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HQ 088741

April 25, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 088741 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 7326.90.90

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
111 West Huron Street
Buffalo, New York 14202

RE: Protest and Request for Further Review No. 0901-0-825-344, dated July 14, 1989; Steel Racks

Dear District Director:

The following is our decision regarding the Protest and Request for Further Review No.0901-9-825344, dated July 14, 1989. At issue is the classification of steel racks.


The merchandise at issue are containers with steel frames and flat bottoms that are open on three sides and at the top. The containers have removable end frames. When the steel containers are shipped full, they are placed in the open position and are either strapped down on an open deck trailer or stacked inside a van trailer. In addition, the containers have forklift/tiedown channels and lifting lugs to facilitate loading/unloading by forklift in factory-to-factory and in- factory movement.

Upon importation the steel containers were classified in subheading 7326.90.90, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of steel, other, other.

The Protestant argues that the steel containers are properly classifiable in subheading 8609.00.00, HTSUSA, which provides for containers (including containers for the transport of fluids) specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport. Protestant states that these containers are specially designed for repetitive use in door-to-door transport of goods by truck or rail. These shipping containers are of substantial construction and are fitted with loops and guides to facilitate handling and securing on the transporting vehicle.


Are the steel racks containers specially designed and equipped as required for classification in Heading 8609, HTSUSA.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) set forth the manner in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's, taken in order.

Heading 8609, HTSUSA, provides for containers specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport. The Explanatory Notes provide the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level. The Explanatory Notes to Heading 8609, HTSUSA, provide the following:

These containers are packing receptacles specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport (e.g., road, rail, water or air). They are equipped with fittings (hooks, rings, castors, supports, etc.) to facilitate handling and securing on the transporting vehicle, aircraft or vessel. They are thus suitable for the "door-to-door" transport of goods without intermediate repacking and, being of robust construction, are intended to be used repeatedly.

The more usual type, which may be of wood or metal, consists of a large box equipped with doors, or with removable sides.

In addition, the ENs state that Heading 8609, HTSUSA, excludes cases, crates, etc., which though designed for the door- to-door transport of goods are not specially constructed as described above to be secured to the transporting vehicle, aircraft or vessel (Emphasis added); these are classified according to their constituent material.

While tariff provisions carrying a free rate are often given a broad and liberal construction so as to carry out the apparent intent of Congress, the class or kind of merchandise covered by those provisions may not be expanded, under the guise of such a liberal construction, beyond the plain meaning of the terms used.

The ENs above indicate that the type of container to be included under this heading "consists of a larger box equipped with doors or with removable sides." The instant merchandise is not of this type, since it is simply a metal pallet with vertical metal posts attached at the four corners. This type of container is used primarily to move material around inside a plant or warehouse.

In addition, the design of the forklift/tiedown channels and lifting lugs on these containers makes then compatible for use with forklifts and small factory-type work trucks. That the channels and lugs may also serve as a means of chaining the containers to the trucks or rail cars does not make the instant containers specially constructed. Therefore, the subject containers are not specially designed for the transporting vehicles but for facilitating loading/unloading or in-factory movement.


The steel racks are classifiable in subheading 7326.90.90, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of iron and steel, other, other. The rate of duty is 5.7 percent ad valorem.

The protest should be denied in full. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Form 19 Notice of Action to be sent to the Protestant.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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