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HQ 115710

July 22, 2002

BOR-4-04-RR:IT:EC 115710 GEV


William H. Shawn, Esq.
1850 M Street, N.W.
Suite 2000
Washington, D.C. 20036-5804

RE: Instruments of International Traffic; Canadian-based Trucks; 19 U.S.C. § 1322

Dear Mr. Shawn:

This is in response to your letter dated June 6, 2002, on behalf of your client, Highland Transport of Markham, Ontario, Canada, requesting a ruling regarding the transportation of merchandise in the United States by a Canadian-based truck. Our ruling on this matter is set forth below:


A Canadian-based trailer would be loaded with U.S.-destined goods in a Mexican city (such as Apan, Chihuahua, Durango, Monclova, Nuevo Laredo, Pachuca, and Torreon) and transported, using a Mexican-based tractor, to Laredo, Texas. In Laredo, a Canadian-based tractor, operated by Highland Transport and delivering a southbound international load from such Canadian points of origin as Markham and Toronto, Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, Moncton, New Brunswick, or Vancouver, British Columbia to Texas or via interchange with a Mexican carrier to Mexican points, would pick up the trailer and deliver its Mexican-origin load to a point in the United States (such as Syracuse, Kingston, and Newburgh, New York, and Bedford Park and Aurora, Illinois) incidental to the tractor trailer’s return to Canada.

After unloading the Mexican goods, the Highland Transport tractor would take the Canadian-based trailer to a nearby U.S. location for loading an international shipment for delivery to such Canadian destinations as Markham and Toronto, Ontario, Montreal, Quebec, Moncton, New Brunswick, or Vancouver British Columbia. In regard to the move under consideration, Highland Transport is aware that the driver must be admissible under the applicable laws and rules of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).


Whether the use of a Canadian-based truck in the United States as described above is violative of 19 CFR § 123.14.


Section 141.4, Customs Regulations (19 CFR § 141.4), provides that entry as required by title 19, United States Code, §1484(a) (19 U.S.C. §1484(a)), shall be made of every importation whether free or dutiable and regardless of value, except for intangibles and articles specifically exempted by law or regulations from the requirements for entry. Since Canadian trucks are not so exempted, they are subject to entry and payment of any applicable duty.

Vehicles and other instruments of international traffic may be entered without entry and payment of duty under the provisions of 19 U.S.C. §1322. To qualify as instruments of international traffic, trucks having their principal base of operations in a foreign country must be arriving in the United States with merchandise destined for points in the United states, or arriving empty or loaded for the purpose of taking merchandise out of the United States (see 19 CFR § 123.14(a)). It is Customs position that a foreign truck tractor which arrives in the United States in international traffic towing a foreign trailer, either empty or loaded, constitutes a foreign “truck” as that term is used in §§123.14(a), (b), and (c)(1) (19 CFR §§123.14(a), (b), and (c)(1)).

Furthermore, certain foreign-based vehicles engaged, in whole or in part, in the domestic carriage of merchandise that either originates from a location outside the United States or will be subsequently moved to a destination outside the United States, or such vehicles moving without a payload between two points in the same country, shall be considered as engaged in international traffic. (See Customs Bulletin of October 1, 1997, Vol. 31, No. 40, at pp. 7-13.)

Section 10.41(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR § 10.41(d)), provides, in part, that any foreign-owned vehicle brought into the United States as an element of a commercial transaction, except as provided in §123.14(c) (pertaining to the use of foreign-based vehicles in local traffic in the United States), is subject to treatment as an importation of merchandise from a foreign country and a regular entry therefor shall be made.

Pursuant to §123.14(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR §123.14(c)(1)), a Canadian-based vehicle “may carry merchandise between points in the United States if such carriage is incidental to the immediately prior or subsequent engagement of that vehicle in international traffic.” This regulatory provision further provides that, “[a]ny such carriage by the vehicle in the general direction of an export move or as part of the return of the vehicle to its base country shall be considered incidental to its engagement in international traffic.”

With respect to the scenario under consideration, the Canadian-based tractor and trailer would be arriving in the United States from Canada and Mexico, respectively. The tractor would be arriving with merchandise destined to the United States and/or Mexico and the trailer would be arriving with merchandise destined to the United States. Consequently, both of these vehicles would qualify as instruments of international traffic pursuant to 19 CFR §123.14(a).

The trailer in this scenario would remain in international traffic until its Mexican-origin cargo is delivered to its United States destination. The tractor, in picking up the Mexican-loaded trailer in Laredo for delivery to its United States destination, would be engaged in the domestic carriage of merchandise that originated from a location outside the United States (Mexico). As such, the tractor would also be considered to be engaged in international traffic and would remain so subsequent not only to the delivery of the cargo, but also when repositioning the empty trailer to a nearby United States location for loading (i.e., moving without a payload between two points in the same country as discussed above), and when transporting that loaded cargo to its Canadian destinations. Such an itinerary would be international traffic within the meaning of 19 CFR §123.14(a).


The use of a Canadian-based truck in the United States as described above is not violative of 19 CFR § 123.14.


Jeremy Baskin

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