CLA-2 CO:R:C:V 554885 GRV
Mark S. Zolno, Esq.
Katten Muchin & Zavis
525 West Monroe Street, Suite 1600
Chicago, Illinois 60606-3693
RE: Applicability of partial duty exemption under HTSUS subhead-
ing 9802.00.80 to plastic connectors and blood cuff set sub-
assemblies imported from Costa Rica
Dear Mr. Zolno:
This is in response to a letter of January 7, 1988, from
your former law firm, Burditt, Bowles, Radzius & Ruberry, Ltd.,
on behalf of Baxter Healthcare Corp., requesting a ruling on the
applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff
Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) (formerly item 807.00,
Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS)), to plastic
connectors and blood cuff set subassemblies imported from Costa
Rica. Samples of each product were submitted for examination.
You also request a ruling on the proper tariff classification of
the connectors and blood cuff sets. You advise that your new
firm, Katten Muchin & Zavis, has replaced the above firm as
counsel for the importer in connection with this ruling request.
We regret the delay in responding to your request.
You state that U.S. fabricated components, consisting of
various molded plastic and rubber parts and vinyl tubing, will be
exported to Costa Rica for assembly into plastic connectors and
blood cuff set subassemblies. The plastic connector subassem-
blies will be of two types, denominated 5-1 and duotherm pad
connectors. To form the 5-1 connectors, several molded plastic
parts will be sonic welded together into various configurations.
To form the duotherm pad connectors, several molded plastic parts
are joined together with holding fixtures. The connectors are
then mechanically tested and visually inspected to ensure proper
assembly and to detect leakage at the joints. The blood cuff
assembly operation entails solvent sealing injection sites, caps
and chambers to seven vinyl tubings of different lengths and
diameters and attaching flow control devices, consisting of
roller clamps, to the tubing. The blood cuff set is then
similarly mechanically tested and visually inspected to ensure
You submit that both items are properly classifiable for
duty purposes in TSUS item 709.27.
Whether the operations performed abroad constitute accept-
able "assembly" operations, thereby entitling the plastic
connectors and blood cuff sets to the partial duty exemption
under HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80 when returned to the U.S.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80 provides a partial duty exemp-
[a]rticles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fab-
ricated 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
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, pro-
vided there has been compliance with the documentation require-
ments of section 10.24, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.24).
"Assembly," for purposes of HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80,
means the fitting or joining together of fabricated components.
Acceptable assembly operations are interpreted at section
10.16(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.16(a)), which
specifically enumerates welding, gluing and the use of fasteners
as acceptable means of assembly. Further, assembly operations
may be preceded, accompanied, or followed by operations of a
minor nature which are incidental to the assembly process. See,
19 CFR 10.16(b).
In this case, the exported components are joined together by
means of sonic welding, the use of holding fixtures, and solvent
sealing. As these methods are clearly analogous to assembly
operations enumerated in 19 CFR 10.16(a), the sonic welding, use
of holding fixtures, and solvent sealing operations are deemed to
constitute acceptable methods of assembly for purposes of HTSUS
Regarding the testing of the products by mechanical means,
certain incidental operations cannot always be provided for in
advance. If the testing of the U.S. components is of a minor
nature incidental to the assembly process, it is permitted even
though it may result in the U.S. components being advanced in
value or improved in condition. H.R. Rep. No. 342, 89th
Congress, 1st Sess. 49 (1965). The mechanical testing of the
assembled articles in this case appears to be of a minor nature
incidental to assembly process and is permitted.
In Headquarters Ruling Letter 036704 (May 30, 1975), PVC
flexible tubing, rubber connectors, metal cannulas, rubber needle
hubs and flashball assembly components of U.S. origin were assem-
bled abroad into intravenous administration sets and fenwall
blood bags. We stated that if the component parts were exported
in condition ready for assembly without further fabrication,
allowances could be made under TSUS item 807.00 for the exported
components. On examination of the submitted samples in the
instant case, it appears that the U.S. components are exported in
a condition ready for assembly without need of further fabrica-
tion. Further, the assembly operations do not cause the compo-
nents to lose their physical identity or advance their value or
improve their condition, except by being assembled and testing
operations incidental to the assembly process.
The returned articles are classifiable in HTSUS subheading
9018.90.7080, which provides for instruments and appliances used
in medical, surgical, dental or veterinary sciences, other
instruments and appliances and parts and accessories thereof,
other, electro-medical instruments and appliances and parts and
accessories thereof, other, other. This provision provides for a
duty rate of 4.2%.
On the basis of the information and samples submitted, as
all the conditions of HTSUS subheading 9802.00.80 are satisfied,
the imported connectors and blood cuff sets are eligible for the
partial duty exemption available under this tariff provision when
returned to the U.S., provided the documentary requirements of 19
CFR 10.24 are met.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division