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HQ 087580

AUG 6 1990

CAL-2:CO:R:C:G 087580 JAS


TARIFF NO.: 8609.00.0000

Michael F. Di Croce, Esq.
Ragan & Mason
1156 Fifteenth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005

RE: Refrigerated Freight Containers; Reefers

Dear Mr. Di Croce:

In a letter to you, dated December 6, 1989 (085296), as counsel for Sea-Land Service, Inc., we addressed the tariff status of certain refrigerated freight containers.

In the cited ruling, we held that the refrigerated containers were classifiable under the provision for containers specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport, in subheading 8609.00.0000, Harmonized tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), subject to entry free of duty. However, we have reviewed the matter again and now believe that the ruling requires clarification. In our review, we have carefully considered the additional comments you submitted by letter dated July 20, 1990.

The material in ruling 085296 appearing under the caption LAW AND ANALYSIS on page 2 is superseded by the following.

For purposes of GRI 3(a), when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials, substances or components contained in mixed or composite goods, those headings are to be regarded as being equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods. GRI 3(b) provides in part that composite goods made up of different components which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they
consisted of the component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The articles in question are intermodal freight containers to which combination refrigeration/heating units have been added, and which are used primarily in the refrigeration mode. They are composite goods for GRI 3 purposes because the components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary, and together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

Essential character is the distinctive quality or qualities that characterize a person or thing or which serves to distinguish a thing from other things. The nature of the components and their respective roles in relation to the use of the completed article are often factors to be considered in determining essential character.

Heading 8609 covers articles that are designed and suitable for the door-to-door transport of goods without intermediate repacking. The containers of this heading are equipped with fittings to facilitate handling and securing on the transporting vehicle, aircraft or vessel. They are often insulated for perishable foods or goods. This heading is broad in its coverage and provides for a variety of packing receptacles for different types of merchandise. The articles of heading 8418 are machines designed primarily to refrigerate.

The nature of the respective components in relation to the use of the completed article leads us to conclude that it was designed for point-to-point transport of goods, with the capability to refrigerate/heat those goods being subsidiary. We therefore conclude that the container component imparts the essential character to the complete unit. Under the authority of GRI 3(b), therefore, the merchandise is provided for in heading 8609. Actual classification is in subheading 8609.00.0000, HTSUSA, containers specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport, subject to entry free of duty.

Our ruling to you, dated December 6, 1989 (085296), is modified accordingly, but is otherwise affirmed.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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