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HQ 555786

March 20, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:S 555786 RA


TARIFF NO: 9802.00.80

Mr. Mark Mainwaring
OMSA, Inc.
901 Tony Lama # 3
El Paso, Texas 79915

RE: Applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, to disposable protective clothing identified as booties and sleeves, assembled in Mexico from plastic components made and cut in the U.S.

Dear Mr. Mainwaring:

This is in response to your letter of November 6, 1990, requesting a ruling on the applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), to disposable protective clothing identified as booties or sleeves, assembled in Mexico from U.S.-made plasticized PVC film and other materials. Samples of the finished products were submitted and are returned under separate cover as requested.


The exported components consist of two to four pieces of plasticized PVC film cut to shape and elastic and thread, all of U.S. manufacture. The plastic film parts are joined to form the articles and elastic is sewn to the tops of the booties and to both ends of the sleeves. In some cases, vinyl soles are attached to the bottom of the booties by sewing.


Do the operations performed abroad constitute an acceptable assembly operations under the provisions of subheading 9802.00.80, so as to make the U.S.-made components eligible for a partial exemption from duty?


HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80 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 HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80 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 value of the imported assembled article, less the cost or value of such U.S. components, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of section 10.24, Customs Regulations (10 CFR 10.24).

Section 10.16(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.16(a)), states that the assembly operations performed abroad may consist of any method, such as sewing, used to join or fit together solid components and may be preceded, accompanied, or followed by operations incidental to the assembly process. However, 19 CFR 10.16(a) provides that any significant process, operation, or treatment other than assembly whose primary purpose is the fabrication, completion, or physical or chemical improvement of a component shall not be regarded as incidental to the assembly and shall preclude the application of the exemption to such article.

The sewing operations performed to attach the various plastic film components and vinyl soles of U.S. manufacture to form the protective booties or sleeves are considered to be qualified assembly steps under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS. The sewing of the elastic to the tops or ankles of the booties and to the ends of the sleeves and the attachment of the two ties to the high boot also constitute acceptable assembly operations.


The attachment of plastic components of U.S. manufacture by sewing to form protective booties or sleeves is a qualified assembly operation under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, and an allowance may be made for the cost or value of U.S.-made components upon compliance with the documentation requirements of section 10.24, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.24).


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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