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HQ 732444

February 5, 1990

MAR 2-05 CO:R:C:V 732444 pmh


Mr. Que Martyn
95-1203 Lalai Street
Mililani, HI 96789

RE: Country of origin marking requirements for glass articles

Dear Mr. Martyn:

This is in response to your May 27, 1989 letter, on behalf of Mrs. Judy Lee Vest, DBA Surf and Sand of Hawaii (the importer), requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements for imported glass articles to be used in the manufacture of novelty items in the U.S. We regret the delay in responding.


Small glass articles manufactured in Taiwan, Korea, China, Canada or Japan will be imported into the U.S. A sample article has been submitted. It measures approximately five inches in length and consists of a long blown glass neck which has an open mouth at one end and is attached to a small bulb at the other end. According to your letter, the importer plans to use these articles in the manufacture of novelty items. The manufacturing process consists of filling the small bulb portion with sand and ocean water, removing most of the blown glass neck and sealing off the mouth of the article with a blow torch. A photograph of the intended novelty item has been submitted. It confirms your description of the finished article, which is a decorative knickknack to be sold as a souvenir product.


Whether the imported glass articles are substantially transformed in the U.S. and therefore, are exempt from individual country of origin marking.


Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that unless excepted, every article of foreign origin imported into the U.S. 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 U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article.

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. The ultimate purchaser is defined in section 134.1(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(d)), as generally "the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported." The regulation further provides if an imported article will be used in manufacture, the manufacturer may be the ultimate purchaser if he subjects the imported article to a process which results in a substantial transformation. However, if the manufacturing process is merely a minor one which leaves the identity of the imported article intact, 19 CFR 134.1(d)(2) provides that the consumer or user of the article, who obtains the article after the processing, will be regarded as the ultimate purchaser.

According to U.S. v. Gibson-Thomsen Company, Inc., 27 CCPA 267 (1940), a manufacturer is considered to be an ultimate purchaser if a manufacturing process is performed on an imported article so that the article is substantially transformed in that it loses its identity and becomes an integral part of a new article with a new name, character or use. The court determined that in such circumstances, the imported article is excepted from individual marking. Only the outermost container is required to be marked. See section 134.35, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.35).

This decision was followed in Grafton Spools, Ltd. v. United States, 45 Cust. Ct. 16, 23, C.D. 2190 (1960), in which empty metal spools imported from England and wrapped in the U.S. with inked ribbons to create typewriter ribbons and business machine ribbons were found to have lost their identity in the finished product. The court observed that what the ribbon manufacturer's were selling were ribbons, which of course had to be wound on a spool, but it was the ribbon and not the spool, which the manufacturer's customers were interested in purchasing.

In this case, the blown-glass article that is imported serves as the container component in the finished product. The U.S. souvenir manufacturers are selling souvenirs of the ocean and beach, which of course had to be contained in some kind of see-through article. It is our opinion that, although the glass container is of a unique shape, it is the ocean water and sand that the customers of the finished souvenir product are interested in purchasing. Consequently, as with the empty spools in the Grafton Spools case, the imported glass articles in this case lose their separate identity in the finished product.


We find that the imported glass articles are substantially transformed when they are cut to size, filled with ocean water and sand, and sealed by means of a blow torch in the U.S. and that the U.S. importer/manufacturer is the ultimate purchaser. Accordingly, the imported glass articles are excepted from country of origin marking under 19 CFR 134.35, provided the district director is satisfied that they will be used only in this manner and will reach the ultimate purchaser in their original containers which are properly marked to indicate the country of origin.

We are returning your sample as requested.


Marvin M. Amernick

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