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HQ 113916

July 2, 1997

BOR-7-07-RR:IT:EC 113916 CC


William Dalton
Import Manager
International Activities Corporation
849 Mitten Road, Suite 30
Burlingame, CA 94010

RE: IIT; polypropylene bags and straps; 19 U.S.C. ? 1322(a); 19 CFR ? 10.41a

Dear Mr. Dalton:

This is in response to your letter of April 21, 1997, on behalf of Sacramento Bag Manufacturing Co. (SBMC), requesting that we designate certain woven polypropylene bags and straps as instruments of international traffic (IIT's).


You request three types of items be designated as IIT's. The first, "flexible intermediate bulk containers," which you refer to as "bulk bags," are 1 metric ton bags, constructed of 100% woven polypropylene material and weighing 5, 6, or 6.5 ounces per square meter. The bulk bags have an opening at the top, a discharge spout at the bottom, and lifting loops for movement by forklift or crane. The unfilled weight is approximately 5 pounds, and the bulk bags come in the following sizes, in inches: 35 X 35 X 46, 35 X 35 X 50, 35 X 35 X 53, and 36 X 36 X 53.

The second item, referred to by you as "small bags," are made of 100% woven polypropylene, in either 800 or 850 denier. These items are of simple construction, consisting of two rectangular sheets of material hemmed along the edges. The unfilled weight of the bags is approximately 3 ounces, which have a carrying capacity of 25 to 50 kilograms. These bags come in the following sizes, in inches: 24 X 40, 25 X 40, and 22 X 40.

The third item, straps made of 100% polypropylene and 140 or 280 inches in length, have a pulling capacity of 5000 pounds. The straps are used to facilitate the movement and unloading of commodities from the bulk bags by pulling the containers from the inside of larger containers, such as standard ocean shipping containers, and by attaching to commodities inside the bulk bag to ease in unloading, again by pulling to remove the contents. You state that the straps are not intended to be imported separately as accessories within the meaning of 19 CFR ?

You state that SBMC manufactures the bags, which are principally used to transport agricultural products. The bags will be imported in bulk quantities, and invoiced and consigned to the ultimate purchaser or user of the bags. The user of the bags will act as the importer, and file documents under the procedures set forth in 19 CFR ? 10.41a under its own name as the importer of record with a previously obtained continuous bond pursuant to 19 CFR ? 113.66. Subsequent to release of the goods by Customs, the importer will fill the bags with various agricultural products destined for exportation.


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


Section 322(a), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. ? 1322(a)) provides that "[v]ehicles 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 instruction of the Secretary of the Treasury."

The Customs Regulations issued under the authority of section 322(a) are contained in section 10.41a (19 CFR ? 10.41a). Paragraph (a)(1) of section 10.41a designates lift vans, cargo vans, shipping tanks and certain other named articles as IIT's and states that other articles may be designated as IIT's by the Commissioner of Customs in a decision to be published in the weekly Customs Bulletin. Once designated as IIT's, these items may be released without entry or the payment of duty, subject to the provisions of section 10.41a.

To qualify as an instrument of international traffic within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. ? 1322(a) and the regulation promulgated pursuant thereto (19 CFR ? 10.41a et. seq.), 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, subheading 9803.00.50, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), and former Headnote 6(b)(ii), Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), as well as Headquarters Ruling Letters (HQs) 104766, dated August 22, 1988; 109665, dated September 12, 1988; and 109702, dated September 30, 1988.

Upon review of the request and accompanying documentation, we are of the opinion that the polypropylene bags in question, both the "bulk bags" and the "small bags," are substantial, suitable for and capable of repeated use, and used in significant numbers in international traffic. In addition, we have ruled that polypropylene bags qualify as IIT's. See, e.g., Treasury Decision (T.D.) 76-171; HQ 109696, dated September 12, 1988; HQ 111429, dated March 20, 1991; HQ 113220, dated September 28, 1994; and HQ 113407, dated April 25, 1995. Consequently, we find that the subject polypropylene bags qualify as IIT's pursuant to 19 U.S.C. ? 1322(a).

To qualify as an IIT's, the straps must be used as a holder or container. We have found for similar merchandise, sling belts and steel slings, that such articles must be used as holders of merchandise in their containers during shipment, and not merely to lade and unlade the merchandise at their points of origin and destination, to qualify as IIT's. See, e.g., C.S.D. 79-395, T.D. 80-145, HQ 109039, dated August 20, 1987, and HQ 109193, dated January 15, 1988. You state that the straps will be used to facilitate the movement and unloading of commodities from the bulk bags. Consequently, based on the above precedent, the straps would not be considered containers or holders and would not qualify as IIT's.

Finally, you note that the ultimate buyer, importer and user of the IIT's will import the goods in its own name pursuant to a bond filed in accordance with 19 CFR ? 113.66. You have submitted a list of current customers of SBMC and request that this ruling encompass future customers. In HQ 220204, dated March 29, 1988, we found that U.S. fillers or users of polypropylene bags invoiced to them, could have the bags released as IIT's, provided that such users or fillers had filed a bond pursuant to 19 CFR ? 113.66. We note that a copy of the ruling designating the bags as IIT's would be attached to the invoice. Based on HQ 220204, we find that future customers of SBMC could use this ruling to qualify the polypropylene bags as IIT's. HOLDING:

The subject polypropylene bags, both the "bulk bags" and the "small bags," qualify as instruments of international traffic and may be released pursuant to 19 CFR ? 10.41a. The straps do not qualify as instruments of international traffic, and, therefore, must be entered and are subject to any applicable duties and quota.


Jerry Laderberg

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