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NY C84048

February 13, 1998

CLA-2-39:RR:NC:SP:221 C84048


TARIFF NO.: 3926.90.9880; 9802.00.80

Mr. William R. Stephens
Sorenson Lighted Controls, Inc.
75 Locust Street
Hartford, CT 06114
RE: The tariff classification of dummy hole plugs from Mexico.

Dear Mr. Stephens:

In your letter dated January 28, 1998, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The dummy hole plugs are used with panel mounted electrical indicator lights. The operator panel has a fixed number of cutouts. The number of cutouts which are replaced with indicator lights depends on the number of features ordered for the panel. The hole plugs are designed to be mounted inside any cutouts which are not replaced with indicator lights, thus giving the panel a uniform appearance. The hole plugs contain no electrical components and perform no function in the panel. Each plug is of two part construction, with the parts molded of plastics in the United States. In Mexico, the two parts are snapped together and then returned. There are no other components added or operations performed in Mexico.

The applicable subheading for the hole plugs will be 3926.90.9880, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other articles of plastics, other. The rate of duty will be 5.3 percent ad valorem.

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. 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.

In the instant case, the snapping together of the two components to form a hole plug is considered an acceptable assembly operation. Therefore, the hole plug is eligible for partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTS, with allowances in duty for the cost or value of the U.S. produced molded parts which are incorporated therein, 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 Joan Mazzola at 212-466-5580.


Robert B. Swierupski Director,
National Commodity

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