CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 081862 SR

Lorraine Bregman
The House of Seagram
800 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10022-7699

RE: Classification of a liquor container

Dear Ms. Bregman:

This is in reference to your letter dated February 26, 1988, requesting the tariff classification of a metal box under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS). We are no longer issuing rulings under the TSUS and will treat this letter as a request for a ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise involved is a rectangular metal box made of steel plate. There are two styles of metal boxes at issue. One style has a hinged front panel that opens to display the bottle vertically. The other style has a hinged lid which opens to display the bottle horizontally. The box will be imported containing a one liter bottle of Chivas Regal Scotch Whiskey. The outside of the box depicts lithographs of Scotsmen, battle scenes, castles, and crests. Each side of the container displays the following: One Litre, aged 12 years, Chivas Regal. The back of the container states: Bottled in Scotland, Chivas Regal, 12 year Old Blended Scotch Whiskey, Product of Scotland, Blended and Bottled by Chivas Brothers Ltd., Distillers, Aberdeen, Scotland, 1 Litre, 43' GL, 43% vol., 86 U.S. Proof. According to the inquirer the metal boxes have a unit cost of $1.74.


What is the classification of the metal box at issue?



Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 5 provides as follows:

(a) Camera cases, musical instrument cases, gun cases, drawing cases, necklace cases and similar containers, specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles, suitable for long-term use and entered with the articles for which they are intended, shall be classified with such articles when of a kind normally sold therewith. This rule does not, however, apply to containers which give the whole its essential character;

(b) Subject to the provisions of rule 5(a) above, packing materials and packing containers entered with the goods therein shall be classified with the goods if they are of a kind normally used for packing such goods. However, this provision does not apply when such packing materials or packing containers are clearly suitable for repetitive use.

Under GRI 5(b), the liquor bottle is considered to be the normal packing container for the liquor. The bottle is not suitable for repetitive use after the liquor is gone. It is classified with the liquor at the same rate of duty.

The metal box is not the normal container under GRI 5(b). The box is a promotional item, offered to attract purchasers of the scotch as a gift, etc. The metal box is not provided for under GRI 5(a), because it is not specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific article or set of articles. Nor is it suitable for long-term use. Therefore, the metal box is separately classifiable from the scotch whiskey in the bottle.



The tin plated steel box at issue is classifiable under subheading 7310.29.0060, HTSUSA, which provides for tanks, casks, drums, cans, boxes and similar containers, of iron or steel, of a capacity of less than 50 liters, other, other. Articles classifiable under this provision are duty free.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

6 cc A.D. New York Seaport
1 cc Durant
1 cc legal reference