Tariff Classification Advance Ruling
Estes-Cox model rocket engines


Ms. Mary Roberts
Estes-Cox Corporation
1295 H Street P.O. Box 227
Penrose, Colorado   81240-0227

Date of issuance of ruling: March 3, 2015

This is in response to your request for an advance ruling on the tariff classification of the Estes-Cox model rocket engines. This product is manufactured and exported to Canada by Estes-Cox Corporation of Penrose, Colorado, USA.

TRS Number: 269515
Classification Number: 3601.00.00.00
Effective Date: March 3, 2015

Product Description

This good is commonly called a model rocket engine. The good is a device meant to propel a reduced-size ("scale"), recoverable aero model rocket, and is used by hobby modellers. The good consists of a cylindrical kraft paper tube of various dimensions from 4.4mm to 9.5cm long and from 13mm to 29mm in diameter. Each cylinder contains propellant grains, a delay element, an ejection charge, and is closed on both ends by a clay nozzle and clay cap. The only variation of this composition is the booster engines which do not contain a delay element, ejection charge or clay cap. This type of model rocket engine or motor is manufactured in five physical sizes. However, their construction utilizes the same components throughout all five sizes.

Analysis and Justification

The goods meet the terms of heading 36.01 as "propellent powders".  As per the Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 36.01, propellent powders are described as, "… mixtures, the combustion of which produces a large volume of hot gases. These gases generate a propellent effect." Furthermore, the EN also provides that "In the case of propellent powders for rockets, combustion produces a constant pressure and the escape of gases through a nozzle gives the propellent effect."  The goods contain grains of potassium nitrate, sulfur, and charcoal that, when ignited, produce a gas that is directed through a nozzle which then provides a propellent effect.  Note (3) of the EN's for heading 36.01 further defines propellent powders for rockets of this heading as containing combustible ingredients and ingredients which support combustion.  In the chemical compound, the sulfur and charcoal act as the combustion ingredients while the potassium nitrate is the oxidizer that supports the combustion. The good meet the definition of homogeneous propellent powders for rockets as they are composed of essentially organic nitrate (potassium nitrate) with the addition of combustible products (sulfur and charcoal).

Also considered was the suggested heading of 36.04 as it was proposed that the goods met the general description of "pyrotechnic articles". However, as per the EN to heading 36.04 "This heading covers pyrotechnic articles capable of producing luminous, acoustic, gaseous, smoke-producing or incendiary effects". This heading was excluded as per EN 36.04 note (1) as the good does not meet the terms of the heading. Further, EN 36.04 also states that "This heading also includes other pyrotechnic devices not specified in the previous groups".  The good is in fact included in the terms of the previous heading of 36.01.

Finally, consideration was given to heading 95.03 as the good met the general description of "Reduced-size ('scale') models and similar recreational models, working or not" as per note 1 of chapter 95, which states, "parts and accessories which are suitable for use solely or principally with articles of this Chapter are to be classified with those articles."  However, this heading is excluded as per the General Rules for the Interpretation of the Harmonized System(GIR) Rule 3(a), as the goods are more specifically included in heading 36.01as per EN 36.01 note (3), which specifically provides for the good, "Propellent powders".


Section 10 of the Customs Tariff directs that classification of imported goods shall be determined in accordance with the GIRs.  Section 11 of the Customs Tariff states that in interpreting the headings and subheadings, regard shall be had to the World Customs Organization's (WCO) Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System.

General Interpretative Rule 1 (GIR 1) directs that titles of Sections, Chapters and sub-Chapters are provided for ease of reference only.  For legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the heading and any relative Section and Chapter Notes.  Similarly, General Interpretative Rule 6 (GIR 6) directs that classification shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related Subheading Notes. 

This decision rendered is in accordance with the GIR 3(a) and 6, and Canadian Rule 1, as well as WCO EN 36.01.  The model rocket engine is correctly classified under tariff classification 3601.00.00.00.  The Customs Tariff does not classify the good by size or variation therefore, this advance ruling is also applicable to the submitted variations.

Legislative/Administrative References

This ruling has been issued under paragraph 43.1(1)(c) of the Customs Act and will be honoured by the CBSA for future importations of the goods specified, provided the material facts and circumstances remain as originally presented; all conditions in the ruling have been met; the ruling has not been modified, revoked, revised, or cancelled; and the Customs Tariff legislation has not changed.  Should there be a change in the material facts or circumstances pertaining to the goods, you must notify the CBSA as soon as possible.  You may request that the advance ruling be modified or revoked as of the date of the change.

Importers should quote the advance ruling number at the time of importation in either the description field of the B3 entry document or on the Canada Customs Invoice.  Exporters or producers should quote the advance ruling number on the Certificate of Origin or commercial invoice accompanying the goods.

Should you disagree with this advance ruling, you may file a dispute notice under subsection 60(2) of the Customs Act within 90 days of the date of issuance.  Please see the procedures outlined in paragraph 40 of the CBSA's Memorandum D11-11-3, Advance Rulings for Tariff Classification.

This advance ruling is considered 'reason to believe' for the purposes of section 32.2 of the Customs Act and the CBSA's Administrative Monetary Penalty System, described in Memorandum D22-1-1.

All Memoranda referenced in this letter may be accessed on the CBSA website.

Consent to the Public Release of the Advance Ruling

As per your consent statement, we will release this advance ruling to the public, in both official languages, in accordance with the procedures described in Memorandum D11-11-3. The ruling will be published on the CBSA website in 30 days.

CBSA Contact

Mark Grant
Manager, Tariff Policy Unit 'B'
Trade Policy Division
Headquarters, Ottawa

File Number


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