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HQ 083801

June 6, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G: 083801 BPM


TARIFF NO.: 9406.00.80

Mr. Robert J. Woody
Lane & Mittendorf
919 18th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006

RE: Unassembled steel and wood storage units.

Dear Mr. Woody:

By letter dated February 14, 1989, you requested a ruling on the appropriate tariff classification of unassembled steel and wood storage units under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Your request has been forwarded to this office for a reply.


The goods to be classified herein are storage units of 22 gauge steel with wooden flooring. The units are entered unassembled, are available in two sizes, and, once assembled, are intended to be fastened together to form a single structure containing separate storage units. The two locker sizes are 4' x 4' x 4' and 4' x 4' x 8'.


Are unassembled storage units of steel and wood classifiable under heading 9406, HTSUSA, as prefabricated buildings, or under subheading 8609, HTSUSA, as containers specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport?


The importer of the goods, U.S. Safe-Guard Corporation (Safe-Guard), argues that the lockers should be classified under 8609.00.00, HTSUSA, which covers "containers specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport." Safe-Guard points out that "[t]he containers are fitted with skids so that they can be readily picked up by a forklift, loaded onto a flatbed trailer, then moved to another location where needed." The Explanatory Notes to heading 8609 indicate that the heading covers only packing receptacles specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport--those containers that are equipped with fittings to facilitate handling and securing on the transporting vehicle, that are suitable for door-to-door transport of goods without intermediate repacking and that are intended to be used repeatedly for the transport of goods. The lockers are not designed to be used repeatedly for the transport of goods. They merely have a feature that accomodates their own transportation and relocation if needed. They are not the type of container described by 8609, HTSUSA.

Safe-Guard also argues that the lockers are not described by subheading 9406.00.80 because they are not "structures." Heading 9406 covers "prefabricated buildings." The term "prefabricated buildings" is defined by Chapter Note 4 to mean "buildings which are finished in the factory or put up as elements, entered together, to be assembled on site, such as housing or worksite accomodation, offices, schools, shops, sheds, garages or similar buildings." The lockers are prefabricated sheds used as storehouses, and are therefore "prefabricated buildings" as that term is used in the HTSUSA. Additionally, the larger lockers are displayed in the sales literature accompanying the request as suitable for use as garages for motorcycles. Garages also fall within the definition of "prefabricated buildings" found in Note 4.

Heading 9406 contains two legal subheadings--one for prefabricated buildings "of wood," and one for "other" prefabricated buildings. The lockers are potentially classifiable under either of the two subheadings within Heading 9406 since they are composed of metal and wood. Rule 2(b), General Rules of Interpretation, made applicable to the subheadings by Rule 6, states that the classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be determined according to the principles of Rule 3. Rule 3(a) provides that when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials of the goods, the subheadings are to be regarded as equally specific. Subheading 9406.00.40, by referring to
wood, clearly refers to part only of the lockers. Subheading 9406.00.80, contains the word "other," which refers to the metal and other non-wooden parts of the lockers, and therefore refers to part only of the lockers as well.

Since the two subheadings of heading 9406 each refer to part only of the materials composing the lockers, the principles of Rule 3(b) apply. Rule 3(b) requires classification of the lockers as if they consisted of the material giving them their essential character. Because the metal components comprise a majority of the bulk, weight and value of the lockers, and because the essential elements of the buildings (walls, roof and doors) are metal, metal is the material giving the lockers their essential character. The lockers are therefore classified as if they were composed of metal.


The Safe-Guard prefabricated storage units are properly classified as other prefabricated buildings of metal under subheading 9406.00.8030, HTSUSA, dutiable at 5.7 percent ad valorem.

Any Export Steel Certificate required by the United States Department of Commerce (to be obtained from the Mexican Department of Commerce pursuant to the Understanding Concerning Trade in Certain Steel Products between the Government of the United Mexican States and the Government of the United States of America) must be presented at the time of entry. You may want to obtain a decision on this requirement from the Office of Agreements Compliance of the International Trade Commission, Department of Commerce.


John Durant, Director

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