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HQ 560356

June 5, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:SM 560356 JML


Ms. Ethel Simonetti
The Tuba Exchange, Inc.
1825 Chapel Hill Road
Durham, NC 27707

RE: Eligibility of nickel-plated tubas from Russia for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences; musical instruments.

Dear Ms. Simonetti:

This is in response to your letter dated March 13, 1997, wherein you requested a binding ruling concerning the eligibility of certain nickel-plated tubas for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences ("GSP"), 19 U.S.C. ?2463(b). Although no sample was provided, the circumstances involved in the proposed transactions were described in your submission.


Your company, The Tuba Exchange, Inc., intends to import at least sixteen (16) low brass nickel-plated tubas per month from the J.S. Company in St. Petersburg, Russia. The J.S. Company manufactures the tubas in its St. Petersburg, Russia factory. Specifically, the tuba to be imported is the model #201N, which is a four (4) rotary valve tuba. Displayed on the bell of each instrument is a medallion which indicates the J.S. Company seal, as well as an inscription of the location of manufacture (which is St. Petersburg, Russia).

The tubas are to be freight-forwarded from St. Petersburg, Russia by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The destination indicated on the air waybill is Durham, North Carolina.


Whether, upon their importation into the U.S., the Russian-origin tubas are eligible for duty-free treatment under the GSP?


Under the GSP, articles the growth, product or manufacture of a designated beneficiary country ("BC") which are imported directly into the customs territory of the United States may receive duty-free treatment if the sum of (1) the cost or value of the materials produced in the BC, plus (2) the direct costs involved in processing the eligible article in the BC, is not less than 35 percent of the appraised value of the article at the time it is entered into the United States. See 19 U.S.C.

An article is considered a "product of" a BC if it is made entirely of materials originating in the BC (or an association of countries treated as one BC), or, if made of materials imported into the BC, those materials must be substantially transformed into a new and different article of commerce during production of the final article. See 19 CFR 10.176(a). To determine if an article will be eligible for duty-free treatment under the GSP it must be classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ("HTSUS") under a tariff provision for which a duty rate of "Free" appears in the "Special" subcolumn followed by the symbol "A" or "A*." For qualifying merchandise, a claim for exemption from duty under the GSP is usually made by a written claim on the entry document showing the symbol "A" as a prefix to the HTSUS subheading for each article for which such treatment is claimed. See 19 CFR 10.172.

In addition, a claim for duty-free treatment under the GSP must meet the applicable documentary requirements of 19 CFR 10.176. For merchandise requiring a formal entry which is not wholly the growth, product, or manufacture of a single BC, the exporter of the merchandise or other appropriate party having knowledge of the relevant facts shall be prepared to submit directly to the port director, upon request, a declaration setting forth all pertinent detailed information concerning the production or manufacture of the merchandise. 19 CFR 10.173(a)(1)(i) For commercial merchandise requiring a formal entry which is wholly the growth, product, or manufacture of a BC, a statement to that effect must be included on the commercial invoice provided to Customs.

Currently, Russia is a designated BC for GSP purposes. See HTSUS General Note 4(a). As a general matter, Customs notes that the tubas you intend to import are classifiable under subheading 9205.10.00, HTSUS, (Other wind musical instruments: Brass-wind instruments). Articles classifiable in that provision are eligible for GSP treatment as a duty rate of "Free" appears in the "Special" subcolumn followed by the symbol "A." Therefore, the tubas are entitled to duty-free treatment under the GSP provided they comply with the "product of," "imported directly," and value content requirements of 19 U.S.C. ?2463(b) and 19 CFR 10.176(a).

Please note, however, that the GSP program expired on May 31, 1997, although we understand that Congress currently is giving consideration to reinstating the program.


The nickel-plated low brass tubas, classified in subheading 9205.10.00, HTSUS, and manufactured in Russia are eligible for GSP treatment. Assuming compliance with the "product of," "imported directly," documentary and value content requirements, the tubas will be entitled to duty-free treatment. We have enclosed a copy of the GSP Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.171-10.178).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time the merchandise is entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Durant, Director

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