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HQ 554924

November 16, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:CV:V 554924 BJO


TARIFF NO. 9802.00.80, HTSUS

James A. Geraghty, Esq.
Donohue and Donohue
26 Broadway
New York, New York 10004

RE: Applicability of 9802.00.80, HTSUS, Partial Duty Exemption to Automobile Door Panels

Dear Mr. Geraghty:

This is in response to your letter of August 27, 1987, on behalf of Lignotock Corporation (your file 1220-01), in which you request a ruling that automobile door panels produced in West Germany in part from U.S. materials are eligible for the partial duty exemption provided for in item 807.00, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS)(now subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)). We regret the delay in responding to your letter.


The door panels will be made in West Germany from fabric, a glue foil, foam coat material, and automobile door frames. It appears from your submission that only the fabric is of U.S. origin. The door panels will be produced first by combining the fabric and foam coat material. This is accomplished by rolling and hot air melting the glue foil to the back of the fabric, then rolling the foam coat material to the adhesive surface. The material is then cut by die stamping to the size and shape necessary to fit the automobile door frames. The cut material is then assembled to the door frames.


Whether U.S. fabric cut to size and shape as described is further fabricated for purposes of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS.


Articles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components the product of the U.S. qualify for the partial duty exemption of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, if three conditions are met: (1) the U.S. products are exported in condition ready for assembly without further fabrication, (2) the U.S. products have not lost their physical identity in the assembled articles by change in form, shape, or otherwise, and (3) the U.S. products have not been advanced in value or improved in condition except by being assembled and except operations incidental to the assembly process such as cleaning, lubricating, and painting. Such articles are subject to duty upon their full value, less the cost or, if no charge is made, the value of the U.S. products.

Under section 10.14 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.14), interpreting subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, materials undefined in final dimensions and shapes which are cut into specific shapes or patterns are not considered fabricated components. For example, uncut textile fabrics exported in bolts, or other materials such as lumber, leather, sheet metal, or plastic sheeting exported in basic shapes and forms, to be fabricated into components for assembly are not considered fully fabricated when exported.

You claim that cutting the fabric panels to the size and shape necessary to fit the automobile frames does not constitute a further fabrication, but is an operation incidental to the second assembly step; the combining of the cut fabric with the door frames. In support, you claim that the process is analogous to that at issue in General Instrument Corp. v. United States, 60 CCPA 178, C.A.D. 1106, 480 F 2d. 1402 (1973), where the court held that rolls of foil, paper, cellophane tape, and plastic insulating film which were cut to length and assembled to the article by staking, interleaving, securing, immersing, and other operations for the manufacture of capacitor rolls did not lose their eligibility for item 807.00, TSUS, benefits.

We do not find General Instruments to be controlling to the facts presented in this case. The process in General Instruments involved simply cutting material exported in rolls or spools to length, not, as here, cutting material exported in bulk to give it its basic size and shape. The Customs Regulations distinguish between cutting exported material to size and shape, thus creating the basic article, from cutting material exported in continuous lengths to length to separate it from its supply source. See 19 CFR 10.16(b)(6) and (c)(2); Cf. Samsonite Corporation v. United States, 702 F.Supp 908 (CIT 1988)(steel strip bent abroad to the shape of luggage frame is further fabricated: the bending gives the strip the shape and form necessary before it can be assembled into luggage). The cutting operation performed in General Instruments falls within the latter category; the cutting operation performed here clearly falls within the former.


U.S. fabric which is cut to size and shape abroad is further fabricated for purposes of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS. Accordingly, automobile door panels made in West Germany from fabric exported from the U.S. which is glued to foam coat material, cut to component size and shape, and attached to door frames, are not eligible for the partial duty exemption of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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