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HQ 731855

November 3, 1989

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 731855 jd


Leslie A. Glick, Esq.
Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur
1233 20th Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20036-2395

RE: Country of origin marking requirements applicable to aluminum louvers imported from Mexico

Dear Mr. Glick:

This is in response to your letter of October 19, 1988, concerning the application of country of origin marking requirements to aluminum louvers imported from Mexico.


According to your submission, your client sends aluminum profiles, i.e., extended uncut pieces of louvered metal, from its plant in the U.S. to its Mexican facility. In Mexico, the profiles are cut, drilled, assembled to specifications and returned to the U.S. as finished louvers. The finished louvers are shipped directly to builders or contractors who will install them in buildings under construction. The louvers are shipped in containers marked "Assembled in Mexico."

By your letter dated November 1, 1989, we understand that louvers your client plans to ship from Mexico to the U.S. in the immediate future will not have affixed the label which was present on the sample louver we observed. As you discussed with a member of my staff on October 31, 1989, the U.S. address on that sticker would result in an answer different from that given below. We are basing our response on the understanding the louvers to be shipped will have no labels affixed, or if labels are used on some future shipments, they will contain no references to places not the place of origin of the louvers.


Who are the ultimate purchasers of the aluminum louvers described above?

Are the aluminum louvers eligible for an exception to individual country of origin marking if they are received by the ultimate purchaser in properly marked, unopened containers?


Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), requires that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the United States shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or container) will permit in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin of the article. Section 134.1(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(d)), defines ultimate purchaser as "generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported."

Section 134.32, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32), sets forth a list of circumstances which except articles from the requirement that they be individually marked. One such circumstance of relevance to the louvers under consideration is { 134.32(d), "[a]rticles for which the marking of the containers will reasonably indicate the origin of the articles".

It is the opinion of this office that the builders or contractors that receive the louvers and install them in buildings they are constructing are the ultimate purchasers of the louvers. Installation of the louver in a building causes the louver to lose its separate identity and become a functioning part of the complete building. Therefore, the louvers are excepted from individual country of origin marking provided they are received by the builders or contractors in properly marked containers which remain unopened after release by Customs and the louvers are used by the builders or contractors for the stated purpose and not otherwise used or sold.

Ruling letter 555185 (July 31, 1989), concerned the classification of these louvers. That ruling held that, with the exception of post-assembly coating and baking operations, the operations performed in Mexico constitute acceptable assembly operations and operations incidental thereto so as to qualify the louvers for the duty exemption available under subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Section 10.22, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.22), states that assembled articles entitled to this exemption are considered products of the country of assembly for purposes of the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Therefore, marking on the containers of these louvers stating "Assembled in Mexico" will be sufficient.


The aluminum louvers described above are excepted from individual country of origin marking provided they are received by ultimate purchasers in properly marked outer containers.


Marvin M. Amernick

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