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June 14, 1999

CLA-2-64:RR:NC:TP:347 E82900


TARIFF NO.: 6401.10.00

Mr. Paul M. Lichstein
Beijing Trade Exchange, Inc.
701 E Street, SE.
Washington, D.C. 20003

RE: The tariff classification of a waterproof boot from China.

Dear Mr. Lichstein:

In your letter dated May 31, 1999, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

You have submitted a sample of a boot which you state is made from a combination of rubber and plastic, with a cotton liner and steel toe. You state that the steel toe will be manufactured in the U.S.A. and sent to the supplier in China for incorporation into the boot. You also state that the Chinese supplier will issue an invoice for the cost of manufacturing the boot exclusive of the costs for the steel toe which is being provided to them by Beijing Trade Exchange, Inc.

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 boot will be 6401.10.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for waterproof footwear with outer soles and uppers of rubber or plastics, the uppers of which are neither fixed to the sole nor assembled by stitching, riveting, nailing, screwing, plugging or similar processes, footwear incorporating a protective metal toe-cap. The general rate of duty will be 37.5% ad valorem.

We conclude that the steel toes which will be exported abroad for attachment to foreign made boots in China constitute 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. steel toe-caps, 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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