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HQ 733717

July 30, 1991

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 733717 NL


District Director
U.S. Customs Service
P.O. Box 619050
1205 Royal Lane
Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas 75261

RE: Country of Origin Marking - Malleable Iron Castings for Meter Swivels; Pipe Fittings; Connectors; 7307.19.90, HTSUS; Substantial Transformation; 19 U.S.C. 1304(c).

Dear Sir:

This in response to your request for internal advice dated August 3, 1990 (your file MAR 2-D:C TP) which was submitted to this office at the request of Central Plastics (Central) of Shawnee, Oklahoma. The advice of this office is sought with respect the country of origin marking requirements for certain castings which are used by Central to produce pipe fittings known as swivel meters. These articles are used to connect natural gas supply lines to gas meters in individual homes.


The imported castings are substantially the same as the castings for unions and dialectrics considered by this office in HQ 732883 (August 1, 1990), which was issued to Central. The processing which Central performs on the castings after importation to produce swivel meters is also substantially the same. Where noted, we apply the findings of the prior ruling to the instant circumstances.

The castings as imported are in two forms, swivels and nuts. After importation they are subjected to extensive threading, boring, and machining. After an injection molding machine has applied a nylon gasket to the swivel, the two pieces (swivel and nut) are fitted together to form the meter swivel. It is then tested using high voltage for electrical leaks.

It is the opinion of your office that this processing effects a substantial transformation such that Central is the ultimate purchaser of the imported castings. In consequence, your office believes that country of origin marking requirements may be satisfied by marking the containers in which the castings reach Central. Alternatively, you would permit the castings to be excepted from country of origin marking on the basis that the ultimate purchaser (Central) must necessarily know the country of origin of the castings by reason of the circumstances of their importation. See 19 CFR 134.32(h).

Separately, Central has received a ruling from the National Import Specialist, New York Seaport, concerning the classification of the imported castings. That office determined that the castings were to be classified to subheading 7307.19.90, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for tube or pipe fittings (for example, couplings, elbows, elbows, sleeves), of iron or steel, cast fittings, other, other. NY 859671 (February 14, 1991).


May the imported castings be excepted from 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 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.

In this case we agree with your office that the threading, boring, machining, and other work performed on the castings by Central after importation to produce swivel meters effects a substantial transformation of the castings. As we found in the prior ruling issued to Central concerning essentially the same processing, the machining operations change the fundamental character of the imported castings, enabling them to be used for a different purpose. We also find that the processing is comparable to the processing considered in Midwood Industries v. United States, 64 Cust. Ct. 499, C.D. 4026, 313 F.Supp 951 (1970). See HQ 732883, at p. 3.

Accordingly, pursuant to 19 CFR 134.35, Central is the ultimate purchaser of the imported castings, and the castings would ordinarily be eligible to be excepted from individual country of origin marking. See 19 CFR 134.32(d).

However, by virtue of the determination NY 859671 that the castings are classifiable as pipe fittings under subheading 7307.19.90, HTSUS, the castings are not eligible for any exception from country of origin marking. See T.D. 86-15, 20 Cust. B. & Dec. No. 7 (February 19, 1986)(articles classified under specified provisions are subject to the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304(c)). As provided in Section 207 of the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304(c)), no exception from country of origin marking may be approved with respect to pipes and pipe fittings of iron or steel, which are required to be marked by means of die stamping, cast-in-mold lettering, etching, or engraving. If, because of the nature of the article, it is technically or commercially infeasible to mark a pipe, tube, or fitting by these methods, paint stenciling is acceptable. In the case of a small diameter pipe, tube, or fitting which it is technically or commercially infeasible to mark, section 207 permits marking by tagging the containers or bundles.

In light of the requirements of section 207, and New York's finding that the castings are considered pipe fittings for classification purposes, this office finds that, notwithstanding the determination that Central is the ultimate purchaser of the castings, at the time of importation they must be marked by means of one of the the methods prescribed in section 207 of the Trade and Tariff Act, as amended. We note the following, however: first, as stated in HQ 732883, we do not construe section 207 as requiring that country of origin marking remain on an article after it reaches the ultimate purchaser, i.e., Central; second, to the extent a claim is substantiated that it is technically or commercially infeasible to mark the castings in the prescribed manner, paint stenciling would be appropriate. Moreover, inasmuch as this office determined in TD 86-15 that "small diameter" would be understood to mean pipes of less than 1.9 inches in diameter, we could determine that fittings for pipes of that diameter or less would be eligible for marking on their containers at the time of importation, provided the requisite showing of technical or commercial infeasibility had been accepted.


Although the imported castings are substantially transformed by processing in the U.S., and Central is their ultimate purchaser, the castings as imported are required to be marked in accordance with the requirements of section 207 of the Trade and Tariff Act of 1984, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304(c)).


John Durant
Director, Commercial

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