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HQ 556698

August 29, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:S 556698 RAH


TARIFF NO.: 6205.20.2025; 9802.00.80

Mr. Jose M. Pietri
J.M. Pietri & Assoc., Inc.
P.O. Box 2928
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00903

RE: Applicability of duty exemption under HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80 to shirts sewn together in the Dominican Republic using U.S.-origin precut pattern pieces

Dear Mr. Pietri:

This is in response to your letter of April 7, 1992, to the Assistant District Director, San Juan, on behalf of Internation- al, Inc., regarding the eligibility of men's woven cotton shirts under subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The shirt is composed of woven cotton. It is a Wrangler men's long-sleeved work shirt. The shirt has a spread collar, long sleeves with cuffs, a full frontal opening with button closures, front and back yokes and two breast pockets. The pockets have button closures corresponding to button holes on the front yoke. The components submitted are already cut fabric parts, buttons, spectrum thread, hand-tags, lining, labels and hangers. The inquirer states that the components will be joined together by sewing in the Dominican Republic.

As you requested, we are returning under separate cover the samples which were submitted for our review.


Whether the Wrangler men's long-sleeved work shirt which will be sewn together in the Dominican Republic using U.S.- origin precut pattern pieces will qualify for the partial duty exemption available under subheading 9802.00.80 (HTSUS), when returned to the United States.


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.

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 cost or 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.

Operations incidental to the assembly process are not considered further fabrication operations, as they are of a minor nature and cannot always be provided for in advance of the - 3 -
assembly operations. However, any significant process, operation or treatment whose primary purpose is the fabrication, completion, physical or chemical improvement of a component precludes the application of the exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, to that component. See, 19 CFR 10.16(c).

Under the facts presented, we find that all three requirements of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, will be satisfied. The foreign operations that entail sewing together pre-cut pattern pieces, making button-holes and sewing on buttons are acceptable assembly operations. Headquarters Ruling Letter 555542 dated June 8, 1990. In that case, citing L'Eggs Products, Inc. v. United States, 704 F.Supp. 1127 (CIT 1989), we held that sewing together U.S.-origin, pre-cut fabric pattern pieces, zippers, buttons, thread, hem ribbon and interfacing in Costa Rica to create women's pleated skirts constitutes acceptable assembly operations. Furthermore, button-holing is an operation incidental to the assembly of the garment. See, United States v. Oxford Industries, Inc., 517 F.Supp. 694 (1981).

Finally, the shirt is classified under subheading 6205.20.2025, HTSUS, which provides for men's other woven cotton shirts. The rate of duty is 21 percent ad valorem.


From the information and samples submitted, it is our opinion that the operations performed in the Dominican Republic to create the Wrangler men's long-sleeved work shirt are considered proper assembly operations or operations incidental thereto. Therefore the shirts may be entered under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, with allowances in duty for the cost or value of the U.S. components incorporated therein, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of 19 CFR 10.24.


John Durant, Director

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