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HQ 555216

June 8, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:V 555216 DBI


TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.80, HTSUS

Mark S. Zolno, Esq.
Katten Muchin and Zavis
525 West Monroe Street, Suite 1600
Chicago, Illinois 60606-3693

RE: Applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, to certain steel doors from Mexico

Dear Mr. Zolno:

This is in response to your letter dated December 16, 1988, on behalf of your client, Adtec, Inc., in which you request a ruling concerning the applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), to certain steel doors to be imported from Mexico.


You advise that your client intends to ship steel door parts of U.S. origin to Mexico to be assembled into steel doors for use in U.S. jails. The parts to be sent to Mexico consist of the following:

1. Pre-cut and formed front and back portion of the metal door called "skins";
2. Edge reinforcing channels;
3. Top and bottom closure channels;
4. Fireproofing and insulation;
5. Hinge and hardware reinforcements;
6. Stiffening ribs (hat sections); and
7. Completed hardware and locking devices.

The components will undergo the following assembly operations in Mexico:

1. The parts of the door will be laid out, with reference to the specifications and shop drawings, and tack welded together;

2. All internal steel components of the door will be either spot or skip welded to the door skins;

3. Sound deadening materials will be installed, if required by the job specifications. This involves installing insulation material in the door cavities;

4. Contact glue is applied to the exposed surfaces of the opposing stiffening ribs;

5. The exposed surfaces of the stiffening ribs in the opposing skins are joined and put in the pressure press for additional welding along the tops, bottoms and other accessible edges of the door;

6. Skip or seam welding will be done all along the edges of the doors;

7. Reinforcing ribs will be welded across the top and on both ends of the doors;

8. Preliminary grinding will be done to the edges, top and bottom of the door. This is to cut away excess material and to smooth out the imperfections in the door caused by the welding process;

9. An epoxy substance will be applied to any pits in the door that have resulted from the welding process;

10. Final grinding and sanding and finishing operations will be performed to smooth out all imperfections caused by the welding to remove excess epoxy;

11. The door will be painted with a prime coat by means of spraying;

12. Mechanical locks and special hardware manufactured in the U.S. will be inserted into the appropriate openings in the door. Installation of these parts consists of inserting hardware in prepared openings in the door and fastening them with screws.

Following the assembly processes, the doors will be returned to the U.S. for installation at the jail site.


Whether the described steel doors, when returned to the U.S., are eligible for the partial duty exemption in subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS.


Subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, applies to articles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components, the product 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 subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, 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.

Section 10.16(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.16(a)), provides that assembly operations performed abroad may consist of any method used to join or fit together solid components, such as welding, gluing or the use of fasteners, and may be preceded, accompanied, or followed by operations incidental to the assembly.

Section 10.16(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.16(b)), provides that operations incidental to the assembly process whether performed before, during, or after assembly, do not constitute further fabrication, and shall not preclude the application of the exemption. Operations specified in this provision as incidental to the assembly process include the application of a preservative paint or coating and the trimming, filing, or cutting off of small amounts of excess materials.

In the present case, the assembly operations which involve welding, gluing, and fastening with screws are specifically enumerated in the regulations as acceptable assembly operations under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS. The grinding and sanding operations to remove excess material and smooth out imperfections caused by the welding, and the painting with a primary coat are also specifically enumerated above as acceptable operations incidental to the assembly process.


On the basis of the information submitted, it is our opinion that the welding, gluing and fastening processes performed abroad are considered acceptable assembly operations. The grinding, sanding and painting of a prime coat are considered incidental to those operations. Therefore, allowances in duty may be made under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, for the cost or value of the U.S.-made steel components upon return of the assembled steel doors, provided the documentation requirements of section 10.24, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.24) are satisfied.


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