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HQ 087421

September 7, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087421 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9590; 9802.00.8050

Mr. Jack Alsup
Alsup & Alsup
P.O. Box 1251
Del Rio, TX 78841

RE: Lifejacket shell assembled in Mexico from U.S. components does not have essential character of finished lifejacket. Shell eligible for partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80.

Dear Mr. Alsup:

This is in reply to your letter dated May 21, 1990, to the District Director of Customs, Laredo, Texas, on behalf of your client Fabrionics, Inc., concerning the classification of a lifejacket shell under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was enclosed with your letter.


The article in question is an outer shell for a child's lifejacket. The shell is made from 100 percent nylon woven fabric and is secured to the body by means of web straps and plastic buckles. The shell is open at the top and bottom and upon importation to the United States will be stuffed with a foamed vinyl plastisol flotation material to form a completed lifejacket. The shell is labeled a type II, personal flotation device, consistent with U.S. Coast Guard regulations.

You state that the shell is made from cut components of U.S. origin which are exported to Mexico by Fabrionics, Inc. In Mexico the components are sewn into shells and packaged for shipment to the U.S. The shells will be entered through the port of Del Rio, Texas.


Whether the lifejacket shell in question is classifiable as an other made up article; whether the shell is eligible for the exemption from duty provided by subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA.


Articles are classified under the HTSUSA in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of articles be determined according to the terms of the headings and relative section or chapter notes and, provided the headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the remaining GRIs taken in order.

Heading 6307, HTSUSA, provides for other made up articles, including dress patterns. The Explanatory Notes, which constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level, provide at 867, EN 63.07, that:

This heading covers made up articles of any textile material which are not included more specifically in other headings of Section XI or elsewhere in the Nomenclature.

It includes, in particular:

(2) Life-jackets and life-belts.

Note 7, Section XI, HTSUSA, defines the expression "made up" as including articles assembled by sewing, gumming or otherwise. The article in question has been sewn into a lifejacket shell and is therefore a made up article within the meaning of Note 7.

Subheading 6307.20, HTSUSA, provides for lifejackets and lifebelts. GRI 6 extends the application of the GRIs to the subheading level. GRI 2(a) broadens the scope of any heading that refers to a particular article to cover not only the completed article but also that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that it has the essential character of the finished article. The shell resembles a finished (child's) lifejacket except that it has not been filled with flotation material.

However, in Customs' view, the essential character of a lifejacket is imparted by the flotation material with which it is filled, since it is this material which gives the article its raison d'etre. Consequently, the instant shell is not classifiable as a lifejacket of subheading 6307.20, HTSUSA.

You state that the shell will be manufactured in Mexico from cut components of U.S. origin. Subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, provides for:

Articles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components, the product of the United States, which (a) were exported in condition for assembly without further fabrication, (b) have not lost their physical identity in such articles by change in form, shape or otherwise, and (c) have not been advanced in value or improved in condition abroad except by being assembled and except by such operations incidental to the assembly process such as cleaning, lubricating and painting.

All three requirements of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, must be satisfied before a component may receive a duty allowance. An article entered under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, is subject to duty on the full value of the imported assembled article less the cost or value of the U.S. components, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of section 10.24, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.24).

According to 19 CFR 10.16(a), assembly operations may consist of any method used to join or fit together solid components. Sewing is specifically enumerated in this regulation as an acceptable means of assembly. Thus the operation of sewing together the cut components of U.S. origin constitutes an acceptable assembly operation and, consequently, the shells are acceptable for the partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA.


The lifejacket shell in question is classifiable in subheading 6307.90.9590, HTSUSA, under the provision for other made up textile articles..., other, other, other, other, and is dutiable at the rate of 7 percent ad valorem.

The shell is eligible for the partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.8050, HTSUSA. Allowances in duty may be made under this provision for the cost or value of the U.S. components.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


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