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HQ 555071

October 17, 1988



TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.80; 807.00

Ms. Ann M. Williams
A.N. Deringer, Inc.
30 West Service Road
Champlain, New York 12919-9703

RE: Applicability of partial duty exemption of item 807.00, TSUS, to surgical masks assembled in Canada

Dear Ms. Williams:

This is in response to your letter of July 12, 1988, on behalf of your client, Surgi-Tech Canada Ltd., Quebec, Canada, in which you request a ruling concerning the applicability of item 807.00, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), to surgical masks assembled in Canada and imported by your client.


You advise that all of the components from which the masks are made are of U.S. origin. In step one of the Canadian assembly operation, three layers of fabric, consisting of the overstock, filter and understock, are collated. A nose clip is inserted into the binding and the binding is sewn to the top and bottom of the mask. In step two, the product is folded into pleats and additional binding is sewn on the sides which extend beyond the mask and are used as ties. You indicate that the large pleats open fully to form a pocket which holds the mask away from the nose and mouth for added breathability. The fabric is exported to Canada in rolls of predetermined widths (7 5/8 inches). The aluminum nose clips are exported on spools and the thread on bobbins. The binding is exported in rolls, 5/8 of an inch in width. A sample has been submitted for examination.


Whether the described surgical masks, when returned to the U.S., will be eligible for the partial exemption from duty in item 807.00, TSUS (9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)).


Item 807.00, TSUS, applies to articles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components, the products of the U.S., with no operations performed thereon except the attachment of the components to form the imported merchandise and operations incidental thereto. An article classified under item 807.00, TSUS, is subject to duty upon the full appraised value of the imported article, less the cost or value of such products of the U.S.

With respect to the sewing operations performed abroad, the sewing of components is an acceptable assembly operation under section 10.16(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.16(a)).

With respect to the spools of aluminum, it appears (and we are assuming for purposes of this ruling) that the aluminum is merely cut to uniform lengths to create the nose clips. We have previously held that the cutting to individual lengths of material exported in continuous length constitutes an operation which is incidental to the assembly process. The cutting of the fabric and the binding to individual lengths also is incidental to assembly.

Generally speaking, pleating which occurs as a separate manufacturing step, without any concurrent assembly, is not considered incidental to assembly. However, where functional pleats are made during the course of a valid assembly process, the pleating operation may be considered incidental to assembly. In regard to this case, we believe that the creation of functional pleats by sewing binding on the sides of the masks is an operation which is incidental to the assembly of the masks.


On the basis of the information and sample submitted, we are of the opinion that the sewing of the fabric and binding, the pleating operation, and the cutting of the aluminum, fabric and binding to individual lengths, may be considered acceptable assembly operations and operations incidental thereto. Therefore, allowances in duty may be made under item 807.00, TSUS, for the cost or value of the fabric, binding, thread and
aluminum nose clips, upon compliance with the applicable Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.11-10.24).


John Durant, Director

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