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HQ 556714

July 8, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:S 556714 RAH


TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.80

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
5850 San Felipe Street
Suite 500
Houston, Texas 77057-3012

RE: I/A 25/92; Applicability of duty exemption under HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80 to U.S.-origin yarn exported to Sweden for twisting and spinning

Dear Ms. McCauley:

This is in response to your memorandum of April 15, 1992, forwarding a request for internal advice submitted by the law firm of Givens and Kelly on behalf of Multiflex International, Inc, concerning the applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), to twisting and spinning of U.S.-origin yarn in Sweden.


Untwisted Kevlar multifilament yarn which is wound on cylindrical spools of 20 lbs. yarn per spool is exported to Aktiebolaget Svenskt Konstsilke (S.K.S.) in Sweden by Du Pont via its European Du Pont subsidiary. Kevlar is an aromatic polyamide fiber of extreme tenacity (high tensile strength), of greater resistance to elongation than steel, and capable of high energy absorption. It is ultimately used by Multiflex in protective bundle applications for offshore drilling rig control cables with hydraulic, electro-hydraulic, or pneumatic cores. Its light weight and great strength make it ideal for protecting these heavy weight, rough duty cables from both the elements, internal pressures, and the stresses of offshore use.

S.K.S. twists the yarn (60 twists per meter) on Kevlar ring twisting frames preparatory to winding onto bobbins. The twisted Kevlar yarn is wound onto bobbins in parallel (from 3 to 7 parallel ends) by use of an eight-inch traverse spooling machine. This "parallel end" winding involves no weaving or braiding. The

Kelvar yarn is braided by Multiflex upon the yarn's return to the United States to form the protective bundle cores for control bundles for offshore drilling and production platforms.

After winding, S.K.S. dips each end of the bobbins into a 1/4th inch deep adhesive neoprene solution to keep the Kevlar yarn from slipping off of the sides of the bobbins in transport. The inquirer states that the solution does not affect the small amount of Kelvar it contacts in any way; it merely allows efficient handling of the Kevlar yarn on the bobbins, which themselves are ultimately mounted on Multiflex's braiding machine in the United States.

The inquirer argues that the 20-lbs. Kevlar spools are exported in a condition ready for assembly without further fabrication. S.K.S. adds no coatings or other chemical treatments to enhance any of the properties of the Du POnt Kelvar. S.K.S. merely assembles the Du Pont Kelvar strands into a manageable yarn ready for the Multiflex braiding process upon its return to the United states. They further argue that the Du Pont Kevlar has not lost its physical identity, and that the operation does not advance the value or improve the condition of the Kevlar except by virtue of assembling the Kevlar strands into manageable yarn for ready mounting on Multiflex's braiding machine in the United States. The assembly operation abroad comprises only about 11 percent of the total value of the product when shipped to Multiflex.

In support of its claims, the inquirer cites Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRL) 555128 dated January 9, 1989; HRL 555221 dated October 24, 1989; HRL 554521 dated May 29, 1987; HRL 553593 dated May 16, 1985 and New York Ruling Letter 832037 dated September 29, 1988.


Whether the twisted and wound U.S.-origin yarn will be eligible for the partial duty exemption provided for under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, when returned to the U.S. from Sweden.


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.

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 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).

Customs has long held that mere twisting of yarn into twine or rope is a combining or joining of components in an acceptable assembly operation. HRL 555128, supra, citing HRL 553593 dated May 16, 1985 and HRL 554531 dated May 29, 1987. In HRL 555128, 3-ply nylon rope yarn is twisted into strands of 10 yarn fibers each and then three of those strands twisted together to form 3-strand twisted rope. Moreover, foreign despooling and winding operations have been considered by the courts within the context of TSUS item 807.00 [the predecessor to subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS] and been found to constitute assembly steps rather than a "further fabrication." See, General Instrument Corporation v. United States, 61 CCPA 86, C.A.D. 1128, 499 F.2d 1318, 1320 (1974), rev'g, 70 Cust. Ct. 151, C.D.4421, 359 F. Supp. 1390 (1973), and General Instrument Corporation v. United States, 72 Cust. Ct. 86, 91, C.D. 4507 (1974), appeal dismissed, 62 CCPA 109 (1974) (both involving wire exported on spools and despooled onto winding machines).

In the instant case, we find that twisting yarn on the Kelvar ring twisting frames and winding onto bobbins in Sweden constitutes an acceptable assembly, in accordance with the above cited cases and rulings. Moreover, dipping the ends of the bobbins into an adhesive neoprene solution to keep the yarn from slipping off of the sides of the bobbins in transport is an insignificant operation which does not affect the use or character of the yarn.


U.S.-origin yarn exported to Sweden where it is twisted and wound onto bobbins will be entitled to a duty allowance under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, when returned to the U.S. as those operations constitute acceptable assembly operations.


John Durant, Director

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