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June 9, 1999

CLA-2-64:RR:NC:TP:347 E82472


TARIFF NO.: 6403.12.60, 9802.00.80

Mr. Robert C. Thompson
W.J. Byrnes & Co. of Los Angeles, Inc.
500 N. Nash Street
El Segundo, CA 90245

RE: The tariff classification of snowboard boots from Italy, Korea, China; American Goods Returned.

Dear Mr. Thompson:

In your letter dated May 17, 1999, written on behalf of your client, Vans, Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling.

You have submitted a sample of what you state is a stainless steel snowboard boot “bale,” which will be manufactured in the United States and will be exported abroad to Italy, Korea, or China for simple assembly or attachment by five screws to the bottom of the boots. You state that the bales will not be advanced in value or improved in condition except by simple attachment to the sole of the boots. The imported boot and binding are used for the sport of snowboarding. The bale allows the user to attach his or her boot to a snowboard with special snowboard bindings. The snowboard boot is made up of a textile upper with extensive leather overlays, with leather being the greatest external surface area of the upper (ESAU), and rubber/plastic outer soles.

Subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, provides a partial duty exemption for:

Articles assembles abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components, the product of the United States, which (a) were exported in condition ready for assembly without further fabrication, (b) have not lost their physical identity in such articles by change in form, shape or otherwise, and (c) 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, lubricating and painting.

All three requirements of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA, 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 the U.S. components assembled therein, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of section 10.24, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.24).

Section 10.16(a), Customs Regulations (19CFR 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.

Section 10.14(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.14(a)), states in part 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.

Operations incidental to the assembly process are not considered further fabrication operations, as they are of a minor nature and cannot always be provided for in advance of the assembly operations. However, any significant process, operation or treatment whose primary purpose is the fabrication, completion, physical or chemical improvement of a component precludes the application of the exemption under HTSUSA subheading 9802.00.80 to that component. See, 19 CFR 10.16(c).

The applicable subheading for the snowboard boots will be 6403.12.60, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather and uppers of leather, sports footwear other than welt footwear, ski-boots, cross-country ski footwear and snowboard boots. The general rate of duty will be free.

We conclude that the stainless steel bales which will be exported abroad for attachment to foreign made snowboard boots in Italy, Korea, or China, by screwing the bales to the boot bottoms, constitutes an acceptable assembly of two or more components pursuant to 19 CFR 10.16(a). Therefore, allowances in duty may be made under subheading 9802.00.80, HTS, for the cost or value of the U.S. bales, 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 Richard Foley at 212-637-7089.


Robert B. Swierupski

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