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NY J86693

August 6, 2003

CLA-2-94:RR:NC:SP:230 J86693


TARIFF NO.: 9406.00.8030

Mr. Sean T. Murray
Miller & Company P.C.
4929 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64112

RE: The tariff classification of prefabricated “building modules” from Sweden, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Dear Mr. Murray:

In your letter dated July 8, 2003, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client, Lilly del Caribe, Inc.

The ruling was requested on articles identified as “building modules,” approximately 204 of which will be imported into Puerto Rico for installation as components of a new insulin-manufacturing facility being created there for operation by your client. Photos accompanying your inquiry show that the modules, when viewed from the exterior, resemble large cargo containers having corrugated metal surfaces, but also incorporating doors and windows. All of the modules will be 14 feet wide by 14 feet high, but their length will vary from 12 feet to 56 feet. Since each module will be individually designed for a particular role within the facility (e.g., production room, employee “break room,” locker room, etc.), they will differ in terms of size and the nature of the sub-components comprising them. You state that the new facility “will be built through the integration of building modules with new buildings of traditional construction.” Based on your presentation, it is not clear whether any of the imported modules, after installation, will be exposed to the elements or will all be housed completely within perimeter walls constructed for the facility.

You state that the modules will be fully manufactured, assembled and tested by their producers. However, to facilitate transportation they will be partially disassembled prior to being shipped to Puerto Rico. After importation, they will be reassembled and integrated into the new facility at your client’s site. You emphasize that your ruling request pertains only to the building modules themselves, not to any other articles (e.g., pharmaceutical production equipment) that will ultimately be put into them. Such other articles will not be included with the modules and are expected to be obtained domestically.

You state that because of the number of modules involved, it is not possible to provide lists showing the components comprising each one. However, you have provided the following lists for two representative versions:

Module A101

Steel frame with sheet metal exterior walls and roof Sheet metal and concrete floor (exterior) Floor and wall material (vinyl)
Wall material (sandwich-panels of metal sheet with core of rockwool) Interior ceiling (vinyl foil covered steel sheet) including fixtures Lighting fixtures including cabling
Steel piping for water and wastewater
Steel piping for sprinkler
Steel runways for electrical cables
Doors including automatic doors
Restroom including facilities
Electrical power cables
Control cables

Module B213

Steel frame with sheet metal exterior walls and roof Sheet metal floor (exterior)
Floor material (vinyl)
Wall material (painted corrugated metal sheet) Ceiling material (painted, perforated corrugated metal sheet) Lighting fixtures including cabling
Steel piping for water and wastewater
Steel piping for sprinkler
Air handling unit & ventilation ducts incl. dampers & measurement devices Steel runways for electrical cables
Doors including automatic doors
Restroom including facilities
Electrical power cables
Control cables

You contend that the subject modules are classifiable in heading 7308, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for structures (excluding prefabricated buildings of heading 9406) and parts of structuresof iron or steel. In support of your position, you assert that the modules are “similar” to other articles classified in that heading in previous Customs rulings, which you cite.

We find, however, that the cited rulings dealt with products that were fundamentally different from the instant building modules. The items concerned were, e.g., roof supports, wall assemblies, insulated panels, bridge sections, and unfinished greenhouses lacking their glass panes. None of those goods were fully enclosed spaces, i.e., entities having a roof, four continuous walls and a floor. Thus, they were not capable of serving as sheltered rooms, cubicles, buildings or the like.

By contrast, the subject modules in fact have four continuous walls, a roof and a floor. And although each module is intended to function as a small part of a larger complex, its basic constitution is such that it would be capable of serving as a stand-alone building.

We thus find that the subject modules answer to the terms of heading 9406, HTS, which provides for prefabricated buildings. As indicated in the Harmonized Explanatory Notes (“EN”) for this heading, such buildings can be designed for a variety of uses, such as housing, worksite accommodation, offices, schools, shops, sheds, garages and greenhouses. They may be presented in unassembled condition, and may incorporate normal built-in equipment such as electrical fittings, heating/air-conditioning apparatus, sanitary fixtures, etc. As described above, the modules satisfy the terms of the heading and are within the parameters outlined by the EN.

We note that Customs has previously classified small, room-like buildings such as the instant modules in heading 9406, HTS. See, for example, NY 818212 (Feb. 7, 1996), concerning acoustical enclosures, NY C86564 (May 5, 1998), concerning medical treatment centers, and NY F88949 (July 25, 2000), concerning lead shielding rooms. These products more closely resembled the subject “building modules” than the items discussed in the rulings you cited.

Since we have determined that the modules are within the scope of heading 9406, HTS, classification in heading 7308, HTS, is precluded. As quoted above, the language of heading 7308, HTS, explicitly excludes prefabricated buildings of heading 9406, HTS.

Accordingly, the applicable subheading for the # A101 and # B213 building modules, and for any other module versions which are substantially the same as those units, will be 9406.00.8030, HTS, which provides for prefabricated buildings: of metal: other than greenhouses. The general rate of duty will be 2.9%. This ruling will not apply to any building modules that are materially or significantly different from those described herein.

The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise description as identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in 19 CFR 177.9(b)(1). This section states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect.

This ruling is being issued under the assumption that the subject goods, in their condition as imported into the United States, conform to the facts and the description as set forth both in the ruling request and in this ruling. In the event that the facts or merchandise are modified in any way, you should bring this to the attention of Customs and you should resubmit for a new ruling in accordance with 19 CFR 177.2. You should also be aware that the material facts described in the foregoing ruling may be subject to periodic verification by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.

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 Paul Garretto at 646-733-3035.


Robert B. Swierupski

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