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HQ 955283

March 17, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:F 955283


TARIFF NO.: 3923.90.0000

Mr. Gary P. Bennett
Vice President
Oremco, Inc.
261 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10016-2303

RE: Plastic Pallets and Carriers from The Netherlands

Dear Mr. Bennett:

This is in reference to your letter of September 15, 1993, to our New York Seaport Area Office, requesting a binding ruling on certain pallets and carriers made of recycled polyethylene. Your request was referred to this office for further consideration.


The subject pallets and carriers, which are designed to carry large metal coils, are made of recycled polyethylene and steel. One of the articles, the KLP Rollpallet consists of two half-circles which may be joined together around a coil of up to 1600mm. It can carry the coil with the axis horizontal. The other article, the KLP Coilcarrier is rectangular in shape and has two or three metal bars which are either fixed or adjustable. The metal bars connect the load bearing plastic portions of the article together at a uniform length. The Coilcarrier can carry coils of different sizes with the axis vertical. Strapping holds the coils together and to either the rollpallet or coilcarrier. Both articles are designed to hold cargo while in storage and to facilitate the movement of cargo by fork lift truck. Each of the subject articles consists of two surfaces separated by bearers. One surface rests on the floor while the - 2 -
other surface bears the load. The fork of a fork lift truck can fit in between the two surfaces and, when raised against the bottom of the top surface, lift the pallet or carrier and the articles stored thereon. Each article may also be lifted with a sling. A coil on a coilcarrier may also be lifted by using a special fork lift which utilizes a long rod which is placed through the center of the coil to lift the coil and coilcarrier rather than a regular fork lift which would utilize two blades placed between the two surfaces of the article.


What is the classification of the subject articles?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order.
GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the heading and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied, taken in order.

In considering the classification of the subject articles we noted that they, although differing in shape, perform a common function. They are portable platforms for the assembly of a quantity of goods to a unit load for handling, transportation and storage by a fork lift truck. In this regard they perform the same function as a pallet.

Subheading 4415.20, HTSUSA, specifically provides for pallets and other similar equipment. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized System for heading 44.15, which represents the opinion of the international classification experts, defines a pallet as:

"...a load board consisting of two decks separated by bearers or a single deck supported by feet and designed essentially for handling by means of fork-lift truck or pallet trucks."

The term load boards referenced in the above definition is also defined in such EN as:

"...portable platforms for the assembly of a quantity of goods to form a unit load for handling, transportation and storage by mechanical appliances."

We believe that these definitions describe the articles under consideration. However, since the subject articles are primarily of plastic and the aforementioned subheading covers only pallets made of wood, the articles would not be classifiable in subheading 4415.20. While there is no other specific provision covering pallets, we have concluded that these items are to be classified in the provisions which cover the material from which the pallet is made and that the description of pallet may be applied to such an article regardless of the material of which it is composed. We believe that the discussion of the term pallet under the provisions of articles of wood is not intended to limit such term to pallets made of wood but that it is merely a recognition of the fact that pallets have historically been made of wood.

Both articles have some metal components. The metal in the rollpallet consists of four 5 inch pieces of steel which minimize wear and damage to the pallet during the handling process. Classification based on such metal pieces was not considered because of the minimal size and significance of such metal pieces.

The metal in the coilcarrier, bars and plates to which the plastic components are bolted, performs a more significant function in that it holds the load bearing components together. This article is a composite of metal and plastic and is classifiable in accordance with GRI 3(b) which provides that composite articles are classifiable according to the material or component which gives the article is essential character. As herein pertinent essential character is determined by the role of the plastic component to the use of the goods.

Since the rollpallet is primarily composed of plastic and since the essential character of the coilcarrier is its plastic component, we next consulted chapter 39, HTSUSA, and, in particular heading 3923 which covers articles for the conveyance or packing of goods of plastics. That heading provides for many different articles which are used to convey or which facilitate the conveyance of goods. Accordingly, while pallets are not specifically mentioned therein we believe that they would come within the scope of the "Other" provision at the end thereof.


Plastic articles which hold coils in either a vertical or horizontal position and which facilitate the handling, - 4 -
transportation and storage of metal coils and which, when loaded, are designed for handling by means of fork lift trucks, are classifiable in subheading 3923.90.0000, HTSUSA. Merchandise so classified is subject to a general rate of duty of 3 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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