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NY F89829

July 28, 2000

CLA-2-76:RR:NC:N1:113 F89829


TARIFF NO.: 7326.90.8586; 8609.00.0000

Mr. John F. Jãger
Toyota Tsusho America, Inc.
702 Triport Road (CL 960)
Georgetown, KY 40324

RE: The tariff classification of metal shipping pallets from Japan

Dear Mr. Jãger:

In your letter dated July 17, 2000, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The merchandise is a number of steel pallets suitable for repeated use in the transportation of auto parts. The construction allows these pallets to be stacked to increase the efficiency of transportation and to use storage space effectively. The pallets include a transmission pallet, an engine pallet and a cylinder head pallet. The transmission and engine pallets are flat pallets with a pillar fold-up system. The pillars are on each corner and may be folded up to allow one pallet to be stacked on top of another. The cylinder head pallet, on the other hand, is shown as having a steel structure that encloses the cylinder head at the sides and top.

The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. Heading 86.09, HTS, provides for containers (including containers for the transport of fluids) specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport. The EN’s to that heading describe the heading as:

These containers (including lift vans) are packing receptacles . . . The more usual type, which may be of wood or metal, consists of a large box equipped with doors, or with removable sides.

The principal types of container include:

(1) Furniture removal containers.
(2) Insulated containers for perishable foods or goods. (3) Containers (generally cylindrical) for the transport of liquids or gases. These containers fall in this heading only if they incorporate a support enabling them to be fitted to any type of transporting vehicle or vessel; otherwise they are classified according to their constituent material. (4) Open containers for bulk transport of coal, ores, paving blocks, bricks, tiles, etc. These often have hinged bottoms or sides to facilitate unloading. (5) Special types for particular goods, especially for fragile goods such as glassware, ceramics, etc., or for live animals.

Containers usually vary in size from 4 to 145 m3 capacity. Certain types are however smaller, but their capacity is not normally less than 1 m3.

The transmission pallets and engine pallets are not similar to the exemplars of these Notes. They are not packing receptacles and they have no measurable internal volume. They are flat platforms with no sides or top.

Each article referred to as a container in the Explanatory Notes has a measurable capacity. On the other hand, pallets, for example, the pallets, box pallets and other load boards of subheading 4415.20, are described as:

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

A pallet is 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 trucks or pallet trucks. Box pallets have a superstructure of at least three fixed, removable or collapsible vertical sides and designed for stacking with a double-decked pallet or another box pallet.

Load boards are essentially flat. Nowhere in the notes are they described as containers, even though the box pallet has sides. Given this, the transmission pallets and engine pallets are not containers in the common meaning of the term. The transmission and engine pallets are shipping devices onto which the goods are placed and secured. This is not the same as a container, into which things are put.

The applicable subheading for the transmission pallets and engine pallets will be 7326.90.8586, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other articles of iron or steel, other. The rate of duty will be 2.9 percent ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the cylinder head pallet will be 8609.00.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for containers (including containers for the transport of fluids) specially designed and equipped for carriage by one or more modes of transport. The rate of duty will be free.

You also requested a ruling on whether marking by paint stencil of "Made in Japan" is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported pallets. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review. Your brochure shows information painted on the side of the top deck of the pallet. We assume that the marking will appear there or in an equally conspicuous place.

The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article.

As provided in section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), the country of origin marking is considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

With regard to the permanency of a marking, section 134.41(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(a)), provides that as a general rule marking requirements are best met by marking worked into the article at the time of manufacture. For example, it is suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be die sunk, molded in, or etched. However, section 134.44, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.44), generally provides that any marking that is sufficiently permanent so that it will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless deliberately removed is acceptable.

The proposed marking of imported pallets , as described above, is conspicuously, legibly and permanently marked in satisfaction of the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 and is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported pallets.

The question of the applicability of 9803.00.50 for the articles is being referred to the Office of Regulations and Rulings, U.S. Customs Service Headquarters, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20229. A ruling will be issued to you from that office.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177). A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist James Smyth at 212-637-7008.


Robert B. Swierupski

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