United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1998 NY Rulings > NY B84160 - NY B84246 > NY B84170

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
NY B84170

May 7, 1997

CLA-2-63:RR:NC:TA:352 B84170


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9989

Ms. Barbara Klausman
James J. Boyle & Co.
7505 N.E. Ambassador Place, #B
Portland, Oregon 97220

RE: The tariff classification of capillary watering system from Australia.

Dear Ms. Klausman:

In your letter dated March 10, 1997, on behalf of your client Commodity Storage, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The "Bottoms Up" capillary watering system is described as a watering system for commercial nurseries. It consists of a mat consisting of three distinct layers to which a plastic tubing system will be attached by means of an adhesive. The mat consists of a lower layer of plastic sheeting, a center layer of non-woven fabric and an upper layer of woven fabric made from textile olefin strip. The mat has been assembled by use of an adhesive along the edge of the mat. The center nonwoven layer absorbs and distributes water supplied through holes in the plastic tubing. The water in the layer is used to supply moisture to the plants placed on the top of the mat. The plastic sheet which forms the lower impermeable layer of the mat functions to prevent the water from dissipating from the system. The woven upper layer allows water to pass through it and reach the root systems of the plants placed on the mat. In addition, this upper layer prevents the nonwoven center layer from being damaged by either root invasion from the plants or wear from mechanical forces.

Your correspondence indicates that the additional components of the system such as additional piping attaching the system to the water supply and timing devices that turn the water on and off will be provided in the United States after the system is imported. In addition, you have requested a classification ruling on the three layer mat if imported without the plastic tubing attached to the mat.

Both the watering system with the tubing attached and the mat without the tubing are composite goods composed of plastic and textile components. Since the plastic components and the textile components in both the products play significant roles in the functioning of these products, it is not possible to determine the material that imparts the essential character to these products. Consequently, in accordance with General Rule of Interpretation 3(c), if the essential character of a composite good cannot be determined, it shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration. Since the competing provisions for both these products are either in heading 3926, HTS or heading 6307, HTS, pursuant to GRI 3(c) they are classifiable in heading 6307, HTS.

The applicable subheading for both the capillary watering system with the attached plastic piping and the three layer mat will be 6307.90.9989, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other made up articles... other, other, other, other, other. The rate of duty will be 7 percent ad valorem.

You have also requested a ruling on whether the United States origin tubing qualifies as a U.S. fabricated component for purposes of subheading 9802.00.8060, HTS. Subheading 9802.00.80, HTS, provides a partial duty exemption for articles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components, the product of the United States, which were exported in condition ready for assembly without further fabrication, have not lost their physical identity in such articles by change in form, 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, lubrication, and painting.

All three requirements of subheading 9802.00.80, HTS, 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 value of the imported assembled article, less the cost or value of such U.S. components, 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 that the 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. You have not described the operations which will be performed on the tubing. 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, laminating, sewing, or the use of fasteners. Operations incidental to the assembly are not considered further fabrication operations if they are of a minor nature.

Incorporating the tubing into the watering mat is an acceptable assembly operation for purposes of reduced duty treatment in heading 9802. Cutting the tubing to length is considered an operation incidental to the assembly process. Therefore, if the tubing is merely cut to length and assembled into the mat, the watering system may enter under subheading 9802.00.80, HTS, with allowances in duty for the cost or value of the U.S. produced tubing, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of 19 CFR 10.24. However, in the opinion of this office, perforating the tubing throughout its length so that the water may drip through is not an operation incidental to the assembly process and would disqualify the tubing for treatment in heading 9802.

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.


Paul K. Schwartz
Chief, Textile and Apparel Branch

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: