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HQ 557329

August 31, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:S 557329 BLS


TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.80

Mr. Jack L. Marr
Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company
P.O. Box 1779
Fort Worth, Texas 76101

RE: Applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, to zippers; assembly; incidental to assembly

Dear Mr. Marr:

This is in reference to your letter dated April 27, 1993, and subsequent telephonic communication with this office, concerning the eligibility of zippers to be assembled in Mexico and Belize (hereinafter "Mexico") for the partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


At the present time, completed zippers are sent abroad to be attached by sewing to mens' and boys' jeans. You propose to change this process by sending to Mexico zipper chain in continuous length. In Mexico, the zippers will be cut to specified lengths, and sewn to the fly of the jeans. During this process, a "slider" will be threaded over the zipper sprockets, in order to close and open the zipper, and a "stop" will be clamped or clinched at the bottom of the zipper. This will complete the assembly of the zipper. The zipper components will be of U.S. origin.


Whether the zippers will qualify for the partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, upon return from Mexico as part of the mens' and boys' jeans.


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 value of the assembled article, less the cost or value of such U.S. components, 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, laminating, 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 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).

In the instant case, we find that threading the slider through the zipper sprockets and clamping the "stop" to the bottom of the zipper are acceptable assembly operations pursuant to section 10.16(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.16(a)). Cutting the zipper chain to length is considered an operation incidental to assembly. See, 19 CFR 10.16(b)(6).


Upon return of the mens' and boys' jeans to the U.S., an allowance in duty may be made under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, for the cost or value of the U.S.-origin zipper components, provided the documentation requirements of 19 CFR 10.24 are satisfied.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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