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HQ H010127

July 9, 2007

BOR-4-07-OT: RR:BSTC:CCI H010127 GG


Ms. Cynthia Dixon
Mgr-International Trade and Customs Compliance Akzo Nobel Chemicals Inc.
525 W Van Buren Street, 15th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60607

RE: Instruments of International Traffic; Cylinders/Bubblers; 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a); 19 CFR § 10.41a

Dear Ms. Dixon:

This is in response to your letters of April 12, and June 14, 2007, in which you inquire about the designation of certain cylinders as Instruments of International Traffic. Our ruling is set forth below.


Akzo Nobel Chemicals, Inc. ("Akzo Nobel"), uses certain cylinders, often referred to as "bubblers," to ship high purity metalorganics. The cylinders are used in the semiconductor industry for the "metalorganic vapor phase epitaxy," a process whereby a gas such as hydrogen is pushed into the bottom of the cylinder using a dip tube and into the liquid metalorganic chemical. The gas bubbles up through the chemical until it exits the cylinder, creating a "bubbling process." The bubbling process is a type of chemical delivery; therefore, the cylinders used in this manner are often called bubblers.

You state that the products shipped in the cylinders are generally characterized as "high purity metalorganics." Further, the subject cylinders used by Akzo Nobel are manufactured in the United States and are made of stainless steel; for all other cylinders produced by a foreign manufacturer and imported into the U.S., Akzo Nobel makes entry and pays duty. The filled cylinders are shipped to various countries, whereupon the customer will use and empty the cylinder and subsequently return the cylinder to Akzo Nobel for cleaning and reuse. The cylinders vary in size from 150ml to 8000ml. There could be approximately up to 200 or more cylinders/bubblers in circulation in a nine-month period.


Whether the cylinders referred to as "bubblers" as described above may be designated as instruments of international traffic within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a) and 19 CFR 10.41a(a)(1).


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 traffic...shall 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 § 1322(a) are contained in section 10.41 et seq. (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 ("IITs").

Section 10.41a(a)(1) also authorizes the Commissioner of CBP to designate other items as IITs. Once designated as IITs, these items may be released without entry or the payment of duty, subject to the provisions of section 10.41a.

To qualify as an IIT within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a) and the regulations 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 ("HQ") 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). CBP rulings on this matter have held that single use is not sufficient; reuse means more than twice (Headquarter rulings 105567 and 108658).

Upon reviewing your request in the instant case, we are of the opinion that based on the information provided, the requisite criteria for designation of the subject cylinders as instruments of international traffic have been met. The cylinders are used to contain chemicals and gases during transportation from the United States; they are substantial, suitable for and capable of repeat use; and they are used in significant numbers in international traffic. Accordingly, the cylinders meet the requisite criteria to qualify as IITs pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a) and 19 CFR § 10.41a.

This finding comports with previous determinations made by CBP, where CBP has ruled that certain articles of similar nature, use and construction as those presently under consideration qualify as instruments of international traffic pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a) and 19 CFR § 10.41a. See, e.g., HQ H005408 (January 25, 2007) compressed-gas containers used to contain compressed gas during transportation designated as IITs (citing HQ 111933 (February 10, 1992), certain silane modules for the transportation of atmospheric and other gases designated as IITs); HQ 111580 (October 21, 1991) steel cylinders used for transportation of freon gas designated as IITs; see also, Treasury Decision ("T.D.") 66-184, certain metal cylinders designed for the transportation of acetylene and rare gas designated as IITs; T.D. 71-35(2), steel cylinders used for shipment of fluorocarbon gas designated as IITs; T.D. 73-166, designated as IITs certain steel cylinders used to transport gas; T.D. 74-299, steel cylinders used for the transportation of propane and butane gas designated as IITs.


The subject cylinders referred to as bubblers, described above, are designated as instruments of international traffic within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. § 1322(a) and 19 CFR § 10.41a.


Glen E. Vereb

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