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HQ 116375

January 25, 2005

BOR-4-07:R:IT:EC 116375 TLS


Mr. Robert B. Garetson
Senior Vice President
MOL Logistics (USA) Inc.
4940 West 147th Street
Hawthorne, California 90250

RE: Instruments of International Traffic; 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a); 19 CFR 10.41a(a)(1); Collapsible Steel and Plastic Crates

Dear Mr. Garetson:

This is in response to your letter, dated December 9, 2004, requesting a ruling, on behalf of Fujifilm Microdisks USA Inc. (Fujifilm), concerning whether certain collapsible steel and plastic crates qualify as instruments of international traffic under 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a) and 19 CFR 10.41a(a)(1).


Fuijfilm imports blank data tape on reels (reels) for distribution in the United States. The crates at issue were manufactured for Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. (Fuji Photo) of Tokyo, Japan to import the reels. You state that the crates are not used for domestic transportation. You also state that approximately 40 crates a week will be used for importation.

The crates measure 48 inches by 42 inches by 34 inches and have a maximum load capacity of 240 reels each. They are constructed of high strength plastic and metal and are collapsible. The expected commercial life span of each crate is approximately five years. Upon importation, the reels are removed from the crates and the crates are then collapsed and shipped back to Japan to be used for subsequent importations of reels. You have provided photographs of crates in both the loaded state and collapsed state.


Whether the collapsible crates, described above, may be designated as instruments of international traffic under 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a) and 19 CFR 10.41a(a)(1).


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 (CBP) 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 HTSUSA subheading 9803.00.50 and CBP Ruling HQ 112303 (August 14, 1992). We have previously ruled on the qualifications of collapsible steel crates as instruments of international traffic. See HQ 112303, supra; CBP Ruling HQ 116058 (October 27, 2003). In 112303, we ruled that collapsible steel packing crates used to import automobile engines qualified as instruments of international traffic. See also CBP Ruling HQ 115959 (July 7, 2003).

Upon reviewing the photographs of the crates you provided, the crates are comprised of interlocking panels that can be removed in sections to load and unload the reels, and to also collapse the crate for shipment back to Japan. The panel walls are constructed of plastic with steel borders reinforcing the edges. Some of the panels have openings cut into them to allow the top and bottom of a stack of reels to be securely fit into them. When collapsed, the crates fit easily onto standard wooden pallets for shipping.

Upon reviewing the information provided, we are of the opinion the above-noted requirements have been met in this case. Furthermore, we note that in addition to the aforementioned rulings, CBP has previously ruled that plastic boxes of a similar use and construction as those under consideration here qualify as instruments of international traffic pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a) and section 10.41a, CBP Regulations (see T.D.'s 70-236, 74-195, 76-203, 77-284, and 78-19).


The subject collapsible steel and plastic crates that will be used to transport merchandise between the United States and at least one foreign country on a repeated basis, are hereby designated as instruments of international traffic within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a) and pursuant to 19 CFR 10.41a(a)(1).


Glen E. Vereb

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