994, 959625, dated February 3, 1998, and 965029, dated September 5, 2001. By its terms, heading 8705, HTSUS, covers special purpose motor vehicles other than those principally designed to transport goods or persons, such as motor vehicles designed to transport logs over short distances in the forest to points where they can be collected. EN 87.05 indicates that heading 8705, HTSUS, covers a range of motor vehicles specially constructed, adapted or equipped with various devices that enable them to perform certain non-transport functions, i.e., the primary purpose of a vehicle of this heading is not the transport of persons or goods.

In all three configurations, the principal design and function of the harwarder is to carry goods, regardless of whether the harwarder also has a capability to cut timber. The harwarder retains the essential design elements of the log forwarder, such as the tractive base, bogie wagon section, chassis and engine. Essentially, the harwarder is a log forwarder, and as such, belongs to the class or kind of motor vehicles designed for the transport of goods, i.e., designed for the transport of logs from the cutting area to a staging area where they can be taken to a mill or other transportation point. See HQ 965029, dated September 5, 2001. Cutting timber is an ancillary function.

You cite HQ 088971, dated May 23, 1991, in support of your proposed classification. In HQ 088971, CBP classified three modified versions of a Toyota Landcruiser ATV as different motor vehicles under headings 8704 and 8705. The versions were based on the same cab chassis unit, but were permanently configured in three different ways: one version had a rear box designed to be used to transport mining equipment; a second version was equipped with lifting docks and hydraulic systems to lift equipment; the third version was equipped with a hydraulic boom (arm), lift and bucket, which was permanently affixed to the unit by means of welding and/or bolting. These vehicles were permanently configured as described above. In contrast, the harwarder can temporarily be fitted out as a tree harvester. However, the harwarder, in all three configurations, retains the essential design characteristics of log forwarders. See HQs 957397, dated February 15, 1994, and 959625, dated February 3, 1998; see also HQ 965405 and 965406, dated July 17, 2002 (classifying two sections of log forwarder, when imported separately, under heading 8708, HTSUS, as parts of motor vehicles of heading 8704). The design elements of the harwarder you cite do not remove the harwarder from classification under heading 8704, HTSUS.


Under the authority of GRI 1, the harwarder is provided for in heading 8704, HTSUS. It is classified, in all three configurations listed above, under subheading 8704.22.50, HTSUS, which provides for “Motor vehicles for the transport of goods: Other, with compression-ignition internal combustion piston engine (diesel or semi-diesel): G.V.W. exceeding 5 metric tons but not exceeding 20 metric tons: Other.”


Myles B. Harmon

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