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HQ 562571

February 20, 2002

MAR-2 RR:CR:SM 562571 KSG


TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.80

Sandra Tovar
120 C Commerce Circle
Fayetteville, GA 30214

RE: Subheading 9802.00.80

Dear Ms. Tovar:

This is in response to your letter of August 6, 2002, on behalf of Sara Lee Hosiery, requesting a binding ruling on the eligibility of three hosiery garments for a duty exemption provided in subheading 9802.00.80 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ("HTSUS"). You submitted samples for our examination.


This case involves three garments that are manufactured by Sara Lee Hosiery. The first garment (Style 0E060) is a women's panty made of fabric that is 69% nylon/31% spandex. The garment features a hemmed waistband, hemmed leg openings and a sewn-in crotch. The panty would be knit-to-shape in tube form in the U.S. or Brazil on a Santoni knitting machine from U.S. and Israeli yarns. In Brazil, the garment is then slit to prepare the garment for crotch placement and the crotch and inseam would be sewn. This garment would be classified in subheading 6108.22.9020, HTSUS.

The second garment (Style 0E058) is a mid-thigh shaper made of 56% nylon and 44% spandex. This garment is a boy-leg panty girdle featuring a hemmed waistband, two-inch wide hemmed leg openings and diamond shaped sewn-in gusset. You state that the garment is produced in the same manner as the panty style 0E060. This garment would be classified in subheading 6212.20.0020, HTSUS.

The third garment (Style 0F039) is a hip slip that extends from the waist to mid thigh. The fiber content is 64% nylon and 34% spandex. The garment features a hemmed waistband and a two-inch wide hemmed bottom. This garment will be knit-to-shape in tube form in Brazil on a Santoni knitting machine using U.S. and Israeli nylon filament yarns. We will assume for the purposes of this ruling that this garment is hemmed in Brazil, the country in which it is knit-to-shape. This garment would be classified in subheading 6108.11.0010, HTSUS.


Whether the three garments described above are eligible for a duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS.


Subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, provides a duty exemption for:
articles.. . assembled 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, HTSUS, 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 cost or 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 10.14(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR §10.14(a)), states in part that:

[t]he 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 operations 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. The garment components that are knit-to-shape in the U.S. would be eligible for a duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, provided that the other requirements of subheading 9802.00.80 are satisfied.

The issue raised is whether the cutting of the slit to facilitate the sewing of the crotch in El Salvador for styles OEO6O and OEO58 for components knit-to-shape in the United States would be considered an incidental operation pursuant to 19 CFR 10.16(a). If the operation is considered incidental, the articles would be eligible for classification in subheading 9802.0.8044, HTSUS.

A very similar issue was considered in a series of rulings and a court case involving pantyhose classified in subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS. In L'Eggs Products, Inc. v. United States, 704 F. Supp. 1127 (CIT 1989)(involving item 807.00, TSUS, a precursor to subheading 9802.00.80), the court held that pantyhose made from pantyhose tubes sent to Colombia for assembly were eligible for the duty allowance under item 807. The closing of the tubes at each end with thread to form the toe shape was considered an assembly operation. In HRL 559856, dated October 23, 1997, a case involving pantyhose entered in subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, Customs concluded that based on L'Eggs and HRL 555446, dated November 6, 1989, the slitting and sewing of the pantyhose tubes to form the crotch was considered an operation incidental to the assembly process.

We concur with the analysis set forth in HRL 559856 and find that in this case, the cutting of the two inch slit to facilitate crotch placement is not a cutting to shape of a garment part, but an adjustment in the shape or form of a component to the extent required by the assembly being performed and therefore is considered incidental to the assembly pursuant to 19 CFR 10.16(b)(5). The sewing of the crotch and inseam is an acceptable assembly operation under 19 CFR 10.16(a).

Any garment components that are knit-to-shape in Brazil would not be eligible for a duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, because the components must be products of the U.S. in order to qualify for subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS.


Based on the information provided, the panties (Style 0E060) and the mid-thigh shaper (Style 0E058) would be eligible for a duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, for the cost or value of the components if they are knit-to-shape in the U.S., assuming that the documentation requirements set forth in 19 CFR 10.24 are met. A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Myles B. Harmon, Acting Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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