United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1999 NY Rulings > NY E84189 - NY E84249 > NY E84233

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

September 13, 1999

CLA-2-98:RR:NC:TA:352 E84233


TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.90; 6307.90.9989

Ms. Patti Kniest
700 Rosedale
St. Louis, MO 63112

RE: The applicability of subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, to the assembly of a half apron formed in Mexico from woven fabric components cut in the United States from fabric woven in the United States.

Dear Ms. Kniest:

In your letter dated August 2, 1999 you requested a ruling on whether certain half aprons produced in Mexico from United States cut and woven components are eligible for duty-free treatment under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS.

The submitted sample is a half apron measuring 22” wide and 11.75” wide. It is manufactured from twill woven fabric with a fiber content of 65% polyester and 35% cotton. Three open pockets span the front of the apron. These pockets have been formed by folding up one edge of the apron and sewing the vertical edges as well as tacking the fold to the back of the panel at two equally spaced locations. The apron features a waist tie made from a strip of twill woven fabric which has been sewn onto the top of the apron. This product does not cover a substantial portion of the torso and function primarily as storage for a variety of small items used in the context of waiting on tables.

Your correspondence indicates that all of the fabric used in the manufacture of this item is produced in the United States. You state that the main body of the apron will be cut to size (a 23” X19” rectangle) in your plant in Savannah, Tennessee. In addition, the tie will be cut to size. These cut components will be then exported to Mexico where they will be assembled into the finished aprons. The main apron body will be hemmed on three sides and then the hemmed bottom is folded up 7.5 inches and stitched along the edges creating a pocket. This pocket is then divided in three by sewing a vertical stitch 7.5 inches from each edge. The waist tie is folded in half over the unhemmed edge of the apron body capping the edge after being sewn in place. The waist tie extends beyond the main body of the apron and the folded tie is sewn together and hemmed at the ends. Your letter indicates that the thread used for sewing in Mexico will be either of Mexican origin or produced in a third country.

The applicable subheading for the half apron will be 6307.90.9989, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other made up articles, including dress patterns, other, other, other, other, other. The rate of duty will be 7 percent ad valorem.

I. Applicability of subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS

Appendix 2.4 of Annex 300-B of the NAFTA, provides that:

[o]n January 1, 1994, the U.S. shall eliminate customs duties on textile and apparel goods that are assembled in Mexico from fabrics wholly formed and cut in the United States and exported from and reimported into the United States under:

(a) U.S. tariff item 9802.00.80.10; or

(b) Chapter 61, 62, or 63 if, after such assembly, those goods that would have qualified for treatment under 9802.00.80.10 have been subject to bleaching, garment dyeing, stone-washing, acid-washing or perma-pressing.

Thereafter, the U.S. shall not adopt or maintain any customs duty on textile and apparel goods of Mexico that satisfy the requirements of subparagraph (a) or (b) or the requirements of any successor provision to U.S. tariff item 9802.00.80.10.

Consequently, subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, was created to provide for the duty-free entry of:

Textile and apparel goods, assembled in Mexico in which all fabric components were wholly formed and cut in the United States, provided that such fabric components, in whole or in part, (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; provided that goods classifiable in chapters 61, 62, or 63 may have been subject to bleaching, garment dyeing, stone-washing, acid- washing or perma-pressing after assembly as provided for herein.

The initial question is whether the half apron is considered a “textile and apparel good” under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS. In the instant case, the half apron is classified in Chapter 63. Thus, the subject half apron qualifies as a “textile and apparel good.”

Since subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, was intended as a successor provision to subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, with respect to certain textile and apparel goods assembled in Mexico, the regulations under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, may be instructive in determining whether a good is eligible for the beneficial duty treatment accorded by subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS. (In this regard, however, as distinguished from subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, it is noted that the new statute requires only that all fabric components be formed and cut in the U.S., and that only such components need be exported from the U.S. in condition ready for assembly without further fabrication.)

Under section 10.14(a), Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. §10.14(a)), components will not lose their entitlement to the benefits of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, by being subjected to operations incidental to the assembly before, during, or after the assembly with other components. Pursuant to section 10.16(a), the assembly operations performed abroad may consist of any method used to join or fit solid components, such as welding, soldering, riveting, force fitting, gluing, laminating, sewing, or the use of fasteners, and may be preceded, accompanied, or followed by operations incidental to the assembly process. Examples of operations incidental to the assembly process include trimming, filing, or cutting off of small amounts of excess materials, and cutting to length of wire, thread, tape, foil and similar products exported in continuous length. (19 C.F.R. §10.16(b)(4) and (b)(6)).

In this case, the sewing operation used to join the fabric components to make the half apron including the sewing of the component to itself in the process of forming the pocket are an acceptable assembly operation. Note L’eggs Products, Inc. v. United States, 704 F. Sup 1127 (CIT 1989) which ruled that the joining of a component to itself using thread was an assembly operation since the fabric and thread were two components that constitute an assembly when joined.

In view of the fact that the enactment of subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, specifically was intended to extend duty-free and quota-free status to all goods assembled in Mexico which previously were eligible for entry under the Special Regime Program administered under U.S. tariff item 9802.00.8010, HTSUS, it is Customs view that all of the policy directives implementing this program should be considered applicable in the administration of subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS. One such policy under the Special Regime Program included the allowance of “findings, trimmings, and certain elastic strips of foreign origin” to be incorporated into the assembled good “provided they do not exceed 25 percent of the cost of the components of the assembled product.” Examples of findings and trimmings are sewing thread, hooks and eyes, snaps, buttons, "bow buds", lace trim, zippers, including zipper tapes, and labels. See 53 Fed. Reg. 15726 (May 3, 1988). If the foreign sewing thread represents less than 25 percent of the cost of the components, then it will not disqualify the half apron from eligibility for subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS.

Consequently, since the contemplated assembly of the half apron is considered an acceptable assembly operations or operations incidental to such assembly, the half aprons will qualify for duty-free treatment under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS.

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 212-637-7092.


Robert B. Swierupski

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: