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HQ 951274

June 7, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951274 JED


TARIFF NO.: 4415.10.9000

District Director, Blaine
United States Customs Service
9901 Pacific Highway
Blaine, Washington 98230

RE: Request for further review of protest 3004-91-000224; wooden boxes imported without lids

Dear District Director:

The following is our response to the request for further review of Protest No. 3004-91-000224, concerning your decision on the classification of wooden boxes imported separately from their lids.


The merchandise involved is wooden salmon roe boxes. The protestant, a box manufacturer, in filling "a large order involving more than one trailer load of complete assembled boxes", due to "production scheduling", shipped "two full vans of assembled boxes without tops, followed by the balance of the boxes, and all the tops for the order."

Entry of the boxes without lids was attempted under subheading 4415.10.3000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA):

4415 Packing cases, boxes, crates, drums and similar packings, of wood; cable drums, of wood; pallets, box-pallets and other load boards, of wood: 4415.10 Cases, boxes, crates, drums and similar packings; cable drums:
4415.10.3000 Packing boxes and cases with solid sides, lids and bottoms

Articles so classified are imported free of duty.

Customs disagreed with that classification since the requisite lids were not present with the boxes at time of importation. Customs placed the boxes in subheading

4415.10.9000, HTSUSA, Boxes, Other. Such importations were assessed a Column 1, Special rate of duty of 11.2% ad valorem pursuant to the United States-Canada Free Trade Agreement.


Whether boxes imported separately from their lids may be classified in a subheading describing "packing boxes...with


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in appropriate order provide a framework for classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The majority of imported goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the heading of the tariff schedule and any relative Section or Chapter Notes.

GRI 2(a) states in pertinent part:

Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article.

In this instance, although a box without a lid could be considered an unfinished box, GRI 2(a) cannot be applied. GRI 1 must be considered first, and the description in the heading requires a lid be present.

For an article, in this case a packing box, to be classifiable under subheading 4415.10.3000, HTSUSA, a lid must be present with the box at the time the goods arrive within the Customs territory of the United States. Section 141.l(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 141.l(a)), states:

141.1 Liability of importer for duties.

(a) Time duties accrue. Duties and the liability for their payment accrue upon imported merchandise... at the time of arrival within the Customs territory of the United States if the merchandise arrives otherwise than by vessel, unless otherwise specially provided for by law.

In the entries subject to the instant protest, no lids were present with the boxes at the time of arrival. The fact that the same party importing the boxes imported the lids at a later date and joined the two importations to produce boxes with lids does not matter in regard to the time liability for payment of duties accrued.


Classification of merchandise is determined based upon its condition as imported. In this instance, at the time the subject boxes were considered imported, no lids were present. Accordingly, classification in subheading 4415.10.3000, HTSUSA, was incorrect. Subheading 4415.10.9000, HTSUSA, is the proper classification.

You are instructed to deny the protest in full. A copy of this ruling should be attached to Customs Form 19, Notice of Action, furnished to the protestant.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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