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HQ 223571

March 19, 1992

DRA-4-CO:R:C:E 223571 SLR


Regional Director
U.S. Customs Service
Regulatory Audit Division
423 Canal Street
Suite 337
New Orleans, LA 70130-2341

RE: Request for Internal Advice; Antiknock Compounds; Dye Injection; Same Condition Direct Identification Drawback; 19 USC 1313(j)(1); Incidental Operations; 19 USC 1313(j)(4)

Dear Sir:

This is in response to your November 1, 1991 request for internal advice regarding the same condition direct identification drawback status of antiknock compounds which are injected with dye prior to exportation. Your request, initially directed to Headquarters Regulatory Audit Division, was forwarded to this office for a response.


During the same condition direct identification drawback audit of Ethyl Corporation (Ethyl), your office determined that dyes are introduced into the imported/designated products (antiknock compounds) upon exportation for identification purposes. These antiknock compounds are Tetraethyl Lead Aviation, Tetramethyl Lead Motor Mix, Tetramethyl Lead and Mixed Lead Alkyl. Dyes are added to the antiknock compound three ways:

1. While being discharged from the shore tank to the vessel.

2. After placement into the vessel but prior to vessel departure.

3. While the vessel is in transit to its foreign destination.

According to Ethyl, the dyes introduced serve no purpose other than coloration for identification purposes and are thus considered to be an incidental operation under 19 USC 1313(j)(4).

Since the third method of dye injection occurs after exportation, your office agrees that those additions do not affect that drawback claim. You question, however, whether the dyes addition prior to exportation as in (1) and (2) changes the condition of the antiknock compounds.


Whether the antiknock compounds of methods (1) and (2) qualify for same condition direct identification drawback under 19 USC 1313(j)(1).


Section 313(j)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 USC 1313(j)(1)), provides for the allowance of drawback upon exportation or destruction of duty-paid imported merchandise which (1) is, before the close of the three year period beginning on the date of importation, exported in the same condition as imported, and (2) has not been used in the United States before such exportation or destruction. Incidental operations, such as testing, cleaning, and repacking, performed on the merchandise, not amounting to manufacture or production for drawback purposes, are not treated as a use of that merchandise in the United States. 19 USC 1313(j)(4).

In C.S.D. 91-18, Customs indicated that "[permissible incidental operations] should be limited to those that have considerably little, if any, effect on imported merchandise; that is, only insignificant, minimal changes in condition should be tolerated." Customs cautioned, however, that "these exceptions will be applied cautiously so as to avoid undermining the basic condition concept."

Here, the addition of the dyes to the antiknock compounds qualifies as an incidental operation. The dyes merely function as identifiers and have no effect, other than coloration, on the subject merchandise. Accordingly, the addition of the dyes will not be treated as a "use" under 19 USC 1313(j)(4) for purposes of 19 USC 1313(j)(1).

In response to your immediate concern, the addition of the dyes does not change the condition of the antiknock compounds. The dyes neither alter the chemical composition of the antiknock compounds nor enhance the performance of those products. Consequently, the antiknock compounds meet the same condition requirement of 19 USC 1313(j)(1).


Based on the foregoing, the antiknock compounds qualify for same condition direct identification drawback under 19 USC 1313(j)(1).


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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