United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1997 HQ Rulings > HQ 112890 - HQ 113749 > HQ 113718

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 113718

October 18, 1996
BOR-4-07-RR-IT-EC 113718 GOB


Donald J. Unger, Esq.
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
200 East Randolph Drive
Suite 7920
Chicago, IL 60601

RE: Instruments of international traffic; 19 U.S.C. 1322; 19 CFR 10.41a; Wooden spacers; Thread protectors; Spindle nuts; Plastic caps

Dear Mr. Unger:

This is in response to your letter dated September 20, 1996 on behalf of Dana Corporation ("Dana").


You request that certain wooden spacers and thread protectors (spindle nuts and plastic caps) be designated as instruments of international traffic within the meaning of 19 CFR 10.41a.

Your letter states as follows, in pertinent part:

Dana imports rear axle housings from its facility in Canada and manufacturers [sic] them into axle assemblies at its plant in Hilliard, Ohio. The axle housings are imported on skids containing 12 to 18 housings each, stacked five to six rows high.
Wooden spacers, each approximately four by six inches, and four feet long, are used to separate the imported axle housings from each other and to hold them in place...There are approximately 18 such wooden spacers per skid. The spacers are all returned to the Dana facility in Canada and are reused continuously in this manner. Each wooden spacer is approximately $4.00 (US) in value. A wooden spacer has a life of approximately a year and a half, and is used in shipments approximately every three to four weeks.

Each end of an axle housing contains a threaded end called a "spindle" to which other components are threaded after importation at Dana's Hilliard facility. In order to protect the spindle threading, two types of thread protectors are used. One type consists of spindle nuts which are threaded to each spindle by the Canadian facility prior to shipment to the United States. Dana removes these spindle nuts and returns them to the Canadian facility for use with subsequent shipments of axle housings. The Canadian facility purchases the spindle nuts only for this purpose and no other use is made of the spindle nuts by either the Canadian or Hilliard facilities...Each Spindle [sic] nut is approximately $1.50 (US) in value. The life of the nuts is almost unlimited and they can be used for years. Like the spacers, they are used in shipments approximately every three to four weeks.

The Canadian facility also uses plastic caps to protect the threaded spindle ends of the axle housings...The plastic caps are removed and sent back to the Canadian facility for reuse. Each cap is approximately 50 cents (US) in value. Dana is phasing out use of the plastic caps and will be using the spindle nuts exclusively. Plastic end caps have a life of approximately one year, and like the other items described above are used in shipments approximately every three to four weeks.

Your office advised telephonically that: the spindle nuts are made of metal and that they are approximately three and one-half inches across and approximately three-eighths of an inch deep; and the plastic caps are approximately three and one half inches in diameter and approximately three inches deep.


Whether the subject items may be designated as instruments of international traffic within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. 1322(a) and 19 CFR 10.41a.


19 U.S.C. 1322(a) states in part:

Vehicles and other instruments of international traffic, of any class specified by the Secretary of the Treasury, shall be excepted from the application of the customs laws to such extent and subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed in regulations or instructions of the Secretary of the Treasury.

The Customs Regulations issued under the authority of 19 U.S.C. 1322 are contained in 19 CFR 10.41a. 19 CFR 10.41a(a)(1) designates lift vans, cargo vans,
shipping tanks, skids, pallets, caul boards, and cores for textile fabrics as instruments for international traffic.

19 CFR 10.41a(a)(1) also authorizes the Commissioner of Customs to designate as instruments of international traffic such additional articles or classes of articles as he shall find should be so designated. Instruments so designated may be released without entry or the payment of duty, subject to the provisions of 19 CFR 10.41a. Instruments so designated are also stated to be duty-free in subheading 9803.00.50, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

To qualify as an instrument of international traffic within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. 1322(a) and 19 CFR 10.41a, an article must be used as a container or holder; the article must be substantial, suitable for and capable of repeated use, and used in significant numbers in international traffic. See Headquarters decisions 108084, 108658, 109665, and 109702.

After a review of the information submitted, we determine that the wooden spacers, spindle nuts, and plastic caps, as described supra, meet the requirements to be designated as instruments of international traffic.


The wooden spacers, spindle nuts, and plastic caps are designated as instruments of international traffic within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. 1322(a) and 19 CFR 10.41a.


Entry and Carrier Rulings Branch

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: