United States v. Haggar Apparel Co., 526 U.S. 380, 7 (1999)

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Opinion of the Court

which . . . (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." Subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, 19 U. S. C. 1202.

(The HTSUS became law on January 1, 1989, replacing the provisions of the former TSUS. See 19 U. S. C. 3004. Item 807.00 of the TSUS, the previous statute which governs some of the shipments at issue in this case, is identical to HTSUS Subheading 9802.00.80.)

The relevant regulation interpreting the statute with respect to permapressed articles provides as follows:

"Any significant process, operation, or treatment other than assembly whose primary purpose is the fabrication, completion, physical or chemical improvement of a component, or which is not related to the assembly process, whether or not it effects a substantial transformation of the article, shall not be regarded as incidental to the assembly and shall preclude the application of the exemption to such article. The following are examples of operations not considered incidental to the assembly . . . :

. . . . . "(4) Chemical treatment of components or assembled articles to impart new characteristics, such as shower-proofing, permapressing, sanforizing, dying or bleaching of textiles." 19 CFR 10.16(c) (1998).

The regulation was adopted in 1975 by the Commissioner of Customs upon approval by the Treasury Department, after notice-and-comment rulemaking. See 39 Fed. Reg. 24651 (1974) (proposed regulation); 40 Fed. Reg. 43021 (1975) (final regulation).

In contending that the regulation is not within the general purview of the Chevron framework, respondent advances two sets of arguments. First, citing the terms of the regula-

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