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Sandra -- My comments -- Craig

U.S. Proposed Harmonized Rules of Origin
Chapter 25

Additional Rule 2

(g) Fusing, sintering or agglomeration of materials of headings 25.18 or 25.19.

Heading 2518 covers dolomite while heading 2519 covers magnesium. The above rule would allow a substantial transformation for the "agglomerating" of dolomite (subhheading 2518.30 covers agglomerated dolomite), which is described in the Explanatory notes as mixing crushed calcined dolomite with a binding agent. The rule would also allow a S.T. for the "fusing" (melting together) of magnesia (subheading 2519.90.10 covers fused magnesia) which the Ex. Notes explains results in a less soluble type of magnesia used, for example, in the manufacture of crucibles or heating elements for electric ovens. A S.T. would also result from the "sintering" of magnesia (subheading 2519.90.10 also covers sintered magnesia), which the Ex. Notes says is heating magnesia in high temperature (about 1400-1800 degrees C). Sintered magnesia is used in the manufacture of refractory bricks.

I could find no rulings addressing whether the above processes result in a S.T., although HQ 734479 dated January 29, 1993, held that agglomerating spray-dried coffee (fusing fine granular materials through wetting, agglutinating and drying) did not result in a S.T. as the product remains instant coffee.

The agglomerating, fusing and sintering described above appear to be significant processes which alter the characteristics of the product somewhat to render it more suitable for certain uses. However, after the processing, the dolomite remains dolomite and the magnesia remains magnesia; so my guess is that we would find no S.T., although the Lab. should probably be consulted on this.

The applicable 102 tariff shift rule provides for "a change to heading 2518 through 2530 from any other heading." Thus, no tariff shift would result from the above processes, and, by application of the rule in 102.11(b)(1), the origin of the product would remain the country where the dolomite and magnesia originated.

Additional Rule 3

Where materials from more than one country are combined together but have not undergone one of the origin-conferring processes provided for in Rule 2, origin is conferred on the country which has contributed the greatest proportion by weight of the materials that determine the classification of the goods.

This proposed rule is at odds with the tradtional S.T. analysis which looks to whether the combining of the materials results in a new and different article of commerce with new name, character or use. If no S.T. results, each material would retain its original country of origin.

This rule is also inconsistent with the 102 rules which (assuming there is no tariff shift), in 102.11(b), looks to the country or countries of the single material that imparts the essential character of the good. In determining essential character, weight is only one of the factors that may be considered. See 102.18(b).

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