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HQ 221393

September 10, 1991

CON-9-12 CO:R:C:E 221393 C


W.J. Boyd
Operations Manager
6645 N.E. 78th Court, Suite C-6
Portland, Oregon 97218

RE: Nylon lumber slings; instruments of international traffic; 19 USC 1322(a); 19 CFR 10.41a; T.D. 80-145; 19 USC 1313 drawback not applicable; subheading 9813.00.45, HTSUSA, not applicable; subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUSA; V.S.I.E.

Dear Mr. Boyd:

This responds to your letter of April 13, 1989, concerning duty-free entry for lumber slings used to load and unload lumber onto and from your client's vessels. You requested that we consider the feasibility of duty-free entry for the slings under the Customs laws and regulations, making several suggestions in that regard. We apologize for the delay in responding.

Briefly, we understand the facts as follows: The slings are circular bands of nylon webbing. Units of lumber are placed within the webbing to permit loading of the lumber onto the vessel. Once aboard, the slings remain on the lumber to permit unloading at the port of destination. The slings are later returned to the United States and used again in the same manner.

You suggested several possibilities for obtaining duty-free entry for the slings. Your first suggestion, a refund of duty under the drawback law, 19 U.S.C. 1313, cannot be sustained. The slings, after entry and payment of duty upon return to the United States, are not used in the manufacture or production of other articles as required under manufacturing drawback, nor are they entitled to same condition drawback because they are used in the United States. Duty-free entry under subheading 9813.00.45 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTSUS), your second suggestion, is not likely on the facts you submitted because the subheading applies, in pertinent part, to "containers or other articles in use for covering or holding merchandise . . . during transportation and suitable for reuse for that purpose." (Emphasis added.) Because the slings are not in use upon their return to the United States, they do not qualify under the subheading.

Your third suggestion is subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS, pertaining to products of the United States exported from the United States and returned after temporary use abroad, without having been advanced in value or improved in condition. If the slings are products of the United States, they may qualify for duty-free entry under this provision. They are exported from the United States for only temporary use abroad. They are then returned after such use without having been advanced or improved. If all regulatory requirements are met, duty-free entry should apply upon importation. (See part 10 of the Customs Regulations.)

Finally, you suggest resort to a V.S.I.E. (vessel supplies for immediate export) for duty-free treatment of the slings. A V.S.I.E. is a kind of bond movement used primarily upon the withdrawal of vessel supplies from a bonded warehouse for immediate transportation to the departing vessel or aircraft upon which the supplies will be exported. This too is inapplicable to your situation.

It is noted for your information that Treasury Decision 80- 145 held that similar slings could qualify as instruments of international traffic (IIT's) under 19 U.S.C. 1322(a) and 19 CFR 10.41a. That ruling applied to slings that met the following criteria: They are (1) substantial, (2) suitable for and capable of repeated use, (3) used in significant numbers in international traffic, (4) used to hold merchandise from the time of manufacture until it reaches its destination or is unladen upon importation, and (5) identifiable and distinguishable from other similar slings by permanent markings. From the facts submitted, it appears that the slings in question would not meet the fourth criterion above.

If you have any further questions regarding this letter, please contact our office (202/566-5856). If you have any further questions about the subject of IIT's, please contact the Carrier Rulings Branch (566-5706). Any procedural/operational questions should be directed to the district office where you intend to conduct your transaction.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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