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NY C83522

January 23, 1998

CLA-2-63:RR:NC:TA:352 C83522


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9989

Mr. Tony Collini
John s. Connor, Inc.
World Trade Center
401 E. Pratt St., Suite 700
Baltimore, MD 21202

RE: The tariff classification of swatch cards from Hong Kong.

Dear Mr. Collini:

In your letter dated December 22, 1997, on behalf of C.M. Offray & son, Inc., Hagerstown, Maryland, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The samples submitted consist of swatches of materials glued to cards, creating a display of various types of ribbons for marketing purposes. The ribbons are constructed of either 100 percent polyester satin woven fabric or 100 percent polyester grosgrain fabric. The swatch cards are used to display samples of ribbons and to promote sales. The swatch cards will be assembled in Hong Kong from ribbons manufactured in the United States. The blank cards will either be products of the United States or produced in one or more foreign countries. In Hong Kong the ribbons are glued onto the printed cards.

Your client believes that the swatch cards should be classified in subheading 4911.10.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other (than certain enumerated) printed matter: trade advertising material, commercial catalogs and the like. However, as outlined in the Explanatory Notes for Chapter 49, HTS, that chapter is generally limited to merchandise whose essential nature and use is determined by the fact of its being printed with motifs, characters or pictorial representations. In various rulings on products similar to the instant cards, Customs has determined that the swatches themselves (or paint chips, etc.) are least as important as the accompanying printed captions and or supplementary information. Likewise, we find that the current merchandise is not essentially printed matter, and is thus not classifiable in the suggested subheading.

The articles are composite goods manufactured of cardboard and textile materials. Since no one material imparts the articles with their essential character, the classification of these articles are determined in accordance with General Rule of Interpretation 3(c). This rule instructs that the good shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration. Since the provision for made up articles of textile fabric appears last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration these products would be classified in Chapter 63.

The applicable subheading for the swatch cards will be 6307.90.9989, HTS, which provides for other made up articles...Other. The rate of duty will be 7 percent ad valorem.

You have also requested a ruling on whether the United States origin ribbons and blank cards qualify as a United States fabricated component for purposes of subheading 9802.00.8065, 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 a 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 swatch cards. 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 fastener. Operations incidental to the assembly are not considered further fabrication operations if they are of a minor nature.

Incorporating the ribbons onto the cardboard is an acceptable assembly operation for purposes of reduced duty treatment in heading 9802. Gluing the ribbons onto the cardboard is considered an assembly process. Therefore, if the ribbons are merely cut to length and assembled onto the cards, the swatch cards may enter under subheading 9802.00.80, HTS, with allowances in duty for the cost or value of the U.S. produced ribbons, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of 19 CFR 10.24. Similarly, if the U.S. produced cards are not further fabricated other than processing incidental to the assembly, then they also may qualify for duty allowance under subheading 9802.00.80, HTS, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of 19 CFR 10.24.

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.


Robert B. Swierupski

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