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NY L89972

February 17, 2006

CLA-2-61:RR:NC:TA:N3:356 L89972


TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.50

Mr. Larry Ordet
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.
The Waterford
5200 Blue Lagoon Drive
Miami, FL 33126-2022

RE: The tariff classification and eligibility for partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUS, for certain woven garments.

Dear Mr. Ordet:

In your letter dated January 18, 2006, you requested a ruling on behalf of Twin Dragon Marketing, Inc., concerning the eligibility for partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUS, for certain woven garments that will imported into the United States.

You state that woven jeans will be imported into the United States or will be manufactured in the United States using fabrics that do not originate under the NAFTA. The jeans, which are finished, saleable garments acceptable for retail sale, are exported to Mexico to undergo various operations that are designed to weather and wear the fabric to give the jeans the appearance of an older, worn garment. After the operations are performed in Mexico, the jeans will be returned to the United States.

The operations performed on the jeans include:

Sand blasting in which the garment is blasted with a sand compound to abrade and deplete the color on the face of the cloth

Hand sanding in which the garment is placed on a form and sanded with sand paper to deplete the color on the face of the cloth. Unlike sand blasting, this method shows the grain of the weave.

Whiskering which involves hand sanding or grinding lines across the midriff of the pants to create an older appearance.

Center creasing which is the creation of a hand sanded or abraded line that falls in both the center front and center back of the pants.

Potassium / sodium bleaching in which a bleaching spray chemical is applied after either the sand blasting or hand sanding process to lighten the color during the washing process.

Laundry which uses various chemicals during a washing process to obtain a specific target or color range.

Garment dyeing and tinting in which a color additive is added during the laundry process to change the background color of the jeans material.

Tattering which is a process that abrades the product into an older appearance using grinding tools.

Destruction which is the same as tattering, except that holes are created in the garment.

Crinkling in which, after washing, the garment is sprayed with a resin compound and dried. Wrinkles are then temporarily heat set with a hand iron and the garments are baked in an oven so that they are permanently set.

Repair and replacement of buttons, rivets and labels that may be loosened or lost while undergoing the above operations.

Subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUS, provides a partial or complete duty exemption for articles exported from and returned to the United States after having been advanced in value or improved in condition by repairs or alterations, provided that the documentary requirements of Section 181.64, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. § 181.64), are satisfied. Section 181.64, C.R., which implements Article 307 of NAFTA, provides that goods returned after having been repaired or altered in Mexico may qualify for complete or partial duty free treatment, provided that the requirements of this section are met. 19 C.F.R. § 181.64 (a) states that “repairs or alterations” means restoration, addition, renovation, redyeing, cleaning, resterilizing, or other treatment which does not destroy the essential characteristics of, or create a new and commercially different good from, the good exported from the United States. However, entitlement to this tariff treatment is precluded in circumstances where the operations performed abroad destroy the identity of the exported articles or create new or commercially different articles through a process of manufacture. Subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUS, treatment is also precluded where the exported articles are incomplete for their intended use and the foreign processing operation is a necessary step in the preparation or manufacture of finished articles.

In this instance, the garments are complete for their intended use prior to being exported to Mexico to undergo the stated operations. As exported from the United States, the garments are finished products in that they are suitable for use as wearing apparel. Although the operations performed in Mexico alter the appearance of the garments, such operations do not otherwise enhance the character of the garments. They are shipped to Mexico solely to modify their color and/or texture before being returned to the United States. The merchandise in its condition as exported from the United States and as returned from Mexico can be marketed and sold to consumers for the same use. The operations performed in Mexico do not result in the loss of the good’s identity nor create a new article with a different commercial use. Therefore, the operations performed in Mexico constitute acceptable repairs and alterations within the meaning of subheading 9802.00.50, HTSUS. The garments will qualify for the special tariff treatment of that provision, provided that the documentary requirements of 19 C.F.R. § 181.64 are met.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177). A copy of this ruling letter 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 this ruling, contact National Import Specialist Mary Ryan at 646-733-3271.


Robert B. Swierupski, Director
National Commodity Specialist Division

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