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HQ 555437

July 16, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:V 555437 KAC

TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.80


Mr. John W. Cain
Cain Customs Brokers, Incorporated
421 Texano
P.O. Box 150
Hidalgo, Texas 78557

RE: Applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, to PCV valves created by force fitting and heating operations in Mexico.Assembly;incidental operations;10.16(a);554069

Dear Mr. Cain:

This is in response to your letters of June 30, 1989, and June 18, 1990, on behalf of Wells Manufacturing Company, requesting a ruling on the applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), to PCV valves imported from Mexico. We regret the delay in responding to your request.


Wells will ship U.S.-origin metal and plastic components to Mexico for assembly into PCV valves for automobiles. Wells will make 54 different valve models consisting of all plastic valves, all steel valves and combination steel and plastic valves. The majority of operations performed abroad will involve the force fitting of components together. Additionally, after force fitting the components together, the all plastic PCV valves will be heated to approximately 150 degrees in order to cure the adhesive. Upon completion of the foreign operations, the PCV valves will be imported into the U.S.


Whether the PCV valves will be eligible for the duty exemption available under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, when imported into the U.S.


HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80 provides a partial duty exemption for:

[a]rticles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components, the product of the United States, which (a) were exported in condition ready 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 operations incidental to the assembly process, such as cleaning, lubrication, and painting.

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

Section 10.16(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.16(a)), provides that the assembly operation performed abroad may consist of any method used to join or fit together solid components, such as welding, soldering, riveting, force fitting, gluing, laminating, sewing, or the use of fasteners.

Operations incidental to the assembly process are not considered further fabrication operations, as they are of a minor nature and cannot always be provided for in advance of the assembly operations. However, any significant process, operation or treatment whose primary purpose is the fabrication, completion, physical or chemical improvement of a component precludes the application of the exemption under HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80 to that component. See, 19 CFR 10.16(c).

The force fitting of a component into another component by manual or pneumatic press is an acceptable assembly operation pursuant to 19 CFR 10.16(a). Heating of the assembled plastic PCV valves to approximately 150 degrees in order to cure the adhesive is considered an acceptable incidental operation. The heating process does not change the physical or chemical properties of the components, but merely allows the two components to be securely joined together. See, Headquarters Ruling Letter 554069 dated April 25, 1986, which found that heating and shaping a component are not acceptable incidental
operations where the operations are not performed in deference to an assembly, such as heating and shaping for the purpose of alignment to facilitate or effectuate an assembly. In the present case, the heating operation serves the purpose of facilitating the assembly by curing the adhesive.


On the basis of the information presented, it is our opinion that the foreign operations performed to assemble the PCV valves are acceptable assembly operations or operations incidental thereto. Therefore, the imported PCV valves may be entered under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, with allowances in duty for the cost or value of the U.S. components, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of 19 CFR 10.24.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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