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HQ 558849

March 29, 1995

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:S 558849 DEC


Mr. Herbert J. Lynch
Sullivan & Lynch, P.C.
156 State Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02109-2508

RE: Country of origin marking for firearms; Substantial transformation;
C.S.D.s 80-111, 85-25, 89-110, 89-118, 89-129 and 90-97

Dear Mr. Lynch:

This is a modification of our ruling letter dated February 17, 1995, which was written in response to your letter dated October 14, 1994, on behalf of your client, Safari Supply Incorporated (Safari Supply), concerning the proposed country of origin marking for firearms that Safari Supply intends to import into the United States. Since the articles will be manufactured from component parts made in the People's Republic of China (China), Safari Supply is concerned about the admissibility of the firearms in light of the ban on the importation of munitions from China imposed pursuant to Section 38 of the Arms Export Control Act and Executive Order 11958. This modification clarifies that the determination of whether these particular firearms are subject to the ban is within the authority of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.


Safari Supply is an importer and marketer of firearms and ammunition. Safari Supply intends to import an exact replica of a Colt pistol, Model 1911-1911A1. The replica of the Colt pistol that is the subject of this ruling contains components from China and Germany. According to your submission, the barrel and the magazine assembly are produced in Germany. The remaining components will be manufactured in China. The Chinese component parts are machined and fitted prior to being sent to Germany.

The external parts will be further finished in Germany and subjected to a final polishing treatment involving a chemical process that will impart the finished pistol with a blue-black finish. You stated that this chemical treatment, referred to as "bluing," enhances the long lasting firearm polishing process. In addition to the barrel and the magazine assembly that will be manufactured in Germany, the German manufacturer will machine the serrations to the slide component. After the external components are polished, workers in the German factory will assemble the more than forty components comprising the pistol, engrave the appropriate markings and serial numbers, inspect the pistol for compliance with government standards, and package the finished pistol with a manual.


What is the country of origin of the finished pistol that is processed in the manner described above?


Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. origin 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. Congressional intent in enacting 19 U.S.C. ?1304 was "that the ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of the marking on the imported goods the country of which the goods is the product. The evident purpose is to mark the goods so that at the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were produced, be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will." United States v. Friedlaender & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297, 302 (1940). Part 134 of the Customs Regulations implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. ?1304. Section 134.41(b), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the United States must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

"Country of origin" is defined in section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations, as
the country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the United States. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transforma- tion in order to render such other country the "country of origin" within the meaning of this part.

A substantial transformation is said to have occurred when an article emerges from a manufacturing process with a name, character, or use which differs from the original material subjected to the process. Torrington Co. v. United States, 764 F.2d 1563, 1568 (Fed. Cir. 1985), citing Texas Instruments, Inc. v. United States, 631 F.2d 778, 782 (CCPA 1982), and Anheuser-Busch Brewing Ass'n v. United States, 207 U.S. 556 (1908).

In this case, the only issue for consideration is whether the processing of the pistol in Germany effects a substantial transformation. The processing in Germany consists of an assembly and finishing operation as well as a chemical treatment. In determining whether the assembly of parts or materials constitutes a substantial transformation, the issue is the extent of operations performed and whether the parts lose their identity and become an integral part of the new article. Belcrest Linens v. United States, 6 CIT 204, 573 F.Supp. 1149 (1983), aff'd, 2 Fed.Cir. 105, 741 F.2d. 1368 (1984). Assembly operations which are minimal or simple, as opposed to complex or meaningful, will generally not result in a substantial transformation. See, C.S.D.s 80-111, 85-25, 89-110, 89-118, 89-129 and 90-97.

The assembly operation requires the expertise and precision of trained technicians so as to ensure compliance with specifications. The failure to comply with these high standards may put the user of the firearm at risk. Customs finds that the operations at issue which consist of the manufacture of two significant components and the assembly of more than forty pieces to produce a Colt replica substantially transforms the Chinese-manufactured parts into an article of German origin.

The determination of whether this firearm is subject to the ban on the importation of munitions from China imposed pursuant to Section 38 of the Arms Export Control Act and Executive Order 11958 is within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.


The complex assembly of the firearm as discussed above constitutes a substantial transformation. Accordingly, the country of origin of the firearm to be imported into the United States is Germany. The article shall be marked pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1304 and part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant
Director, Commercial Rulings Division

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