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HQ 555476

February 23, 1990

CLA-2-CO:R:C 555476 RA


TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.80

District Director of Customs
40 South Gay Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

RE: Internal Advice Request No. 46/89 concerning the applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, to ribbon roses assembled in China

Dear Sir:

This is in response to your memorandum of June 5, 1989, forwarding a request for internal advice dated June 1, 1989, from Mr. Tony Collini of John S. Connor, Inc., on behalf of C. M. Offray & Son, Inc. Mr. Collini requests a ruling on the applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), to artificial roses made in China from U.S. ribbon.


Ribbon of U.S. origin is exported to China on spools where it is cut to length, formed into the shape of a rose, and sewed to retain its shape. Three different rose shapes are created. Ribbon for the rose leaf is pinched and sewed to hold the shape and to fasten it to the rose. There is no cutting to pattern or shape involved and the U.S.-made ribbon material is exported in condition ready to be joined after cutting to length.


Can an allowance in duty be made under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, for the ribbon material of U.S. origin which is assembled into roses?


Subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, provides for articles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components of U.S. origin with no operations performed thereon except the joining of the
components and operations incidental thereto. The components must be exported in condition ready for assembly, cannot lose their physical identity, and cannot be advanced in value or improved in condition except by the assembly or operations incidental thereto. Duty is assessed on the appraised value of the imported merchandise less the cost or value of the U.S.-made components at the time they were exported.

Section 10.16(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.16(a)), states that acceptable assembly operations may consist of any method used to Join or fit together solid components, such as sewing, and may be preceded, accompanied, or followed by operations incidental to the assembly process. Operations considered incidental to assembly are enumerated in 19 CFR 10.16(b), and include "[a]djustments in the shape or form of a component to the extent required by the assembly" and "[c]utting to length of...products exported in continuous length." However, 19 CFR 10.16(c) provides that any significant process, operation, or treatment other than assembly whose primary purpose is the fabrication, completion, or physical improvement of a component shall not be regarded as incidental to the assembly and may preclude the application of the exemption to such article.

Sewing the formed ribbon rose to itself to retain the flower shape is considered an acceptable assembly operation in view of L'Eggs Products v. United States, Slip. Op. 89-5, 13 CIT ___ (CIT 1989). Moreover, the joining of the rose leaf to the formed flower by sewing with thread constitutes a valid assembly operation. Pinching the rose leaf and cutting the ribbon material to length are considered to be operations incidental to assembly under 19 CFR 10.16(b). The wrapping of the ribbon to form the flower portion before it is sewed to itself is also a permissible incidental operation and analogous to the formation of bows ruled on in Headquarters Ruling Letters 553674 (June 14, 1985) and 554956 (April 5, 1988).

Accordingly, an allowance in duty for the cost or value of the U.S.-fabricated ribbon material would be authorized under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, upon compliance with the documentation requirements of section 10.24, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.24).


Artificial roses made by sewing ribbon material to itself with thread and attaching the flowers and leaves by sewing qualify for tariff treatment under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, upon compliance with the applicable regulations.


John Durant, Director

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