United States v. Haggar Apparel Co., 526 U.S. 380, 16 (1999)

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

Opinion of Stevens, J.

here. For instance, the Customs Service granted the exemption for trousers made from a pure synthetic fabric, which were apparently pressed in the Mexico facility. App. 33, 37; Brief for Respondent 47. Yet it denied the exemption when ovenbaking was used for 12 to 15 minutes after some pressing, notwithstanding the fact that the permapress characteristics could have been achieved on the trousers involved here by pressing them for an additional period of time in lieu of ovenbaking. Tr. 79-87. Moreover, though the regulation refers to the "[c]hemical treatment of components, . . . such as . . . permapressing," 19 CFR 10.16(c)(4) (1998), it is undisputed that the chemical resin was applied to the trousers in the United States. App. 37.

It will be open to respondent on remand to argue that the baking of the garments in quantity is, from the standpoint of the statute or the regulation itself, no less incidental to the assembly process which the statute permits, or no more within the regulation's reference to permapressing, than is a pressing-only operation. We conclude that these and similar arguments, which raise the difficult question of how the regulation at issue fares under the Chevron framework, are best addressed in the first instance to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit or to the Court of International Trade. Declining to reach the second question on which certiorari was granted, we remand the case to the Court of Appeals.

The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

It is so ordered.

Justice Stevens, with whom Justice Ginsburg joins, concurring in part and dissenting in part.

Like the statutory provision it explicates, the Customs Service regulation at issue begins with a generally applicable standard for a duty exemption, and concludes with relatively specific examples that indicate how that standard should be interpreted. See Subheading 9802.00.80, Harmo-


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