United States v. Haggar Apparel Co., 526 U.S. 380, 6 (1999)

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Cite as: 526 U. S. 380 (1999)

Opinion of the Court

United States (HTSUS), 19 U. S. C. 1202; Item 807.00, Tariff Schedule of the United States (TSUS), 19 U. S. C. 1202 (1982 ed.). Respondent's case was made more difficult by a regulation, to be discussed further, that deems all perma-pressing operations to be an additional step in manufacture, not part of or incidental to the assembly process. See 19 CFR 10.16(c) (1998). The issue before us is the force and effect of the regulation in subsequent judicial proceedings.

After being denied the exemption it sought for the perma-pressed articles, respondent brought suit for refund in the Court of International Trade. The court declined to treat the regulation as controlling. 938 F. Supp. 868, 874-875 (1996). In making its determination, the court relied on a detailed analysis stemming from United States v. Mast Industries, Inc., 668 F. 2d 501 (CCPA 1981), a leading precedent on this duty exemption from the predecessor to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Mast Industries, in fact, involved garment fabrication and assembly, though the Court of International Trade drew also on cases involving other assembly operations. E. g., 938 F. Supp., at 872 (citing General Motors Corp. v. United States, 976 F. 2d 716 (CA Fed. 1992) (painting of sheet metal component parts used in motor vehicles)). The court ruled in favor of respondent. 938 F. Supp., at 875. On review, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit declined to analyze the regulation under Chevron, and affirmed. 127 F. 3d 1460, 1462 (1997). We granted certiorari, 524 U. S. 981 (1998), and we now vacate the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the case for further proceedings.

II

The statute on which respondent relies provides importers a partial exemption from duties otherwise imposed. The exemption extends to:

"Articles . . . assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components, the product of the United States,

385

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