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NY L81826

January 24, 2005

CLA-2-85:RR:NC:N1:113 L81826


TARIFF NO.: 8509.80.0045

Mr. Norman Lubeck
The Gillette Company
Prudential Tower Building
Boston, MA 02119

RE: The tariff classification of electric toothbrushes from Mexico And China.

Dear Mr. Lubeck:

In your letter dated December 14, 2004, you requested a ruling on tariff classification.

The merchandise is CrossAction Power and PowerMax battery-powered, electric toothbrushes. The toothbrushes are subject to a voluntary product removal. A faulty mechanism causes the toothbrush head to disengage. The brushes will be exported to Mexico for repairs to correct the defect. In this case, the brush head will be removed and replaced with a replacement brush head.

The applicable subheading for this product will be 8509.80.0045, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for electromechanical domestic appliances, with self-contained electric motor, other appliances, electric toothbrushes. The general rate of duty will be 4.2 percent ad valorem.

Your inquiry asked about the applicability of HTSUS subheading 9802.00.5060 to the re-imported electric toothbrushes. You state in your letter that the processing includes removing the brushes from their packaging, removing the protective cap and brush head from the handle, assembling the replacement brush head and protective cap, and repackaging the goods. Under HTSUS subheading 9802.00.5060 articles exported from and returned to the U.S., after having been advanced in value or improved in condition by repairs or alterations outside the U.S., may qualify for a duty exemption, provided the foreign operation does not destroy the identity of the exported articles or create new or commercially different articles through a process of manufacture.

In HQ 555819 of October 11, 1991, Headquarters noted:

Repairs are operations aimed at restoring articles to their original condition, but cannot be so extensive as to destroy the identity of the exported article or create a new or different article. Press Wireless, Inc. v. United States, 6 Cust. Ct. 102, C.D. 438 (1941). In HQ 554539 dated August 25, 1987, we stated that:

[s]o long as the identity of [the exported unit] is maintained throughout the disassembly and repair process, and there is a genuine repair of parts carried out during the foreign process, these units may be entered under the repairs provision of item 806.20, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS) [the predecessor tariff provision to subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUS].

The replacement and/or addition of parts to restore products to their original condition may constitute repair operations for purposes of subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUS, if the particular article does not lose its identity and the replacements and/or additions are not so extensive as to create a new or different article.

It is our opinion that the processes in Mexico are repairs and/or alterations within the meaning of subheading 9802.00.5060, HTSUS. Provided the documentary requirements of Section 181.64, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. ยง181.64) are satisfied, electric toothbrushes will qualify for a duty exemption under HTSUS subheading 9802.00.5060 when returned to the U.S.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R.).

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 James Smyth at 646-733-3018.


Robert B. Swierupski

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