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HQ 556657

August 12, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:S 556657 RAH


TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.80

Mr. Philip Freeman
Cain Customs Brokers, Inc.
421 Texano
P.O. Box 150
Hidalgo, Texas 78557

RE: Applicability of partial duty exemption under HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80 to an overload upper assembly; 19 CFR 10.14; 19 CFR 10.16

Dear Mr. Freeman:

This is in response to your letter of April 9, 1992, on behalf of Furnas Electric Company, requesting a ruling on an overload upper assembly operation.


The product in question is the upper part of a NEMA Bimetal- Style Overload, which:

[I]s used to protect electric motors by tripping if heat generated in the motor's windings is approaching damaging levels.
This interrupts the control circuit and causes the contractor to open, disconnecting current to the motor. Electric heaters within the overload act upon a thermally sensitive triggering device, proportionally 'tracking' the thermal condition of the motor....NEMA Bimetal-Style Overloads use the heat generated to cause deflection of one or more bimetal strips. Once this deflection is great enough, the trip mechanism is operated.

The lower assembly was the subject of an earlier Customs ruling (Headquarters Ruling Letter 556292 dated January, 27, 1992). Furnas Electric Company now wants to import the upper - 2
assemblies from Mexico. Final assembly of the lower assembly and the upper assembly will occur in the United States. Two models of the overload upper assembly will be produced, D73126-001 (unstamped) and D73126-003 (unstamped). The only difference is the plastic housing ("body"). The assembly steps are the same for both models.

In the first assembly step, the upper housing ("body") is placed in a fixture. Three bimetal strips are placed by hand into the body. Three clamps are placed on the bimetals. Six screws are driven to hold the bimetal strips in place. The bodies are taken out of the fixture and inspected.

In the next station, the upper body is placed into a ball bearing dispensing fixture, and pushed back until three ball bearings fall into place through three holes. The body is then placed on another fixture, and three screws are driven into the same holes as the ball bearings. An "upper contact" is lined up with a screw hole on the body. A "control terminal" is lined up on top of the upper contact. The body is taken out of the fixture, a spring is slid onto a "trip rod" by hand, and the trip rod is placed into a hole in the body. An "o-ring" is picked up with pliers and pushed onto the end of the trip rod. A "snap ring" is opened with pliers and placed onto the end of the trip rod. The upper body assembly is then inspected and boxed for shipment.


Whether the overload upper assembly qualifies for the partial duty exemption available under subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), when returned to the United States.


All articles imported into the U.S. are subject to duty unless specifically exempted therefrom under the HTSUS.

Subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, provides a partial duty exemption for:

[a]rticles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated 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. - 3 -

All three requirements of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, must be satisfied before a component may receive a duty allowance. An article entered under this tariff provision is subject to duty upon the full appraised value of the imported assembled article, less the cost or value of the U.S. components assembled therein, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of section 10.24, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.24).

Section 10.14(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.14(a)), states in part that:

[t]he components must be in condition ready for assembly without further fabrication at the time of their exportation from the United States to qualify for the exemption. Components will not lose their entitlement to the exemption by being subjected to operations incidental to the assembly either before, during, or after their assembly with other components.

Section 10.16(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.16(a)), provides that the assembly operation performed abroad may consist of any method used to join or fit together solid components, such as welding, soldering, riveting, force fitting, gluing, lamination, sewing, or the use of fasteners.

The operations performed in the instant case (placement, clamping and screwing of parts) are similar to those discussed in HRL 556292, supra, relating to the overload lower assembly. In that case, we held that the various operations performed in Mexico to create the overload assembly, which involved securely joining components together by force fitting, inserting a rivet pin, screwing, and clamping were considered acceptable assembly operations pursuant to 19 CFR 10.16(a). We find that the operations performed in Mexico to create the upper assembly overload also constitute acceptable assembly operations as delineated in 19 CFR 10.16(a).


On the basis of the information presented, it is our opinion that the operations performed abroad to create the overload upper assembly are considered proper assembly operations. Therefore, the overload upper assemblies may enter under subheading - 4 -

9802.00.80, HTSUS, with allowances in duty for the cost or value of the U.S.-origin components incorporated therein, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of 19 CFR 10.24. No allowance may be granted for the cost or value of the foreign- origin screws (part no. S00211-008).


John Durant, Director
Commercial Operations Division

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