United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1991 HQ Rulings > HQ 0732498 - HQ 0732964 > HQ 0732896

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 732896

April 5, 1990

MAR 2-05 CO:R:C:V 732896 pmh


Ms. Judy A. Blum
Drackett, Inc.
5020 Spring Grove Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45232-1988

RE: Country of origin marking requirements for imported mops

Dear Ms. Blum:

This is in response to your letter of November 16, 1989, requesting a ruling on the proper country of origin marking requirements for mops which consist of a handle imported from Italy and a mop head imported from Germany.


Drackett, Inc. (importer) imports mop heads from West Germany and mop handles from Italy. The mop handle is comprised of two separate parts, a metal handle and a plastic hanger tip. The plastic hanger tip is marked "Made in Italy." The mop head is bound with a cardboard wrapper that is marked "USA Distributor - Mop Head Made in West Germany." It is further enclosed in a clear plastic wrapper. After importation, the hanger tip marked "Made in Italy" is replaced with a blank domestic hanger tip and the handle and mop head are assembled into a finished mop. A sticker bearing the words "Mop Handle Made in Italy" would be placed on the outside plastic wrapper that covers the mop head. You state that such sticker would be conspicuously affixed to the plastic wrapper, in such a way that it would be in close proximity to the the words "USA Distributor - Mop Head Made in West Germany" that appear on the cardboard wrapper, but would would not obscure that marking, and that the lettering used on the sticker would be of the same size or larger as that used for the words "USA Distributor."

In an earlier request for a ruling you submitted a sample mop enclosed in its cardboard retail wrapper. (That submission was the subject of HQ 731398, dated October 4, 1989.) In a November 9, 1989 telephone call with a member of my staff you indicated that the subject mops in this case use the same style mop head and the same cardboard retail wrapper as that used in the previously submitted sample. We have retained that sample mop and have reexamined it for purposes of this ruling.


What are the country of origin marking requirements for a mop that consists of a mop head imported from Germany and a handle imported from Italy.


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 will permit in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser 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. As provided in section 134.41, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41), the country of origin marking is considered to be conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

In HQ 731398, dated October 4, 1989, Customs found that mop heads imported from Germany were not substantially transformed when they were attached to domestic mop handles. Customs determined that the mop head was a separate component from the handle, could be removed and replaced and, consequently, was required to be marked with its country of origin. Likewise, in this case, the mop heads, which are the same as those in HQ 731398, are required to be marked with the country of origin. As determined in our previous ruling, the country of origin marking on the mop head wrapper (as exhibited on the previously submitted sample), is in compliance with 19 U.S.C. 1304. It is conspicuously located on the wrapper and appears directly beneath the name and domestic address of the importer. See 19 CFR 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46).

With regard to the mop handles, we find that the handles are required to be marked with their country of origin. Section 134.1(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(d)), defines "ultimate purchaser" as "the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported." The regulation further provides that if an imported article will be used in manufacture, the manufacturer may be the ultimate purchaser if he sujects 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. In this case, although the imported handles are combined with a domestic hanger tip, such process is only a minor one and does not change the name, character or use of the handles as they were imported. Similarly, the handles do not lose their separate identity when they are combined with a removable and replaceable head made in West Germany. Consequently, the handles remain products of Italy and must be marked accordingly. We further find that marking the handles by means of a sticker bearing the country of origin and placed on the outermost plastic wrapper, would be acceptable if such sticker is sufficiently conspicuous and permanent. Since the mops will be repacked in a plastic wrapper after importation, the certification requirements of 19 CFR 134.26 apply. See section 134.26, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.26).


For purposes of 19 U.S.C. 1304, imported mop handles that are combined in the U.S. with domestic hanger tips, are not substantially transformed and remain products of Italy. It is acceptable to mark the mop handles by means of a sticker affixed to the plastic wrapper on the mop head, provided the local Customs officials are satisfied that such sticker is sufficiently conspicuous and permanent. Imported mop heads which are removable and replaceable are also required to be marked with their country of origin. We find that the current marking, as exhibited on a previously submitted sample, is in compliance with 19 U.S.C. 1304.


Marvin M. Amernick

Previous Ruling Next Ruling