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NY B88083

August 6, 1997

CLA-2-62:RR:NC:TA 360 B88083


TARIFF NO.: 6204.44.4010; 9802.00.80

Mr. Stewart Rossi
Jenny Trading Company
4158 Ferry Street
Newark, NJ 07105

RE: The tariff classification of a women's embroidered dress from Costa Rica; applicability of the partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS

Dear Mr. Rossi:

In your letter dated July 25, 1997, you requested a ruling concerning the tariff classification and the applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), to an embroidery operation performed on the front panel of a women's woven dress assembled in Costa Rica. The sample submitted will be returned to you under separate cover.

The submitted sample, identified as style 2450, is a women's dress manufactured from 50% polyester and 50% rayon woven fabric. The dress extends from the neck and shoulders to approximately the calf and has long sleeves and a rear zipper closure. You state that the garment will be assembled in Costa Rica by sewing USA fabricated components exported in a condition ready for assembly.

The applicable subheading for style 2450 will be 6204.44.4010, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for women's or girls suits, ensembles, suit-type jackets, blazers, dresses...of artificial fibers: other: other: women's. The duty rate will be 16.7 percent ad valorem.

Style 2450 falls within textile category designation 636. Based upon international textile trade agreements products of Costa Rica are not subject to a visa requirement nor quota restraints.

The designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes. To obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

You have indicated in your letter that the fabric is a blend of 50 polyester/50 rayon. Garments which are claimed to be constructed from such a blend are subject, upon importation, to laboratory analysis by the U.S. Customs Service to verify the actual weight of the component fibers. Please be advised that a slight variation, from the above stated fiber content, may affect the classification and the textile category designation of the subject garment.

With regard to the assembly operation, we assume that the embroidery process performed in Costa Rica will consist of the following operations:

(1) The selected design will be embroidered onto two layers of components. The top layer will consist of the appropriate dress component. The bottom layer will consist of a suitable sized piece of pellon backing.

(2) The pellon backing that is not joined to the woven fabric by the thread is perforated during the embroidery process in such a way that this non-essential backing material is pulled off.

You question whether the embroidered shirt will be eligible for the partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, upon importation into the U.S.

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 inform, shape, or otherwise, and 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 cost or value of the imported assembled article, less the cost or value of the U.S. components assembled therein, 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, lamination, 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, because the embroidery operation will be used to join the dress components and the pellon backing together, it is an acceptable assembly operation within the meaning of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, as in HRL 559107 dated June 20, 1995. Therefore, the dress components will be eligible for the duty allowance under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS. However, the pellon backing is not eligible for the duty allowance under this tariff provision upon importation into the U.S. because nearly all of it is removed after the assembly operation. (Section 10.16(b)(4), Customs Regulations {19 CFR 10.16(b)(4)}, considers trimming, filing, or cutting off of small amounts of excess material to be incidental operations.)

Assuming that the operations performed in Costa Rica meet the requirements noted above, the woven dresses subjected to the embroidery operation may be entered under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, with allowances in duty for the cost or value of the U.S. components (except the pellon backing), provided the documentary requirements of 19 CFR 10.24 are satisfied.

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 Patricia Schiazzano at (212)466-5866.


Paul K. Schwartz
Chief, Textiles & Apparel Branch
National Commodity

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