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 > 1993 HQ Rulings > HQ 0223541 - HQ 0223772 > HQ 0223574

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 223574

March 19, 1992

CON-9-09 CO:R:C:E 223574 SLR


TARIFF NO.: 9813.00.30

District Director of Customs
10 Causeway Street
Suite 603
Boston, MA 02222-1059

RE: Internal Advice 73/91; Leather for Footwear; "Quality Control" Inspection; Testing; Temporary Importation Under Bond (TIB) Subheading 9813.00.30, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)

Dear Sir:

This is in response to your memorandum dated November 14, 1991, requesting our advice on the TIB status of leather which undergoes an inspection as well as lab testing while in the United States.


The Morabela Shoe Corporation imports leather from Korea and Argentina for use in the manufacture of shoes. The imported leather must meet specific minimum standards and specifications before being exported to the Dominican Republic for final assembly. To this end, the leather undergoes an inspection, then lab testing.

All of the leather shipments are subjected to 100 percent examination. The inspection ensures that: the color of the leather matches the standard maintained on file; that the weight and thickness of the leather is correct; and that the temper or feel of the leather meets the company's standards. An inspection involves examining the leather for scars, color imperfections, and "loose leather quality." Additionally, in determining the "loose leather quality," weight, and thickness, the inspector must feel, flex, and manipulate the leather.

Once the inspector determines that the leather meets the appropriate standards, a sample from each shipment is sent to a lab for testing. The testing involves seven separate procedures which measure either the strength, color stability, stretch, proper bonding quality, or proper adhesion quality of the leather.

Counsel representing Morabella maintains that the above-described inspection (or, in the alternative, the lab testing) entitles the leather to duty-free entry under subheading 9813.00.30, HTSUSA. You, however, disagree. You maintain that the performed inspection is a mere quality control procedure undeserving of TIB treatment and cite a May 26, 1953 Headquarters letter as the authority for your position. You also discount counsel's claim that the leather should be allowed TIB status based on the lab testing procedures as it is your understanding that only one small piece from each shipment is tested, and that no shipments have been rejected on the basis of the tests conducted. You note that the tested samples rarely fail the above-described tests and, on the rare occassion that a sample fails a test, another sample is tested until it passes the test.


Whether either of the above-described procedures (the inspection or the lab testing) qualifies the leather for duty-free entry under TIB provision 9813.00.30, HTSUSA.


Under subheading 9813.00.30, HTSUSA, articles intended solely for testing, experimental, or review purposes may be entered duty-free, temporarily, under bond for their exportation within one year from the date of importation. This period may be extended for one or more additional periods, which when added to the initial period does not exceed three years.

Headquarters has issued several decisions concerning the TIB status of quality control inspections. In a letter dated December 8, 1959, Headquarters authorized the entry of files and rasps for "quality control" testing under item 864.30 Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS) (predecessor to subheading 9813.00.30, HTSUSA). Likewise, in a letter dated December 17, 1986, valves checked manually for dysfunction were allowed entry under item 864.30, TSUS. It follows that leather subjected to the type of inspection performed here qualifies for duty-free entry under subheading 9813.00.30, HTSUSA.

As for our letter of May 26, 1953 (copy attached), entry under section 308(4) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (predecessor to item 864.30, TSUS) was denied Canadian-made shoes imported for the purpose of testing the efficiency of a Canadian company's production and workmanship. At that time, however, the law only pertained to "Articles intended solely for experimental purposes." Section 308(4) was later amended to include "Articles intended solely for testing, experimental, or review purposes" and, as indicated in our May decision, the Canadian shoes would have qualified for entry under section 308(4) as amended.

Here, inspection alone qualifies the leather for TIB treatment. Consequently, we need not discuss the lab testing issues.


Based on the foregoing, the leather qualifies for duty-free entry under subheading 9813.00.30, HTSUSA, provided all other TIB requirements are met.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: