CON-9-04-RR:IT:EC 226589 IOR

W.F. Whelan
W.F. Whelan Co.
International Terminal
Detroit Metropolitan Airport
P.O. Box 42422
Detroit, MI 48242

RE: Temporary Importation Under Bond (TIB); clock springs; frames; "Processing"; repackaging; foaming; Subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS; United States v. Border Brokerage Co.; John v. Carr & Son, Inc. v. United States; T.D. 78-77; C.S.D. 80-234

Dear Mr. Whelan:

This is in response to your ruling request dated October 19, 1995, on behalf of Petri Inc., regarding the applicability of the TIB procedure under subheading 9813.00.05.20, HTSUS, to imported steering wheel frames and clock springs.


Petri intends to import clock springs and steering wheel frames under a Temporary Importation Bond (TIB). The frames will be foamed subsequent to importation. The photographs you submitted show the imported frame to be a bare frame, and the foamed frame to have a foam covering the frame, molded to fit the form of the frame. According to the brochure excerpt which you submitted, the clock spring is a part of an automobile airbag unit. The clock spring and frame will then be put into a kit with miscellaneous domestic parts and shipped to Germany and Mexico for leather wrapping. Upon exportation the TIB will be canceled. You ask whether subheading 9813.00.05.20, HTSUS is applicable.


Whether the above-described operation qualifies the frame and clock spring for duty-free entry under TIB provision, subheading 9813.00.05.20, HTSUS.


Subheading 9813.00.05.20 HTSUS, is a statistical annotation of subheading 9813.00.05. Statistical annotation 9813.00.05.20, HTSUS, provides for the temporary importation of articles to be processed into articles manufactured or produced in the United States. Statistical annotations are not included in the legal text of the HTSUS. HTSUS, General Statistical Note 2; Tariff Act of 1930 as amended by section 1204(a) of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, Pub. L. No. 100-418, 102 Stat. 1107, 1148 (1988). Therefore, the statistical annotations have no legal status, and the provision under which you would enter the merchandise is subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS. Under subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS, articles to be repaired, altered or processed (including processes which result in articles manufactured or produced in the United States), may be entered temporarily free of duty, under bond, for exportation within one year from the date of importation. This period may be extended for one or more additional periods, which when added to the initial period does not exceed three years. U.S. Note 1(a) of Subchapter XIII, Chapter 98, HTSUS. In order to qualify under this provision, the merchandise imported may not be imported for the purpose of sale or sale on approval. Id.

With respect to the clock springs, they are just being repackaged with other items before being exported. We have consistently held that such operations are not considered to be repairs, alterations, or processing within the meaning of subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS, and its predecessors (e.g., ruling of November 26, 1976 (File: 207064), holding that the repacking of foreign language tape cassettes with foreign language books in special book boxes containing books and tapes did not meet the requirements of the predecessor of the subheading; see also Treasury Decision (T.D.) 78-77; Customs Service Decision (C.S.D.) 80-234 (the language "repaired, altered or processed" means "more than mere repacking of the imported merchandise itself and more than a change in the form or number of the imported containers"); United States v. Border Brokerage Co., 48 CCPA 10, C.A.D. 754 (1960), and John v. Carr & Son, Inc. v. United States, 69 Cust. Ct. 78, 347 F. Supp. 1390, C.D. 4377 (1972), aff'd. 61 CCPA 52, 496 F.2d 1225, C.A.D. 1118 (1974)).

With respect to the frames, we are of the opinion that the foaming they undergo is an alteration or processing under subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS. Over the years, Customs has liberally interpreted this provision to include processes which would not otherwise qualify as a manufacture or production for drawback under 19 U.S.C. 1313(a) or (b). For example, in a ruling of February 17, 1977 (File: 207358), we determined that aircraft engine and gear box bearings underwent an alteration or process under the predecessor of the subheading when, in a "clean room atmosphere" they were cleaned, dried, dipcoated in a preservative and vacuum sealed. In an information letter of September 25, 1986 (File: 218958), we determined that glass windows which were imported and coated so as to provide a screening for the deflection of laser light, and subsequently exported for final assembly into prismatic binoculars, were subject to a processing within the meaning of subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS.

For the frame operation, you must meet all of the accountability requirements under the U.S. Notes of Subchapter XIII, Chapter 98, HTSUS. In particular, subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS, U.S. Note 2(b) states that if any processing of such merchandise results in an article manufactured or produced in the United States: (I) a complete accounting will be made to the Customs Service for all articles, wastes and irrecoverable losses resulting from such processing; and (ii) all articles and valuable wastes resulting from such processing will be exported or destroyed under Customs supervision within the bonded period; except that in lieu of the exportation or destruction of valuable wastes, duties may be tendered on such wastes at rates of duties in effect for such wastes at the time of importation.

The applicable Customs regulations may be found at 19 CFR 10.31 through 10.40. Section 10.31(f) states that a bond shall be given on Customs Form 301 in an amount equal to double the duties which it is estimated would accrue (or such larger amount necessary to protect the revenue) had all the articles covered by the entry been entered under an ordinary consumption entry. The basis for the computation of the amount of a temporary importation bond is estimated duties determined in accordance with section 141.90 and 141.103 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 141.90 and 19 CFR 141.103). To this amount is added any other duties that the district director ascertains may become due on the articles so entered.


The repackaging of the clock springs is not a permissible operation under subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS. The foaming of the frame is a permissible operation under subheading 9813.00.05, HTSUS.


Director, International Trade
Compliance Division