United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1990 HQ Rulings > HQ 0555239 - HQ 0555516 > HQ 0555446

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 555446

November 6, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:V 555446 GRV


TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.80

Leslie Alan Glick, Esq.
Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur
1233 20th Street, N.W., 4th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20036-2395

RE: Applicability of partial duty exemption under HTSUS subhead- ing 9802.00.80 to pantyhose from Mexico

Dear Mr. Glick:

This is in response to your letters of July 6, July 17, and July 25, 1989, on behalf of Hampshire Hosiery, requesting a ruling on the applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), to pantyhose to be imported from Mexico. You also inquire as to the proper marking of the imported pantyhose. Samples of the pantyhose components and the finished article were submitted for examination.


You state that U.S.-manufactured leg "tubes," which have a finished waistband at one end and an open toe at the other, and patches for the crotch area of pantyhose will be exported to Mexico for assembly into completed pantyhose. The leg "tubes" and patches are knitted of lycra or other nylon material and dyed before they are packaged for export to Mexico. In Mexico, the toe ends of two tubes will be sewn closed; the top portions of the tubes will be slit lengthwise from the waistband to the crotch area; the tubes will then be sewn together where the slit occurred, except where the crotch patch will be inserted; and, the crotch patch will then be sewn into the crotch area, forming the completed article. The finished pantyhose are then smoothed, wrapped around an unmarked board and placed in a plain cellophane bag. The pantyhose will then be imported into the U.S.

Regarding the lengthwise slitting operation, you state that it will be performed either automatically by the sewing machine or manually by the operator with a single motion by running the knit tube against a slitting blade mounted above the sewing machine.

Whether the pantyhose are entitled to the partial duty exemption under HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80 when imported into the U.S.


HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80 provides a partial duty exemp- tion for:

[a]rticles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fab- ricated 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, lubricating, and painting.

An article entered under this tariff provision is subject to duty upon the full value of the imported assembled article, less the cost or value of the U.S. components, provided there is compli- ance with the documentation requirements of 19 CFR 10.24.

Operations incidental to the assembly process are not con- sidered further fabrication operations, as they are of a minor nature and cannot always be provided for in advance of the assem- bly operation, although they may precede, accompany or follow the actual assembly operation. 19 CFR 10.16(a).

In L'Eggs Products, Inc. v. United States, Slip Op. 89-5, 13 CIT ___, 704 F.Supp. 1127 (CIT 1989), pantyhose undergoing a similar assembly operation were held by the court to be entitled to the duty allowance under item 807.00, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS) (the precursor provision to HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80). Considering whether the U.S. knit tube portions of the pantyhose meet the requirements of clause (a) of the statute, the court found that they were not unfinished components, but were "fully fabricated," as there was no further weaving or knitting required prior to assembly, and there was no new portion of the tube constructed or "fabricated" by the operation. Further, the tubes, as exported, were secure from unraveling by tuck stitches. The court also found that the foreign tube closing operation constituted an "assembly."

In United States v. Oxford Industries, Inc., 517 F.Supp. 694, 1 CIT 230 (1981), aff'd, 69 CCPA 55, 668 F.2d 507 (1981), the court held that the slitting of fabric constitutes an inci- dental operation where a buttonholing operation was performed by a machine which stitched and slit the cloth to form the button- hole in one continuous operation.

We believe these cases are dispositive of the foreign opera- tion presented in this case and, accordingly, find that the U.S. knit tube portion of the pantyhose is a fully fabricated compo- nent at the time it is exported, that the tube closing operation constitutes an assembly operation, and that the lengthwise slit- ting operation is a minor one and is deemed to constitute an incidental operation. Further, examination of the samples submitted shows that the knitted tube and crotch patch components do not lose their physical identity in the assembly operation, and that they are not otherwise advanced in value or improved in condition except by assembly or operations incidental thereto.

Regarding the proper marking of the imported pantyhose, 19 CFR 10.22 provides, in part, that:

[i]f an imported assembled article is made entirely of American-made materials, the United States origin of the material may be disclosed by using a legend such as "Assembled in ___ from material of U.S. origin," or a similar phrase.

As all the components in the imported pantyhose are products of the U.S., the pantyhose may be marked "Knit in the U.S., Assembled in Mexico," which is substantially similar to the phrase identified at 19 CFR 10.22.


On the basis of the above-described foreign operation and after examining the sample submitted, the pantyhose will be eligible for the partial duty exemption available under HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80 when imported into the U.S., upon compliance with the documentary requirements of 19 CFR 10.24. Further, the imported pantyhose may be marked "Knit in the U.S., Assembled in Mexico," as the imported assembled pantyhose are made entirely of American-made materials.


Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: