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HQ 555427

December 13, 1989

CLA-2-CO:R:C 555427 RA


TARIFF NOS.: 6307.90.9050, and 9802.00.80, HTSUS

Mr. Arturo Dominquez
Cuellar International
P.O. Box 953
Laredo, Texas 78042-0953

RE: Tariff classification and duty allowance for a manual paint strainer assembled in Mexico from a paper cone and a cotton filter material to form a cone-shaped strainer for paint products

Dear Mr. Dominquez:

This is in response to your request dated February 28, 1989, addressed to our New York office and referred to us for reply, on the tariff treatment applicable to a paint strainer made in Mexico.


The imported product is assembled from a piece of paper in a semicircle form with three triangular cut outs in the center portion which will be covered by a chevron-shaped piece of cotton mesh fabric. The paper and fabric are of U.S. manufacture. The assembly operation consists of folding the paper into the shape of a cone and gluing the edges of the paper together after attaching the fabric to the paper with glue to cover the openings at the bottom. The paper portion serves as a funnel and the fabric material becomes a filter which removes unwanted particles when the paint is poured through. The strainer will be used in the U.S. for filtering automobile paint before it is applied to the vehicle.


Will an allowance in duty be accorded for the value of the U.S.-made fabricated paper and cotton components when assembled by gluing in Mexico under the provision in subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)? What tariff classification will be applied to the assembled paint strainer when imported?


Subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, applies to articles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components which are 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. Duty is assessed upon the appraised value of the imported assembled articles less the cost or value of the U.S. fabricated components when exported. Both the exported paper and cotton textile components are fully fabricated when they leave the U.S. and are attached to each other with glue to form the finished paint strainer. Section 10.16(a) Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.16(a)), provides that an assembly operation performed abroad may consist of any method used to join or fit together solid components, such as gluing, and may be accompanied or followed by operations incidental to the assembly. The folding of the paper to form a cone and gluing the edges together after the textile filter is glued on are considered incidental to the assembly. In view of this, the U.S.-fabricated paper and textile components would be entitled to an allowance in duty under the provisions of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, upon compliance with sections 10.11-10.24, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.11-10.24).

With respect to the tariff classification of the imported assembled paint strainers composed of paper and textile materials, the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) set forth the principles which will govern. GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods made up of different components should be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives them their essential character. The paper in this case forms a cone or funnel which directs the paint through the textile mesh at the bottom. The actual filtering of the paint is accomplished by the mesh portion of the device. Therefore, the essential character of the paint strainer cannot be ascertained as the paper and fabric are equally important in the functioning of the device. GRI 3(c) provides that when goods cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last among those under consideration. Thus, the paint strainer is classifiable under the provision for other made up textile articles in subheading 6307.90.9050, HTSUS. No visa is required as of this date.


An allowance in duty for the value of the exported U.S.-made fabricated components of the imported paint strainers may be made under the provisions of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, upon compliance with the applicable Customs Regulations. The strainers are classifiable under the provision for other made up textile articles in subheading 6307.90.9050, HTSUS.


John Durant, Director

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