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 > 2005 HQ Rulings > HQ 116494 - HQ 230983 > HQ 116528

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 116528

August 29, 2005

BOR-4-07-RR:IT:EC 116528 IDL


Vince Brascia
Traffic Manager
900 E. Karcher Road
Nampa, ID 83687

RE: Instruments of International Traffic; Plastic Integrated Circuit Trays; Subheading 9803.00.50, HTSUSA; 19 U.S.C. § 1322; 19 CFR § 10.41a

Dear Mr. Brascia:

This is in response to your letter on behalf of SpecTek (a division of Micron Technology, Inc.), dated July 22, 2005, to the National Commodity Specialist Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The letter, which concerns plastic integrated circuit trays and instruments of international traffic, has been forwarded to this office for our review. Our ruling on this matter is set forth below.


Each month, SpecTek exports approximately 25,000 empty plastic integrated circuit trays (“plastic trays”) to assemblers of integrated circuits in Italy, Taiwan, and Singapore. After filling the plastic trays with integrated circuits, the assemblers return the plastic trays to SpecTek.

The plastic trays are made in the United States, Singapore, or Malaysia, and are classified under subheading 3926.90.9880 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. The plastic trays are specifically designed, commonly used, and necessary for the safe transport of the integrated circuits. The plastic trays are substantially built, and are suitable for repeated use until they are broken, which occurs only very rarely. SpecTek enters the integrated circuits primarily through Seattle, Anchorage, or Memphis, but may do so through other ports in the future.

You have provided images of the plastic trays, and inquire whether the plastic trays may be designated as instruments of international traffic.


Whether the plastic trays described above may be designated as instruments of international traffic within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. §§ 1322(a) and 10.41a, CBP regulations (19 CFR 10.41a)?


Title 19, United States Code, section 1322(a) (19 U.S.C. 1322(a)), provides in pertinent part that “[v]ehicles and other instruments of international trafficshall be excepted from the application of the customs laws to such extent and subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed in regulations.” The CBP regulations issued under the authority of section 322(a) are contained in section 10.41a (19 CFR 10.41a). Section 10.41a(a)(1) specifically designates lift vans, cargo vans, shipping tanks, skids, pallets, caul boards, and cores for textile fabrics as instruments of international traffic.

Section 10.41a(a)(1) also authorizes the Commissioner of CBP to designate other items as instruments of international traffic in decisions to be published in the weekly Customs Bulletin. Once designated as instruments of international traffic, these items may be released without entry or the payment of duty, subject to the provisions of section 10.41a.

To qualify as an “instrument of international traffic” (IIT) within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. section 1322(a) and the regulation promulgated pursuant thereto (19 CFR 10.41 et seq.), an article must be used as a container or holder. The article must be substantial, suitable for and capable of repeated use, and used in significant numbers in international traffic. (See, subheading 9803.00.50, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), and former Headnote 6(b)(ii), Tariff Schedule of the United States (TSUS), as well as Headquarters Decisions 104766; 108084; 108658; 109665; and 109702).

The concept of reuse contemplated above is for commercial shipping or transportation purposes, and not incidental or fugitive uses. Tariff Classification Study, Sixth Supplemental Report (May 23, 1963) at 99. See Holly Stores, Inc. v. United States, 697 F.2d 1387 (Federal Circuit, 1982).

In HQ 115503 (May 30, 2000), CBP held that hard plastic boxes used to ship integrated circuit wafers qualified as IITs. In HQ 114506 (October 29, 1998), CBP determined that containers made of plastic known as totes that were used to ship various small automobile replacement parts from Japan to the United States met the requirements necessary for designation as IITs. In HQ 112534 (January 25, 1993), CBP found that reusable plastic boxes designed to transport automotive strut components qualified as IITs.

CBP has held that articles which consist of pallets and tops, plastic outer rings, plastic and cardboard pads, and form trays used to transport ceramic logs qualified as IITs when these parts were assembled together. See HQ 115108 (August 24, 2000). See also HQ 111979 (December 18, 1991), which cites T.D. 68-56 (plastic trays used for the transportation of parts of dashboards designated as IITs).

In the instant case, we find that, based on the information provided, the plastic trays are used to contain or hold integrated circuits during transportation to the United States; they are substantial, suitable for and capable of repeated use; and they are used in significant numbers in international traffic. Accordingly, the plastic trays meet the requisite criteria to qualify as IITs pursuant to section 1322(a).


The plastic integrated circuit trays described above may be designated as instruments of international traffic within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. §§ 1322(a) and 10.41a.


Glen E. Vereb

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: