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 > 1994 HQ Rulings > HQ 0557668 - HQ 0731996 > HQ 0731685

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 731685

March 15, 1990

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 731685 jd


Robert F. Seely, Esq.
Miller & Blume
International Square, Suite 400
1825 I Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006

RE: Country.of origin marking requirements applicable to a multiunit retail package of imported fruit drink

Dear Mr. Seely:

This is in reply to your letter of August 15, 1988, concerning the application of country of origin marking requirements to a multiunit retail package of imported fruit drink. We regret the delay in responding.


According to your submission, your client plans to import into the U.S. a fruit drink manufactured in Mexico. The fruit drink ingredients are: purified water- approximately 80 percent; sugar- approximately 10 percent; juice concentrates- 10 percent; other ingredients (artificial punch flavor, sodium benzoate, color)- less than 1 percent. The artificial punch flavor is sourced from the U.S., other ingredients will be sourced from various countries. The juice concentrates will be a blend of apple, orange, and grape.

The completed fruit drink will be bottled in individual serving-size (8 oz.) plastic bottles. Such bottles will have affixed at the top a brand name label on a tamper-resistant seal. Six such bottles will be placed in a cardboard container and the cardboard container will be wrapped in clear plastic shrinkwrap. The cardboard container will be imprinted in pertinent part with the words, "MADE UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF (COMPANY NAME) IN MEXICO, DIST. BY (COMPANY NAME), (COMPANY'S U.S. ADDRESS)." The words are all the same size and the same type style and color.


Is fruit juice concentrate substantially transformed by its use in the manufacture of a fruit drink so as to make disclosure of the country of origin of the concentrate unnecessary?

Does country of origin marking on the outer container of multiunit retail packages of fruit drinks satisfy country of origin marking requirements?


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 an ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin of the article. Section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(b)), in defining "country of origin", states that, "Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other country the 'country of origin' within the meaning of this part." In order for a "substantial transformation" to be found, the further work or material added must result in a new and different article of commerce with a new name, character, or use.

Section 134.32(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(d)), states that an article may be excepted from individual marking when marking on the article's container will reasonably indicate the origin of the article.

In a recent country of origin marking case involving the issue of substantial transformation, National Juice Products Association v. United States, 10 CIT 48, 628 F.Supp. 978 (CIT 1986),the Court of International Trade upheld Customs determination that imported orange juice concentrate is not substantially transformed when it is processed and then packaged into retail containers as frozen concentrated or reconstituted orange juice. The court stated, "the retail product in this case essentially the juice concentrate derived in substantial part from foreign grown, harvested, and processed oranges. The addition of water, orange essences, and oils to the concentrate, while making it suitable for retail sale does not change the fundamental character of the product, it is still essentially the product of the juice of oranges." The court also noted that when considering the process as a whole, the major part of the end product, when measured by cost, value, or quantity, is manufacturing concentrate and that the processing in the United States is a minor manufacturing process.

Applying the rationale of the National Juice case to the product at issue here, it is the opinion of this office that juice concentrates imported into Mexico for use in the manufacture of a fruit drink are substantially transformed. The name of the product has changed to fruit drink, a change alerting ultimate purchasers that the product contains much less juice concentrate, in this case, 10 percent, than products sold as reconstituted fruit juice or as frozen concentrated juice.

In regard to the change in character, the retail product being marketed in the case of a fruit drink is not "essentially the juice concentrate" as it is in the case of reconstituted juice or frozen concentrated juice. An ultimate purchaser seeking a fruit juice would not, in our opinion, purchase a fruit drink. The fruit drink, by virtue of added ingredients such as sugar and color is no longer "essentially" a juice. In fact, the juice concentrates are not even solely responsible for the flavor of the final fruit drink as artificial punch flavor has been added.

There is no significant change in the use of the concentrates; a concentrate is destined to become a beverage, and the fruit drink is that beverage now ready to consume. However, considering the totality of the circumstances, we believe the concentrates undergo a substantial transformation by their use in the manufacture of fruit drink. The juice concentrates are subsumed into a product that is no longer considered a juice. Accordingly, the country of origin of the constituent juice concentrates need not be marked on the fruit drink.

In regard to the country of origin marking imprinted on the cardboard tray containing the bottles of fruit drink, it is our opinion that the marking satisfies the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Customs has approved similar marking in the past, e.g., marking on a can containing imported tennis balls (723045; November 4, 1983), and marking on a cardboard tray holding imported pencils inside a plastic bag (722896; November 4, 1983). In the case of the pencils it was stated, "Because the package contains cardboard trays with pre-printed information intended for the consumer, we believe that these properly marked packages will reach the consumer unopened."

Similarly, we believe it is very likely the shrink-wrapped trays of fruit drink will reach the ultimate purchaser unopened. However, in the Food and Drug Administration regulations you cite, 21 CFR 101.105(s), it states, "For the purposes of this section, 'multiunit retail packages' means a package containing two or more individually packaged units of the identical
commodity and in the same quantity, intended to be sold as part of the multiunit retail package but capable of being individually sold in full compliance with all the requirements of the regulations in this part." [Emphasis added.]

Accordingly, you should be prepared to furnish, at the discretion of the district director, a statement or affidavit that the multiunit packages are intended for sale unopened. Alternately, you could imprint the label on each bottle, or the bottle itself, with the words "Not for individual sale". That would make it unnecessary to supply a statement or affidavit in connection with each entry for which an exception to individual marking is requested.


Fruit juice concentrates are substantially transformed by their use in the manufacture of a fruit drink. Accordingly, a fruit drink manufactured in [Mexico for shipment to the U.S. does not have to be labeled to disclose the origin of the constituent concentrates; the drink may be labeled as a product of Mexico for purposes of compliance with 19 U.S.C. 1304. The required marking may be displayed in a conspicuous place on the cardboard tray holding six bottles of fruit drink shrink-wrapped together for retail sale. The district director may, at his discretion, require a statement or affidavit that the multiunit retail package is intended for sale unopened.


John Durant
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling