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HQ 087298

June 28, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087298 CB


Robert G. Kalik, Esq.
Bennett A. Caplan, Esq.
McDermott, Will & Emery
1850 K Street, N. W.
Washington, D.C. 20006

RE: Modification of HRL 086048 issued February 21, 1990

Dear Sirs:

On February 21, 1990, a classification ruling was issued (HRL 086048) classifying a tinplate liquor container manufactured in Scotland. Upon further consideration, that ruling is determined to be in error.


The merchandise involved is a rectangular box of tinplated steel composition. It is approximately 3.5 inches wide, 12.5 inches high and 3.5 inches deep. The container has a hinged front lid, and the inside contains a cardboard box, which is designed to hold a 750 milliliter bottle of Dewar's Scotch. Customs ruled that the metal box was to be classified as a separate article of commerce.


Whether the subject metal boxes were correctly classified?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) 1 through 6. The systematic detail of the HTSUSA is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relevant 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 GRI's may be applied, taken in order.

HRL 086408 held that the subject metal boxes were not the type of container contemplated by GRI 5(b), i.e., not of a kind normally sold with the goods contained therein. Upon further consideration, that ruling is determined to be in error. It remains Customs position that the subject metal boxes are general purpose boxes not specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article as provided for in GRI 5(a). However, with regard to classification under GRI 5(b), it is Customs opinion that, although the box is considered premium packaging, designed to promote the sale of the liquor which it serves to protect during transport, it is nevertheless typical of the kind of container normally used for packing such goods. Additionally, as provided for in GRI 5(b), the boxes are not designed for repetitive use. In view of the foregoing, the metal boxes in question are deemed to constitute packing containers and shall be classified with the liquor pursuant to GRI 5(b).


The subject metal liquor boxes are packing containers within the meaning of GRI 5(b) and shall be classified with the liquor.

HRL 086048 is modified accordingly pursuant to 19 CFR 177.9(d). This notice is not to be applied retroactively to HRL 086048 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)(1989)) and will not, therefore, affect the transaction for the importation of your merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, HRL 086048 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to the release of HRL 086048 will be classified under the new ruling. If such a situation arises, you may, at your discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of the new ruling as may be dictated by the circumstances.


John Durant, Director

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