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HQ 086093

January 16, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086093 CMS


TARIFF NO.: 7326.90.90

Mr. John Hirsch
Foster International, Inc.
50 O'Connor St., Suite 1011
Ottowa, Canada KIP6L2

RE: Fuel Systems for Outboard Motors

Dear Mr. Hirsch,

You petitioned on behalf of your client, Outboard Motor Corporation, for reconsideration of the ruling issued by the Area Director, New York Seaport (NY 827846, dated April 26, 1988), regarding the classification of certain fuel delivery systems for outboard motors. Your petition is based on the fact that the descriptive literature submitted with the original ruling request did not correctly describe the merchandise. New descriptive literature was submitted with your current petition. Our decision follows.


The merchandise consists of 2 1/2 and 5 gallon fuel tanks for outboard motors. The tanks are imported with and without plastic fuel hoses which contain a primer bulb assembly.

The fuel tanks are constructed of heavy gauge template steel. The tanks have skirted bottoms which keep the tank bottoms off the boat deck. Additional features include carrying handles, fuel gauges, vented caps and fuel line fittings.

The fuel hoses range in length from 6' to 8', and have a 1/4" inner diameter. The hoses contain a primer bulb assembly with which one can manually pump fuel from the tank to the motor before starting the motor. The fuel hoses, when not in use, can be wrapped around hooks attached to each end of the fuel tanks.


1. Are the fuel tanks classified in Heading 7310, as steel containers of a capacity not exceeding 300 liters, not fitted with mechanical equipment, or in Heading 7326, as other articles of steel?

2. Are the fuel hoses classified with the tanks when imported together, or are the hoses classified separately?


Classification of Tanks

Heading 7310 describes steel tanks, casks, drums, cans, boxes and similar containers, of a capacity not exceeding 300 liters, not fitted with mechanical equipment. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 7310, p. 1022, indicate that Heading 7310 covers containers "...commonly used for the commercial conveyance and packing of goods, and such containers installed as fixtures..." such as "...tar and oil drums; petrol cans; milk churns...". The Notes, p. 1022, also indicate that these "...containers may be equipped with tap-holes, bungs, lids or other closures to facilitate filling and emptying ."

Heading 7310 requires that containers classified here may not be fitted with mechanical equipment; however, the Explanatory Notes indicate that certain fittings (e.g. bungs, lids) are not considered to be mechanical equipment since they merely facilitate the filling and emptying of these containers which are used to convey and store goods.

The tanks under consideration differ from the type of containers described in the Explanatory Notes to Heading 7310 in several respects. Although the tanks under consideration can be used to convey and store fuel, they have an additional function of being connected to an outboard motor through a fuel line and acting as a fuel source to the motor. They are not primarily designed for the commercial conveyance of fuel from point to point, but function to provide fuel to the motor from the beginning of a voyage (or when other fuel tanks being used become empty). The only fuel conveyed to the termination point of a voyage is the fuel not consumed by the motor. The tanks' fuel hose fittings and filtered pick-ups are not used to fill the tank, and only empty the tank to the extent that fuel is consumed by the motor.

The article description for Heading 7310 specifically provides for "containers". The Explanatory Notes indicate that

Heading 7310 containers are commonly used for commercial conveyance or packing. Since the tanks under consideration perform fuel delivery functions as well as storage functions, the question arises as to whether they are more than Heading 7310 containers.

The tanks are described by the importer as components of a fuel system. The importer's brochure is entitled "Fuel Systems", and subtitled "2 1/2 And 5 Gallon Tanks". The only items pictured on the cover of the brochure are two 5 gallon tanks (one with fuel line, one without), and one 2 1/2 gallon tank. The first paragraph of the narrative portion of the brochure states:

A mismatched fuel system could result in lower performance, poor fuel economy or even engine damage. Only OMC fuel systems are SysteMatched; from the filtered pick-up in the fuel tank to the fuel filter on the engine, and every component in-between. So you're assured of a proper fuel flow for all operating conditions.

The separately sold fuel hoses which connect to the tanks are described in the brochure as "Fuel System Accessories".

McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia Of Science And Technology, Sixth Ed., 1987, Vol. 7, p. 454 defines a "fuel system" as:

A system which stores fuel for present use and delivers it as needed to an engine.

The tanks under consideration are multifunctional articles. The tanks (1) store fuel, and (2) deliver fuel as needed to an outboard engine. The importer's brochure indicates that in addition to having a fitting to which fuel hoses attach, the tanks have an internal "filtered pick-up" which assists in delivering fuel from the tank to the engine.

The general classification rule for a multifunctional item is that "where an article is in character or function something other than is described by a specific statutory provision--either more limited or more diversified--and the difference is significant, it cannot find classification within such provision." Supermarket Systems, U.S., Inc., v. United States, CIT , Slip Op. 89-153 at 18 (October 27, 1989), quoting Robert Bosch Corp. et al. v. United States, 63 Cust. Ct. 96, 103, C.D. 3881 (1969). To determine whether an imported article is more than an article provided for in a particular Tariff provision, it is necessary to determine the common meaning of the provision and compare it with the merchandise under consideration. Supermarket Systems, U.S., Inc., p. 19.

Webster's New International Dictionary, 2nd Ed., Unabridged, (1939), defines "container":

1. One who or anything that contains.
2. Specif., a receptacle, as a box, carton, or crate used in commerce, for the packing and shipment of articles.

Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged Ed., (1973), defines "container":
anything that contains or can contain something, as a carton, box, crate, can, etc.

The Explanatory Notes to Heading 7310 do not list all types of containers classified in Heading 7310; however, the Notes do indicate that Heading 7310 containers are in conformity with the common meaning of "containers" in that they are used to pack and convey goods.

The fuel tanks under consideration are more diversified than the containers classified under Heading 7310. The tanks' fuel delivery function is a primary function which is at least co- equal with the fuel storage function. Without the fuel hose fittings and fuel pick-ups, the tanks would not have the means to deliver fuel to the engine and could not function as part of the OMC fuel system.

The fuel tanks are more than Heading 7310 containers and thus cannot be classified in Heading 7310. The tanks are not described in any other heading and are classified in 7326.90.90, HTSUSA as other articles of steel.

Classification of Fuel Hoses

Fuel hoses are sold with two of the tanks listed in the importer's descriptive literature. These hoses and their respective tanks are classified as composite articles under General Rule of Interpretation 3(b). The components (i.e. tank and hose) are adapted to each other and are of a type which are not normally offered for sale separately. The components are mutually complementary in carrying out the function of a system which delivers fuel to an outboard motor.

The component which gives the fuel delivery system its essential character is the fuel tank. While both the tank and hose are necessary for the composite article to provide fuel to the motor, the tank performs the additional function of holding
the fuel until such time as it is delivered to the outboard motor. The hose acts as a conduit which connects the fuel tank and motor, rather than as the essential article to which other components are subordinate. The hoses which are imported and offered for sale with fuel tanks (e.g. models 397767 and 397446) are classified with the tanks in 7326.90.90, HTSUSA.


NY Ruling 827846 correctly classified the fuel tanks in 7326.90.90, HTSUSA. NY Ruling 827846 correctly determined that the fuel hoses imported and offered for sale with fuel tanks are components of composite goods, classified in 7326.90.90, HTSUSA.


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