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NY C85422

April 7, 1998

CLA-2-40:RR:NC:SP:221 C85422


TARIFF NO.: 4016.99.3500

Ms. Nellie M. Davis
F.W. Myers & Co., Inc.
34 Spur Drive
El Paso, Texas 79906

RE: The tariff classification of drainage tubes from Mexico.

Dear Ms. Davis:

In your letter dated February 26, 1998, on behalf of Ansell Perry, Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The drainage tubes, which are composed of natural latex rubber, are manufactured in the United States. The tubes are then exported to Mexico, where they are cut to length and shipped back to the United States in bulk for further packing. Some of the tubes will be sterilized after importation to the United States. The tubes measure approximately 8 millimeters in diameter, and are closed at one end. The drainage tubes are inserted into the open cut of recovering surgical patients in order to allow liquids to drain while the healing process takes place.

You suggest classification in subheading 9801.00.1096, HTS, which provides for products of the United States when returned after having been exported, without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means while abroad. The drainage tubes, however, have been cut to length, a process which is an advancement in value and improvement in condition. Therefore, the tubes are precluded from subheading 9801.00.1096, HTS.

The applicable tariff provision for the drainage tubes will be 4016.99.3500, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other articles of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber, other, of natural rubber, other. The general rate of duty will be 0.8 percent ad valorem.

You did not inquire about the applicability of subheading 9802.00.50, HTS, which provides for articles returned to the United States after having been exported to be advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means: articles exported for repairs or alterations, other. Articles which are eligible for treatment under this tariff provision are subject to duty only upon the value of the repairs or alterations. You did not provide us with enough information to rule on the applicability of subheading 9802.00.50, HTS. However, if the tubes, prior to being exported to Mexico, were already finished products, rather than mere material lengths, then the processing performed in Mexico would be considered repairs or alterations, and the drainage tubes would qualify for reduced duty under subheading 9802.00.50, HTS.

You did not inquire about duty free eligibility under the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA), and there is insufficient information to rule on the NAFTA status of the drainage tubes. You stated that the tubes are made in the United States. However, you have not indicated where the materials used to manufacture the tubes originate. If the tubes are composed of materials which originate entirely in Canada, the United States and Mexico, then the finished drainage tubes, being made entirely in Mexico using materials which themselves were originating, will satisfy the requirements of HTSUSA General Note 12(b)(iii).

If the tubes which are made in the United States are made from materials which originate in countries other than the United States, Canada and Mexico, then the finished articles may still be eligible for duty free treatment under NAFTA if the non-originating materials used to make the tubes have satisfied the changes in tariff classification required under the HTSUSA General Note 12(t)/40.14

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 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

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