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NY N004031

December 22, 2006



TARIFF NO.: 8421.31.0000

Mr. Harold Averill
Corrigan Dispatch Company
Box 3610
1350 Cheers Boulevard
Brownsville, Texas 78523-3610

RE: The tariff classification and status under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), of an Air Particle Filter shipped from Mexico; Article 509

Dear Mr. Averill:

In your letter dated November 17, 2006 you requested a ruling on the classification and status of an Air Particle Filter shipped from Mexico under NAFTA. The sample you submitted will be returned to you as requested.

The merchandise under consideration is an assembled Particle Filter Screen made up of three components. The components include a metal filter made of wire mesh, a rubber gasket, and a plastic support that are all cut and designed for an easy assembly. The country of origin of the gasket and the plastic support is the United States (US). The wire mesh has a United Kingdom origin. These items are shipped from the United States to Mexico for a simple assembly. In Mexico, the operator first inserts the wire mesh into the gasket, then snaps it into the support. The assembled Air Particle Filter is packaged for shipment to the US.

Articles are classified under the HTSUS in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). Under GRI 1, articles are to be classified first according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided the headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the remaining GRIs taken in order. Under GRI 2(b), goods consisting of more than one material are to be classified according to GRI 3. GRI 3(b) provides that composite goods consisting of different materials should be classified as if they consisted of the material that gives them their essential character. The wire mesh portion of the assembled item accomplishes the filtering of the air. Therefore, it is determined that the essential character of the three components is the metal filter.

In your letter, you propose that the assembled imported item be classified under subheading 8421.39.8015, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for Other filtering or purifying machinery and apparatus for gases. However, the assembled imported item is designed for an intake valve on starter motors used on gasoline engines in the automotive industry. Therefore, the item is more specifically provided for under subheading 8421.31.

The applicable tariff provision for the Air Particle Filter will be 8421.31.0000, HTSUS, which provides for: Filtering or purifying machinery and apparatus for gases: Intake air filters for internal combustion engines. The general rate of duty will be 2.5 percent.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

You have also asked if the merchandise qualifies for duty-free treatment under NAFTA. The list of materials shows that the item providing the essential character of this assembly, the non-originating filter itself, is imported from the United Kingdom into the United States and is classifiable at that time in subheading 8421.31, HTSUS. In order for this non-originating filter to qualify, it must meet the standard of General Note (GN), 12(b). In particular, GN 12(t)/Chapter 84, which states at (53):

A change to subheadings 8421.19 through 8421.39 from any other heading; or A change to subheadings 8421.19 through 8421.39 from subheadings 8421.39 through 8421.99 whether or not there is also a change from any other heading, provided there is a regional value content of not less than: 60 percent where the transaction value method is used, or 50 percent where the net cost method is used.

The merchandise does not qualify for preferential treatment under the NAFTA because: (1) the good will not be wholly obtained or produced entirely in the territory of a NAFTA country; (2) it will not be made exclusively from originating materials; and (3) one or more of the non-originating materials used in the production of the goods will not undergo the change in tariff classification required by General Note 12(t)/Chapter 84, Note 53, HTSUS. The good will not meet any of the exceptions to the tariff classification change rules provided in General Note 12(b), HTSUS.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 181 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 181).

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 Denise Faingar at 646-733-3010.

Should you wish to request an administrative review of this ruling, submit a copy of this ruling and all relevant facts and arguments within 30 days of the date of this letter, to the Director, Commercial Rulings Division, Headquarters, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., (Mint Annex), Washington, D.C. 20229.


Robert B. Swierupski

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