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NY A87291

October 11, 1996

CLA-2-94:RR:NC:TA:352 A87291


TARIFF NO.: 9404.30.8000

Ms. Connie J. Small
American Recreation Products, Inc.
111 Industrial Drive
New Haven, MO 63068

RE: The tariff classification of sleeping bags from China. Applicability of partial duty exemption under the provision for assembly in subheading 9802.00.80.

Dear Ms. Small:

In your letter dated September 5, 1996 you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The sleeping bag is constructed from a Chinese produced man-made fiber woven fabric shell and U.S. manufactured polyester batting. After the polyester fiber batting is layered into the shell, the bags are sewn shut and a zipper is attached. You state that the U.S. produced fiber nonwoven batting will be shipped to China and cut to the appropriate size for assembly into the completed sleeping bag.

Your correspondence indicates that you contemplate two different scenarios for cutting the U.S. produced batting to the appropriate size for assembly. In the first 36 inch wide batting will be exported to China. It will be cut to 18 inch widths and the appropriate length and assembled with the textile portions forming the main part of the sleeping bag. In addition, the fiberfill will be cut to the exact shape of other parts of the bag. Specifically, circular cut pieces for assembly into the hood and foot of the bag and a rectangular piece cut for assembly with the weatherstripping portion of the bag.

In the second scenario you contemplate shipping U.S. produced polyester batting in 18 inch widths to China. In this case the main part of the bag can be assembled with the fiberfill by simply cutting it to the appropriate length. However, the fiberfill must still be cut to the appropriate shape for the assembly with the hood, foot and weatherstripping portions of the bag.

It is your contention that the U.S. produced fiberfill batting is a fabricated U.S. component that is eligible for duty exemption under the provision for the assembly of U.S. produced fabricated components in subheading 9802.00.80, HTS.

Subheading 9802.00.80, HTS, provides for a partial duty exemption for:

Articles...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.

It should be noted that all three requirements listed in subheading 9802.0080, HTS, must be satisfied before a component may receive the benefit of having its value exempted from duty.

Section 10.16(a) of the Customs Regulations (CR) provides that the assembly performed abroad may consist of any method used to join solid components together such as welding, soldering, riveting, force fitting, gluing, laminating, sewing, or the use of fasteners. Operations that are incidental to the assembly process are not considered further fabrication as they are in general of a minor nature. Section 10.16(b) describes various operations that are incidental to the assembly process and as such are not a bar to consideration as a fabricated component eligible for duty exemption. Among the processes listed that are germane to this issue is cutting to length of wire, thread, tape, foil and similar products exported in continuous lengths. However, 10.16(c) addresses operations that are not incidental to the assembly process and as such would preclude that processed component from duty allowance under 9802.00.80, HTS. Among the processes listed is cutting garment parts according to a pattern from exported material.

In a series of rulings the Customs Service has ruled that cutting to length and width was not a process incidental to the assembly process and was a further fabrication akin to cutting parts to a pattern. Note Headquarters rulings 557366, 556099, 555798 and 555425. In view of this for the purposes of scenario 1 no allowance for any of the parts made from the polyester fiberfill may be made under subheading 9802.00.80, HTS.

In regard to processing contemplated by scenario 2 the U.S. polyester batting that is merely cut to length and is assembled into the main portion of the bag may be claimed as duty exempt under 9802.00.80, HTS, since the cutting to length is a process incidental to assembly under Section 10.16(b)(6) CR. However, those fiberfill components that are cut to shape for assembly into the hood, foot and weatherstripping portions of the sleeping bag are considered further fabricated and no allowance under subheading 9802.00.80, HTS, may be granted.

The applicable subheading for the sleeping bag will be 9404.30.8000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for sleeping bags, other. The rate of duty will be 9 percent ad valorem.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Alan Tytelman at 212-466-5896.


Roger J. Silvestri

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