CLA-2 CO:R:C:S 556974

Mr. Phillip Freeman
Cain Customs Brokers
Progresso, Texas 78579

RE: Applicability of partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, to telescoping pole assemblies

Dear Mr. Cain:

This is in further reference to your letter dated October 9, 1992, on behalf of Am-Mex Products, Inc., requesting a ruling concerning the eligibility of telescoping pole assemblies to be imported from Mexico for the partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States (HTSUS). A sample of the imported article has been submitted.


The imported product is a telescoping pole used to hold a camouflage fabric cover which, with a seat, makes a portable hunting blind. The poles are made from aluminum tubing which is cut to length, threaded, and painted in the U.S. The tubes are connected by a series of plastic nuts, washers and guides.

According to the assembly description, the fitting of the tubes and end caps consists of mechanical operations which include insertion of the narrower tubes into the wider tubes, placing the washers, nuts and guides over the appropriately-sized tubes, and tightening. The end caps are firmly affixed to the appropriate tubes by tapping with a hammer. The spring clip assembly, consisting of a spring, a plastic pin, a molded plastic body, and a retaining clip, is also assembled and held together with the clip. The assembly is then tested for rigidity and adjusted according to necessity. All component parts of the poles are manufactured in the U.S.

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Whether the telescoping pole assembly will qualify for the partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, when returned to the U.S.


Subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, provides a partial duty exemption for:

(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 painting.

All three requirements of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, must be satisfied before a component may receive a duty allowance. An article entered under this tariff provision is subject to duty upon the full cost or value of the imported assembled article, less the cost or value of the U.S. components assembled therein, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of section 10.24, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.24).

Section 10.16(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.16(a)), provides that the assembly operation performed abroad may consist 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.

Operations incidental to the assembly process are not considered further fabrication operations, as they are of a minor nature and cannot always be provided for in advance of the assembly operations. However, any significant process, operation or treatment whose primary purpose is the fabrication, completion, physical or chemical improvement of a component precludes the application of the exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, to that component. See, 19 CFR 10. 16(c).

The various operations to be performed in Mexico to create the telescoping pole assembly, which involve securely joining components together by force fitting and screwing are considered acceptable assembly operations pursuant to 19 CFR 10.16(a). (See also, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 556293, dated January 28,

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1992 (assembly of pressure switches); and HRL 556367, dated April 15, 1992 (assembly of celluar telephone antenna). In addition, testing and adjusting the pole assembly for rigidity is considered to be an operation incidental to assembly pursuant to 19 CFR 10.16(b)(7).


On the basis of the information provided, it is our opinion that the operations to be performed in Mexico to create the pole assembly are proper assembly operations or operations incidental to assembly pursuant to subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS. Therefore, allowances in duty may be made under this tariff provision for the cost or value of the U.S origin components upon compliance with the documentary requirements of 19 CFR 10.24.


John Durant, Director
Comercial Rulings Division