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HQ 562892

January 7, 2004

CLA-2 RR:CR:SM 562892 KSG


Jim Gabreski
Northrop Grumman Corporation
P.O. Box 9650
Melbourne, Florida 32902-9650

RE: Classification of metal shipping handling rig; subheading 9803.00.50; 9801.00.10

Dear Mr. Gabreski:

This is in response to your letter dated September 30, 2003, that was forwarded to this office by the National Commodity Specialist Division, requesting a binding ruling regarding the classification of a metal shipping handling rig and the eligibility of duty-free entry under subheading 9803.00.50 of the Harmonized Tariff System of the United States ("HTSUS") or under subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS.


As stated above, this case involves a metal shipping handling rig ("SHR") constructed to facilitate the transport of a military aircraft tail section, also known as an empennage. The SHR is used to transport a French-made empennage from France to Florida.

You have presented two different scenarios in this case. In scenario one, the SHR is manufactured in the U.S. and shipped empty to France. In scenario two, the SHR is manufactured in France.


I. Subheading 9801.00.10

You asked whether under scenario one, the SHR would be eligible for duty-free treatment under subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS.

Subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS, provides for the duty-free entry of products of the United States returned after having been exported, without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means while abroad. The requirements for entry under subheading 9801.00.10 are set forth in 19 CFR 10.1. Pursuant to 19 CFR 10.1(d), if the port director is reasonably satisfied, because of the nature of the articles or production of other evidence, that the articles are imported in circumstances meeting the requirements of subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS, he may waive the requirements for producing the documents specified in 19 CFR 10.1(a).

Based on the facts presented, the U.S.-origin SHR is neither advanced in value or improved in condition while abroad. Accordingly, under scenario one, the SHR would be eligible for classification in subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS. The documentation requirements of 19 CFR 10.1(a) are applicable, or you may wish to contact the individual ports involved to determine if the procedures of 19 CFR 10.1(d) are available to Northrop.

II. Subheading 9803.00.50

Subheading 9803.00.50, HTSUS, provides duty-free entry for:

Substantial containers and holders, if products of the United States (including shooks and shaves of United States production when returned as boxes or barrels containing merchandise), or if of foreign production and previously imported and duty (if any) thereon paid, or if of a class specified by the Secretary of Treasury as instruments of international traffic, repair components for containers of foreign production which are instruments of international traffic, and accessories and equipment for such containers, whether the accessories and equipment are imported with a container to be reexported separately or with another container, or imported separately to be reexported with a container

Pursuant to 19 U.S.C. §1322(a), instruments of international traffic shall be excepted from the application of the Customs laws to the extent that such terms and conditions are prescribed in regulations or instructions. Pursuant to 19 CFR 10.41a(a)(1), the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection is authorized to designate as instruments of international traffic such additional articles not specifically noted in that section. Such instruments may be released without entry or payment of duty.

To qualify as an instrument of international traffic within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. §1322(a) and 19 CFR 10.41a(a)(1), an article must be used as a container or holder. The article also must be substantial, suitable for and capable of repeated use, and used in significant numbers in international traffic. See subheading 9803.00.50, HTSUS and Headquarters Ruling Letter 115959, dated July 7, 2003. Thus, the following information is needed before we can decide if the Shipping Handling Rig (SHR) is an instrument of international traffic:

1) The specifications of the SHR, including the specific dimensions and materials used to manufacture it;

2) The life expectancy of the SHR (i.e., 2 to 4 years?, 10-12 importations?);

3) Whether the SHR will be used repeatedly to import merchandise between at least one foreign country and the United States;

4) The total number of SHRs that will be used to import merchandise between at least one foreign country and the United States in calender year 2003.

Inasmuch as your submission does not include such information, we are unable to determine if the SHR is an instrument of international traffic.


Based on the facts submitted, under scenario one, the SHR would be eligible for duty-free entry under subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS. We are unable to determine if the SHR is an instrument of international traffic without the submission of additional information, as discussed above.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time the goods are entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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