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NY 851860

May 22, 1990

CLA-2-39:S:N:N3D:221 851860


TARIFF NO.: 3926.90.9050; 9801.00.10

Mr. Adalberto Gonzalez
Gonzalez Customs Service
P.O. Box 2888
529 Webster Street
Eagle Pass, Texas 78852

RE: The tariff classification of plastic splice protectors from Taiwan.

Dear Mr. Gonzalez:

In your letter dated April 17, 1990, on behalf of Wade Enterprises, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The sample submitted with your request is a plastic splice protector made in Taiwan. It consists of a polyurethane plastic tube with a cap. It is filled to approximately 60 percent of its capacity with a petroleum distillate grease with special additives to enable it to withstand high temperatures. The grease is made in the United States, and exported in 5 gallon containers. In Taiwan, a small portion is added to each plastic tube. The product is then packaged with a plastic and metal "Y" wire nut also made in the United States.

In use, two wire leads will be spliced and forced inside the wire nut. The splice leads will then be inserted into the tube and the cap will be closed. The splice protector protects the splice from water, acids, dirt and dust, and is claimed to be particularly useful in installing electrically controlled water irrigation valves where the wiring is underground, such as in golf courses.

The applicable subheading for the splice protector will be 3926.90.9050, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other articles of plastics, other. The rate of duty will be 5.3 percent ad valorem.

You ask about the applicability of subheadings 9801.00.10 and 9802.00.80, HTS, to the United States made wire nut and grease. Subheading 9801.00.10, HTS, provides for the duty-free entry of U.S. products that are exported and returned without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any means while abroad. The operations performed on the wire nut consist merely of packaging it with the foreign made plastic tube. As the mere packaging of U.S. products with other products does not advance in value or improve in condition the U.S. product, the U.S. made wire nut will be eligible for the duty exemption available under HTS subheading 9801.00.10, HTS, provided the documentary requirements of section 10.1, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.1), are met.

However, the metering out of the grease into measured portions in the splice tubes is not considered a packaging operation. The tube is not a package for transportation or retail sale. Rather, the tube when filled with grease comprises a single product which provides an environmental seal which enhances the operational life of a splice. The grease is considered to be advanced in value and improved in condition by virtue of being combined with the plastic tube. The grease is therefore not eligible for duty free entry in subheading 9801.00.10, HTS.

Nor is the grease eligible for partial duty exemption in subheading 9802.00.80, HTS. This provision covers articles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components of U.S. origin with no operations performed thereon except the joining of the components and operations incidental thereto. The components must be exported in condition ready to assemble, cannot lose their physical identity, and cannot be advanced in value or improved in condition except by being assembled with incidental operations. The combining of amorphous solids with solid components is not regarded as an assembly. The term "assemble" is used to describe the joining or coming together of solids. Grease is not regarded as an acceptable component that can enter into an assembly. It is an amorphous and fungible material that assumes the space of the container in which it is placed. Therefore, there is no duty exemption in subheading 9802.00.80, HTS, for the cost of the U.S. made grease which is measured out into the splice protector.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director

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