CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086128 JS
Mr. Lewis Stein
Johnson & Johnson
One Johnson & Johnson Plaza
New Brunswick, New Jersey
RE: Elastic Bandage
Dear Mr. Stein:
This is in reference to your letter of October 25, 1989, on
behalf of Johnson & Johnson, requesting classification of elastic
bandages imported from Mexico. Two packaged samples were
submitted for inspection.
The samples at issue are identical strips of 4" wide elastic
bandage constructed of woven cotton webbing, reinforced with
rubber, with non-ravelling edges and over-stitched ends which
prevent fraying. Two aluminum clips of U.S. origin are attached
at one end. The bandages are used for muscular and tendon
support, and are reportedly heat resistant. They will be
imported in 2", 3", 4" and 6" widths.
You state that the fabric is woven in the United States, and
will be shipped to Mexico in 400 to 600 unstretched yard lengths.
It will be cut into five yard lengths, rolled with the metal
clips in the center, labelled, and shrink wrapped for retail
1. Is the merchandise at issue classifiable as a bandage
under heading 3005, HTSUSA?
2. Whether the rubber elastic bandage is entitled to a
partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80,
HTSUSA, when returned to the United States?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in
accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's),
taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification shall be
determined according to the terms of the headings and any
relevant section or chapter notes.
Heading 3005, HTSUSA, provides for wadding, gauze, bandages
and similar articles. The Explanatory Notes, which constitute
the official interpretation of the tariff at the international
level, state that heading 3005 covers wadding and gauze for
dressings (usually of absorbent cotton) and bandages, etc., not
impregnated or coated with pharmaceutical substances,
...provided they are exclusively intended (e.g. because of labels
affixed or special folding) for sale directly without re-packing,
to users (private persons, hospitals, etc.) for use for medical,
surgical, dental or veterinary purposes. Since the bandages at
issue are similar to the above exemplars, and are rolled and
shrink wrapped with a label affixed for sale directly to users,
it is classified under this heading.
HTSUSA subheading 9802.00.80 provides a partial duty
[a]rticles 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
All three requirements of HTSUSA subheading 9802.00.80 must
be satisfied before a component may receive a duty allowance. An
article entered under this tariff provision is subject to a duty
upon the full value of the imported assembled article, less the
cost or value of the U.S. components assembled therein, provided
there has been compliance with the documentation requirements of
section 10.24, Customs Regulation (19 CFR 10.24).
Fabricated components subject to the exemption are provided
for at section 10.14(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.14(a)),
which provides, 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 Regulation (19 CFR 10.16(a),
provides that the assembly operation performed abroad may
consists 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.
In the instant case, the samples and description of the
foreign operations show that only the metal clips will qualify
for the duty exemption of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUSA. The
rubber elastic bandage and thread will not qualify for HTSUSA
subheading 9802.00.80 consideration because these components fail
to meet the requirement of clause (a) of the tariff provision,
as they are not exported in a condition ready for assembly
without further fabrication. Once the coiled bandage is cut to
length, overlocking stitches are sewn onto the cut ends of the
bandage to prevent the unraveling of the fabric. In our
opinion, sewing the overlocking stitches is not an acceptable
assembly operation or an operation incidental to assembly, but
is a further fabrication of the bandage.
In L'Eggs Products, Inc. v. United States, Slip Op. 89-5, 13
CIT , 704 F.Supp. 1127 (CIT 1989), the court considered
whether sewing together the end of a panty hose tube was an
assembly or a further fabrication under item 807.00, Tariff
Schedules of the United States (TSUS) (the precursor provision of
HTSUSA subheading 9802.00.80). The court determined that the
tubes were exported in condition ready for assembly without
further fabrication for the reason that the tubes, as exported,
"required no further fabrication since they were fully
constructed, and were secure from unraveling by the tuck
stitches." As noted above, such is not the case here. See
also, Zwicker Knitting Mills v. United States, Cust.Ct. 34, C.D.
4786, 469 F.Supp. 727 (1979), aff'd, 67 CCPA 37, C.A.D. 1240, 613
F.2d 295 (1980).
Moreover, the court in L'Eggs concluded that the tube
closing operation constituted an acceptable assembly as the
thread served as a joining agent by joining the tube to itself.
In the present case, the thread used in sewing the overlocking
stitches onto the ends of the bandage does not serve as a
binding agent, but is merely used to prevent the unraveling of
The operation of crimping the metal clips to the end of the
elastic bandage constitutes an acceptable assembly operation
pursuant to 19 CFR 10.16(a). See also, Headquarters Ruling
Letter 555205 dated August 25, 1989, which held that crimping a
terminal onto a wire was an acceptable assembly operation.
With regard to the country of origin marking of the
bandages, Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19
U.S.C. 1304), requires, subject to certain specified exceptions,
that all articles of foreign origin imported into the U.S. shall
be marked to indicate the country of origin to the ultimate
purchaser in the U.S. Although the country of origin of a
product is generally determined on the basis of where the last
substantial transformation occurs, there is an exception to the
general rule set forth in section 10.22, for articles which are
entitled to an exemption from duty under subheading 9802.00.80,
HTSUSA. Section 10.22 provides that assembled articles entitled
to the exemption are considered products of the country of
assembly for purposes of 19 U.S.C. 1304, whether or not the
assembly operation constitutes a substantial transformation.
Therefore, since the bandages are eligible for entry under
subheading 9802.00.80, 19 CFR 10.22 applies.
In addition, it should be noted that Customs has previously
determined that the words "Assembled in" constitute sufficient
country of origin marking for articles subject to section 10.22,
Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.22). See HQ 731507, issued
October 17, 1989. Thus, the country of origin marking should
state that the bandages are "Assembled in Mexico" in part from
material of U.S. origin.
The merchandise at issue is classified under subheading
3005.90.5000, HTSUSA, which provides for wadding, gauze, bandages
and similar articles (for example, dressings, adhesive plasters,
poultices), impregnated or coated with pharmaceutical substances
or put up in forms or packings for retail sale for medical,
surgical, dental or veterinary purposes: other: other, dutiable
at the rate of 7 percent ad valorem.
On the basis of the information and the samples submitted,
we conclude for the reasons stated above that no deduction from
the full value of the imported rubber elastic bandage may be
made under HTSUSA subheading 9802.00.80 for the cost or value of
the bandage and thread. However, allowances may be made under
this tariff provision for the cost or value of the metal clips,
provided there is compliance with the documentary requirement of
19 CFR 10.24.
The designated textile and apparel category may be
subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota requirements
applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since
part categories are the result of international bilateral
agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and
changes, to obtain the most current information available, we
suggest you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status
Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance
of the U.S. Customs Service which is updated weekly and is
available for inspection at your local Customs office.
Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation
(the ninth and tenth digits of the classification and the
restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local
Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to
determine the current status of any import restraints or
John Durant, Director
Commercial Operations Division