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 > 1994 HQ Rulings > HQ 0545510 - HQ 0556638 > HQ 0556199

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 556199

December 23, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:S 556199 RA


TARIFF NOS.: 9801.00.10, 9802.00.50, or 9802.00.80

Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Whitehall Street
New York, New York 10004

RE: Application of duty exemption provisions to zippers cleaned and trimmed abroad.

Dear Sirs:

This is in response to your letter of July 15, 1991, regarding the application of the provisions in subheadings 9801.00.10, 9802.00.50, or 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), to certain U.S.- made zipper components exported for cleaning and trimming by your client Durafab, Inc., of Cleburne, Texas.


You state that your client sells protective garments composed of textile material and incorporating a U.S.- made zipper consisting of metal sliders, bottom slots, and fabric attached thereto. When the garments are no longer usable, the zipper portion is removed with some fabric and threads attached and exported to Honduras where it is cleaned and the excess material removed. The renovated zipper will either be imported into the U.S. separately or as the component of a new protective garment.


Can the returned zipper qualify under the free provision in subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS, for American goods returned or under the partial duty exemption in subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUS, as a repaired or altered article, or, if sewn into a new garment, under the partial duty exemption in subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, as an assembled U.S. component?


Subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS, provides for the duty-free entry of products made in the U.S. which are exported and returned without having been advanced in value or improved in condition while abroad. We are of the opinion that the foreign operations constitute an improvement in condition and an advancement in value of the product exported and returned. While the zipper itself may not be changed, the cleaning of the zipper and the removal of the textile material and threads therefrom does result in an advancement of the zipper component which is exported with excess material attached to it which must be removed. Accordingly, the cleaned and trimmed imported zipper cannot qualify for free entry under the provisions of subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS.

Subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUS, provides a partial duty exemption for articles returned to the U.S. after having been exported to be advanced in value or improved in condition by means of an alteration or repair. Only completed or finished goods can qualify under this provision and the identity of the goods must not be lost or destroyed in the foreign process. We are of the opinion that the process of trimming the excess textile material from the zipper and the removal of unwanted threads constitute a repair or alteration under the provisions of subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUS. These operations merely restore the zipper to its original condition and permit it to be used again.

Subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, provides a partial exemption from duty for articles assembled abroad in whole or in part of U.S.-fabricated components, provided the components (a) are exported in condition ready for assembly without further fabrication; (b) do not lose their physical identity by change in form, shape or otherwise, and; (c) are not 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 subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, 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 documentation requirements of section 10.24, Customs Regulations (19 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 used to join or fit together solid components and may be preceded, accompanied, or followed by operations incidental to the assembly process. The sewing of the renovated zipper into the new protective garment in Honduras constitutes a qualified assembly and the operation of cleaning the zipper prior to assembly by removal of excess material and threads is considered to be incidental to the assembly and not a further fabrication.


A zipper from a used protective garment which is sent to Honduras for cleaning and the removal of excess cloth and threads is precluded from free entry under subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS, when returned to the U.S. but will qualify for a partial exemption as a repaired or altered article under subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUS. If the repaired zipper is sewn into a new garment, it would qualify for an exemption from duty as an assembled fabricated U.S.-made component under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: