CLA-2 CO:R:C:V 555045 DBI
Mr. Adolfo Loera
6044 Gateway East
El Paso, Texas 79905
RE: Eligibility of certain cable television equipment for duty-
free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences
Dear Mr. Loera:
This is in response to your letter of October 23, 1987, on
behalf of Texscan Corporation, requesting a ruling that certain
cable television equipment assembled in Mexico is eligible for
duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences
(GSP). You also request advise concering the classification of
the merchandise. We regret the delay in responding to your
You advise that your client wishes to obtain duty-free
treatment under the GSP for certain cable television distribution
equipment which is currently being assembled in Mexico. The
products consist of two main lines of cable television
electronics equipment with 400 to 500 slight variations.
You state that the description of the "trunk station" is
representative of the other assemblies, including the bridge
amplifier module, diplex filter module, distribution passive
device, multipoint distribution passive device, automatic level
and slope module, trunk amplifier module, reverse amplifier
module and multichannel multipoint distribution device. The
first step is the production of the base and cover. These
components are subject to the following steps:
(1) Drill and tap holes and mill seal all surfaces.
(2) Deburl, wash, vacuum impregnate and apply conversion
(3) Test for water leakages under controlled air pressure.
The assembly of the input and output modules consist of the
(1) Cut enamel wires to specified lengths. Wind manually
and automatically the chokes and tin leads. Inspect visually.
(2) Preform leads of discrete components manually or
automatically. Preform and cut wires. Install eyelets in PCB's.
(3) Assemble components of steps 1, 2, and 3 in the PCB's.
(4) The assembled PCB's are wave soldered, cleaned and all
leads at the bottom are cut.
(5) Certain wires and components are soldered to the PCB's
(6) Some hardware and connectors are installed.
(7) All PCB's are installed in the relative chassis and
more hardware is installed.
(8) Unit is visually inspected.
(9) Align and test for flatness response, return less and
insertion loss per Test and Alignment Procedures.
(10) Unit is checked by quality control.
(11) Set aside for final assembly.
The production of the power supply consists of the
(1) Cut enamel wires to specified length.
(2) Wind manually and automatically the wires around
toroids. Tin leads. Cut leads. Inspect visually.
(3) Preform leads of discrete components manually and
automatically. Preform and cut wire harness as specified.
Install eyelets in PCB. Inspect visually.
(4) Assemble two cables with sockets and ties.
(5) Silkscreen plastic cover.
(6) Machine base plate.
(7) Assemble resistors, capacitors, transformers, diodes,
I.C. Inspect visually.
(8) Wave solder the assembled PCB. Clean. Cut all leads
at the bottom of the PCB.
(9) Some components, wires and hardware are assembled as
(10) Mount the assembled PCB on the Base Plate. Inspect
(11) Test for continuity, output voltage range, ripple,
line and load regulation, input and output overvoltage
protection, voltages at test point and overcurrent protection.
(12) Secure plastic cover with proper hardware.
(13) Unit is checked and tested by quality control.
(14) Set aside unit for final assembly.
The final assembly consists of the following steps:
(1) Install the input module, output module and the power
supply in the housing with the proper hardware.
(2) Pack unit with the specified corrugation.
(3) Unit is checked by quality assurance.
You claim that the assembly process of the printed circuit
boards, the number of steps required, the careful attention to
detail and quality control, and the large number of discrete
components assembled by specially trained personnel is sufficient
to constitute substantial transformation of the component parts
into a PCB, which is a new and different article of commerce.
You contend that the assembly of the PCB with the remaining
components of the articles constitutes a second substantial
Whether the operations performed on the component parts of
the cable television equipment result in a double substantial
transformation, thereby enabling the cost or value of the
constituent material to be counted toward the 35 percent value-
content requirement for purposes of the GSP.
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Under the GSP, eligible products of a designated
beneficiary developing country (BDC) which are imported directly
into the U.S. qualify for duty-free treatment if the sum of the
cost or value of the constituent materials produced in the BDC
plus the direct costs involved in processing the eligible article
in the BDC is at least 35 percent of the article's appraised
value at the time of its entry into the U.S. See 19 U.S.C. 2463.
The cost or value of materials which are imported into the
BDC to be used in the production of the article, as here, may be
included in the 35 percent value-content computation only if the
imported materials undergo a double substantial transformation in
the BDC. That is, the non-Mexican components must be
substantially transformed in Mexico into a new and different
intermediate article of commerce, which is then used in Mexico in
the production of the final imported article, the cable
television equipment. See 19 CFR 10.177(a).
The test for determining whether a substantial
transformation has occurred is whether an article emerges from a
process with a new name, character or use, different from that
possessed by the article prior to processing. See Texas
Instruments Inc. v. United States, 69 CCPA 152, 681 F.2d 778
We have previously held that the assembly of a printed
circuit board from several component parts produced a
substantially transformed constituent material of a rechargeable
flashlight, with a new name and function different from its
component parts. Therefore, the cost or value of the printed
circuit boards assembled in Mexico was able to be included
towards the 35 percent value-content requirement of the GSP as
consituent material costs. We further held that the
incorporation of the printed circuit board into the flashlight
constitutes a second substantial transformation, resulting in a
product with a distinct name, use and character. See also ruling
554850, September 10, 1988).
In the present case, we find that the manufacture of the
PCB constitutes a substantial transformation. The separate
component parts imported into Mexico acquire new attributes, and
the PCB's differ in character and use from the component parts
from which it is composed. The production of the PCB's involve
cutting, shaping, winding, tinning, soldering and quality control
testing, which increase the components' value and endow them with
new qualities which transform them into an article with a
distinct new commercial identity.
We also find that the assembly of the PCB's with the base,
cover, and power supply, creating the final product, results in a
second substantial transformation. The assembly of the
constituent materials (the PCB's) changes their character and
results in a finished product which is recognized as a new and
different article of commerce with a distinct name, character and
Additionally, the assembly process involves a large number
of components and a significant number of different operations,
requires a relatively significant period of time as well as
skill, attention to detail, and quality control, and results in a
significant economic benefit to the BDC from the standpoint of
both the value added to each component part and the overall
employment generated by the operations. C.S.D. 85-25, 19 Cust.
Bull. 544 (1984).
Finally, these operations are not the type of "pass-
through" operations which Congress intended to prohibit from
receiving GSP benefits. "Keeping in mind the GSP's fundamental
purpose of fostering industrialization in beneficiary developing
countries," we believe that the operations performed in this
instance are the type of substantial operations contemplated by
the GSP statute. See Torrington v. United States, 764 F.2d at
Information concerning the proper tariff classification of
the products will be provided in a separate letter.
On the basis of the information submitted, it is our
opinion that the cost or value of the constituent materials
(PCB's) used in the assembly of the cable television equipment
may be included for purposes of satisfying the GSP 35 percent