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 > 2003 HQ Rulings > HQ 116015 - HQ 229481 > HQ 116035

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 116035

August 25, 2003

BUR-4-04-RR:IT:EC 116035 CK


Mr. Jon McLaughlin
Executive Director
Southern Aroostook Development Corp.
P.O. Box 783
Houlton, ME 04730

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

Dear Mr. McLaughlin:

This is in response to your letters dated July 23, 2003 and August 11, 2003 in which you request a ruling on the use of Canadian-based trucks to deliver frozen food to a warehouse in Maine, which in turn will later be delivered to other points in the United States. Our reply follows.


The Southern Aroostook Development Corporation (SADC) is a small, private, non-profit economic development organization located in northern Maine directly on the border with New Brunsick, Canada. SADC would like to build a freezer complex at an industrial park in Houlton, Maine directly adjacent to the U.S./Canadian border and less than a quarter mile from the port of entry located at Houlton.

“Anchor users” for this complex would be two large Canadian food-processing firms. The caveat is that Canadian “anchors,” in order to give long term contracts, need to have the option to ship their product out of this facility utilizing their trucks and drivers.

Canadian companies want to drop their product off at the freezer warehouse in Houlton, Maine for storage. One week, a few weeks or even a few months later, the Canadian companies (they still own the products) want to come to the freezer operation with their (Canadian) trucks, have them re-loaded (by the U.S. employees at the U.S. freezer operation) and continue on their way to the ultimate U.S. end user of the products. SADC emphasizes that the Canadian product, while stored at the facility, is still the property of the Canadian firm. Title has not passed from vendor to customer until accepted at its intended destination. As such, SADC contends the products are still “in the stream of commerce” and not domestic products since they have not reached their final destination, nor changed ownership.


Whether the use of a Canadian-based truck as described in the above scenario is violative of 19 CFR § 123.14(c).


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 the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 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 your inquiry, upon reviewing the scenario you pose, we note that the Canadian-based vehicles would be engaged in the carriage of merchandise originating in one country (Canada) and terminating in another (USA. As such, the vehicles would be considered to be engaged in international traffic) notwithstanding the intervening stop of the merchandise in Houlton. (See, Customs Bulletin of October 1, 1997, Vol. 31, No. 40, at p. 9). Furthermore, the proposed use of the subject vehicles in the United States does not constitute "local traffic" within the meaning of § 123.14(c) since they would be involved in the transportation of merchandise between two points in the United States when such merchandise has had a prior movement from an origin (i.e., point of loading) outside the United States (i.e., the Canadian-loaded cargo) and the intervening stop (Houlton) is not its destination in the United States.

Accordingly, the use of a Canadian-based vehicle as proposed would not be prohibited by Customs administration of 19 CFR § 123.14(c).


The use of a Canadian-based truck as described in the above scenario is not violative of 19 CFR § 123.14(c).


Glen E. Vereb
Entry Procedures and Carriers Branch

Previous Ruling Next Ruling