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HQ 115108

August 24, 2000

BOR-4-07 RR:IT:EC 115108 RSD


Barbara Dawley, Esq.
Meeks & Sheppard
1735 Post Road
Fairfield, Connecticut 06430

RE: Instruments of International Traffic; shipping hampers used for shipping ceramic logs; 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a); 19 CFR § 10.41a

This is in response to your letter dated July 17, 2000, on behalf of Corning, Inc. (Corning) requesting that we designate parts which are put together to form shipping hampers as instruments of international traffic. Accompanying your submission, were copies of photographs of the shipping hampers.


The subject articles consist of pallets and tops, plastic outer rings, plastic and cardboard pads, and form trays. These parts are made in Germany and will be assembled in the United States to form the shipping hampers. Shipping hampers are designed to protect delicate ceramic logs during their transit. You state that Corning intends to use the hampers for shipping ceramic logs in international commerce. Currently it is contemplated that the shipping hampers will be used for shipments from the United States to South Africa, but in the future, it is likely that they could be used for shipping to other destinations. It is stated that the hampers and the associated parts are designed for long term use in international trade.

The parts described below are assembled together to form the shipping hamper:

The plastic bottom pallet forms the bottom or floor of the hamper.

The plastic top pallet forms the cover or lid of the hamper, and is shaped to permit multiple hamper stacking in 20’ or 40’ shipping containers.

The plastic outer ring forms the forms the four sides of the hamper and may be folded down for return (empty) voyages. The plastic outer ring is a continuos ring which folds flat when not fitted on the bottom pallet.

The plastic pad is placed on the top of the bottom pallet.

The form tray is used to stack the ceramic logs within the hamper.

The cardboard pad is used between each ceramic log.

Each plastic pad is approximately 1200 x 100 mm in size, the trays are 870 x 1130 mm in size and the cardboard pads are 870 x 85 mm in size. Each hamper will require five to eight trays and fifty pads. A minimum of 1,120 hampers is expected to be transit at any given time with approximately 6,000 hampers available for service.

The plastic outer rings, which form the four sides of the hamper, are capable of being collapsed to facilitate their return to the United States. On shipments inbound to U.S. the four plastic outer rings are collapsed and nested together in one assembled hamper together with five tops. Another assembled hamper will contain the pads and trays. The hampers will have a useful life of up to three years, with at least three or four round trips between the U.S. and Africa each year. When the containers and accessories wear out, they will disposed of in South Africa and will not enter the commerce of the United States.


Whether the subject parts, which are assembled together to form shipping hampers, may be designated as instruments of international traffic within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a) and 19 CFR § 10.41a.


Title 19, United States Code, Section 1322(a) (19 U.S.C. §1322(a)), provides that “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 section 1322(a) are contained in section 10.41a (19 C.F.R. §10.41a). Section 10.41a(a)(1) specifically designates lift vans, cargo vans, shipping tanks, skids, pallets, caulk boards, and cores for textile fabrics as instruments of international traffic.

Section 10.41a(a)(1) also authorizes the Commissioner of Customs to designate other items as instruments of international traffic in decisions to be published in the weekly Customs Bulletin. Once designated as instruments of international traffic, these items may be released without entry or the payment of duty, subject to the provisions of 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 C.F.R. §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), as well as Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRL) 113279, dated November 23, 1994; 112327, dated April 2, 1993; and 112503, dated December 2, 1992.

Upon review of the request and accompanying photographs, we are of the opinion that the containers in question are substantial, suitable for and capable of repeated use, and will used in significant numbers in international traffic. In the past, we have found that collapsible hardwood containers of reinforced steel are IIT’s (see, HRL112503, dated December 2, 1992) and plywood “tops and bottoms” are IIT’s (see, HRL 1105546, dated August 11, 1982). In HRL 113790, February 27, 1997, we determined that collapsible plywood containers with steel supports qualified as IIT’s pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a). Consequently, we find that the subject parts that will be assembled into shipping hampers qualify as IIT’s pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a).


The various subject parts that will be assembled to form collapsible shipping hampers qualify as instruments of international traffic and may be released pursuant to 19 CFR § 10.41a.


Larry L. Burton
Entry Procedures and Carriers Branch

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