VES-3-RR:IT:EC 547241 DWS

Ms. Katie Smith Matison
Lane Powell Spears Lubersky LLP
1420 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4100
Seattle, WA 98101-2338

RE: Exception from Entry; 19 CFR 141.4

Dear Ms. Matison:

This is in response to your letter dated December 4, 1998, on behalf of Continental Lime, Inc. (Continental), requesting a binding ruling concerning the amount of duty to be imposed on the importation of a barge into the U.S., which will be constructed in the People's Republic of China.


The subject transaction involves the prospective purchase of a 250 foot steel, double hulled limerock/slurry barge commissioned by Continental, a Utah corporation, from China Chang Jiang National Shipping Group Corporation Jinling Shipyard (China Chang). You state that Continental intends to document the barge in the U.S. and obtain a registry endorsement for foreign trade pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 12105. The barge will be utilized for the transportation of Canadian limestone rock and participated calcium carbonate exclusively between Tacoma, Washington, and Canada. Specifically, the barge will be loaded with participated calcium carbonate in Tacoma, and then travel to Crofton and Elk Falls located on Vancouver Island, Canada, where the barge will be unloaded. The barge will then proceed to Texada Island, Canada, where it will be loaded with limestone, and will then travel to Tacoma or the ports of Puget Sound for use at Continental's Tacoma plant. You state that at all times, the barge's voyages will be limited to the waters of Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Strait of Georgia, or American-Canadian Treaty waters.

Included in your submission are a copy of the general design specifications for the barge and the shipbuilding contract between Continental and China Chang.


Whether the subject barge is excepted from the requirements for the entry of merchandise into the U.S. as provided for in 19 CFR Part 141.


Section 141.4, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 141.4), states in part:

141.4 Entry required.

(a) General. All merchandise imported into the United States is required to be entered, unless specifically excepted.

(b) Exceptions. The following are the exceptions to the general rule:

(1) *****

(2) Vessels (not including vessels classified in headings 8903 and 8907 and subheadings 8905.90.10 and 8906.00.10 or in Chapter 98, HTSUS, such as under subheadings 9804.00.35 or 9813.00.35). See also Chapter 89, Additional U.S. Note 1, HTSUS.

To determine whether the barge meets the exception above, we must ascertain its proper classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

The HTSUS provision under consideration is as follows:

8901 Cruise ships, excursion boats, ferry boats, cargo ships, barges and similar vessels for the transport of persons or goods:

8901.90.00 Other vessels for the transport of goods and other vessels for the transport of both persons and goods.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive or legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS, and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). In part, Explanatory Note 89.01 (p. 1570) states that:

[t]he heading includes:

(1) - (5) *****

(6) Barges of various kinds, lighters and pontoons being flat-decked vessels used for the transport of goods and, sometimes, of persons.

Based upon an analysis of the information you have provided, including the general design specifications for the barge, it appears that the barge is a flat-decked vessel to be used for the transport of limestone rock and participated calcium carbonate. Therefore, we find that the barge is classifiable in heading 8901, HTSUS, specifically under subheading 8901.90.00, HTSUS, a duty-free provision.

As the barge is classifiable in heading 8901, HTSUS, and is not described in any of the provisions of chapter 98, HTSUS, it is our position that it meets the terms of 19 CFR 141.4(b)(2) and is excepted from entry into the U.S. We also note chapter 89, Additional U.S. Note 1, HTSUS, which states that:

[v]essels if in use in international trade or commerce or if brought into the customs territory of the United States by nonresidents thereof for their own use in pleasure cruising shall be admitted without formal customs consumption entry or the payment of duty.


The subject barge, which is classifiable in a duty-free provision of the HTSUS, is excepted from the requirements for the entry of merchandise into the U.S. as provided for in 19 CFR Part 141.


Jerry Laderberg
Entry Procedures and Carriers Branch