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HQ 227519

September 12, 1997

CON-9-04 RR:IT:EC 227519 SMC


TARIFF NO.: 9813.00.05

Mr. Darrell Sekin Jr.
DJS International Services, Inc.
P. O. Box 612785
Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, TX 75261

RE: Temporary Importation Under Bond (TIB); marble slabs; processing; Subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS

Dear Mr. Sekin:

This is in response to your letter dated March 21, 1997, in which you request a ruling on the eligibility of duty free entry for marble slabs imported temporarily for processing into stone veneer aluminum honeycomb panels under subheading 9813.00.05.20, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your inquiry was forwarded to this office for reply by the National Commodity Specialist Division. We are also in receipt of your facsimile of August 7, 1997, which transmitted a copy of the original ruling request from your client Stone Panels Incorporated (Stone Panels) dated March 21, 1997.


Stone Panels intends to import rough sawn slabs of white carrara marble quarried in Italy. The slabs vary in size. Once brought into its United States plant, Stone Panels first trims the marble slabs to meet a process size required. After this initial trimming, an aluminum honeycomb panel is then bonded to each side of the slab. This "sandwich" consisting of three layers (honeycomb panel/stone slab/honeycomb panel) is then turned on edge and the stone is sawn in half, resulting into two stone panels from one slab, each with a honeycomb panel attached. Each stone panel is polished to produce the finished, uncut sheet of material. The finished sheet is then cut to the required size, depending on the builiding project specification requirements. The sheet may be cut into only one finished panel or several depending on the building requirements. The cut panels may then be further processed by the finishing of some edges or the mounting of hardware. Each finished stone veneer aluminum honeycomb panel is provided a part number to identify the location where it is to be installed on the building project. They are then packed in wooden crates and delivered to the building job site in Italy. Stone Panels advises that the strips of "off fall" slab that result from the trimming process are of no use and are broken into pieces and discarded.


Whether the above-described operation qualifies the rough sawn marble slabs for duty-free entry under a temporary importation bond (TIB) pursuant to subheading 9813.00.05.20, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


Subheading 9813.00.05.20 HTSUS, is a statistical annotation of subheading 9813.00.05. Statistical annotation 9813.00.05.20, HTSUS, provides for the temporary importation of articles to be processed into articles manufactured or produced in the United States. Statistical annotations are not included in the legal text of the HTSUS. HTSUS, General Statistical Note 2; Tariff Act of 1930 a amended by section 1204(a) of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, Pub. L. No. 100-418, 102 Stat. 1107, 1148 (1988). Therefore, the statistical annotations have no legal status, and the provision under which you would enter the merchandise is subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS. Under subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS, articles to be repaired, altered or processed (including processes which result in articles manufactured or produced in the United States), may be entered temporarily free of duty, under bond, for exportation within one year from the date of importation. This period may be extended for one or more additional periods, which when added to the initial period does not exceed three years. In order to qualify under this provision, the merchandise imported may not be imported for the purpose of sale or sale on approval. See U.S. Note 1(a) of Subchapter XIII, Chapter 98, HTSUS.

Processes allowable under subheading 9813.00.05 HTSUS may include those processes which result in articles manufactured or produced in the United States. The mere polishing of an article would not result in a new manufactured or produced article, although it may result in it being altered. The entire processing of the marble slabs by Stone Panels, however, involves more than mere polishing. After the marble slabs are bonded to aluminum honeycomb panels and cut in half, they are polished and then further cut to customer specifications, depending on the particular building project requirements. We have consistently held that cutting to customer specifications alone constitutes a manufacture or production under title 19, United States Code, section 1313, the drawback statute, because it results in an article that is suitable for and dedicated to a particular commercial use. In Treasury Decision 48406-E, it was held that the cutting or cutting and polishing of marble slabs constituted a manufacture under 19 U.S.C. 1313(a). We are of the opinion, therefore, that the marble slabs that are imported for the above-described processing may be entered free of duty under bond pursuant to subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS, as articles to be processed.

All of the accountability requirements in the U.S. Notes of Subchapter XIII, Chapter 98, HTSUS, must be met. In particular, subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS, U.S. Note 2(b) states that if any processing of such merchandise results in an article manufactured or produced in the United States: (i) a complete accounting will be made to the Customs Service for all articles, wastes and irrecoverable losses resulting from such processing; and (ii) all articles and valuable wastes resulting from such processing will be exported or destroyed under Customs supervision within the bond period; except that in lieu of the exportation or destruction of valuable wastes, duties may be tendered on such wastes at rates of duties in effect for such wastes at the time of importation.

The applicable Customs Regulations are 19 CFR 10.31 through 10.40. Section 10.31(f) states that the bond shall be on Customs Form 301 in an amount equal to double the duties which it is estimated would accrue (or such larger amount necessary to protect the revenue) had all the articles covered by the entry been entered under an ordinary consumption entry. The basis for the computation of the amount of a temporary importation bond is estimated duties determined in accordance with section 141.90 and 141.103 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 141.90 and 19 CFR 141.103). To this amount is added any other duties that the district director ascertains may become due on the articles so entered.


The processing of the marble slabs as described in the FACTS is a permissible operation under subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS.


Director, International Trade
Compliance Division

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