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HQ 082708

March 30, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:CV:G 082708 VEA


TARIFF NO.: 7326.90.90, 7309.00.00

Michael Melideo, President
Consolidated Fabricators Corp.
14620 Arminta Street
Van Nuys, California 91402

RE: Tariff Classification of Steel Containers imported from Mexico

Dear Mr. Melideo:

This letter is in response to your inquiry dated August 15, 1988, requesting the proper tariff classification of steel storage containers imported from Mexico, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS).


The merchandise in question consists of four steel storage containers designed to hold scrap, garbage, tools and equipment, and rubbish. The information submitted with the request states that the containers were made from steel sheets exported from the United States into Mexico under the Maquiladora In-Bond Program. The steel sheets undergo a series of manufacturing operations at Consolidated's plant in Mexico, which transform them into containers. These operations include forming the steel sheets into container parts and assembling the container parts to form a garbage, rubbish or storage container. The four containers at issue include a scrap metal container, which has various stacking capabilities; a tilt hopper dump design container; a storage body container used at construction and other work sites to hold work tools and other implements; and a roll off container (rubbish and scrap container). The roll off container can be crane lifted or winched drawn on to flatbed trucks.

This inquiry was submitted to Headquarters for a proper tariff classification and a determination of whether the merchandise is substantially transformed in Mexico. The latter issue was answered in our ruling of March 14, 1989, (File # 555111).


Whether steel storage containers are properly classified in heading 7309, HTS, as reservoirs, tanks, vats and similar containers, or in heading 7326, HTS, as other articles of iron or steel.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) govern classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). According to GRI 1, the primary consideration in determining whether an article should be classified in a particular heading should be given to the language of the heading and to any relevant chapter or section notes.

The headings at issue in this case include:

7309 Reservoirs, tanks, vats and similar containers for any material (other than compressed or liquefied gas), of iron or steel, of a capacity exceeding 300 liters, whether or not lined or heat insulated, but not fitted with mechanical or thermal equipment.

7326 Other articles of iron or steel:

Pursuant to GRI 1, the containers in this case are properly classifiable in heading 7309. To qualify for classification in this heading, a container must first, be a reservoir, tank, vat, or similar container used to store any material and second, it must be made of iron or steel with a capacity not exceeding 300 liters. The articles at issue in this case, containers, are expressly provided for in heading 7309. They are designed to store materials (scrap, garbage, tools and equipment, and rubbish) and are made of iron and steel.

The Explanatory Notes, the official interpretation of the HTS at the international level, although not legally binding, provide some guidance on interpreting provisions under the HTS. The Explanatory Notes for heading 7309 also confirm that these containers should be classified in 7309. They suggest that this heading was intended to apply to containers designed to store both solids and liquids. The Explanatory Notes state that 7309 covers containers for any material other than compressed or liquefied gas. A list of the types of containers classified in the heading include: petrol or oil reservoirs; vats used in malt-houses for soaking barley; fermentation vats for liquids (wine, beer, etc.), decanting or clarifying vats for liquids of all kinds; vats for tempering and annealing metal goods; water storage tanks; and containers for solids.

Since classification in this case can be made based on the language of heading 7309, it is unnecessary to look to heading 7326.


Steel storage containers are properly classified as reservoirs, tanks, vats and similar containers in heading 7309, subheading 7309.00.00.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Divison

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