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NY 808522

April 13, 1995

MAR-2-39:S:N:N6:221 808522


Mr. Larry L. Linehan
Alfred H. Marzolf, Inc.
157 Yesler Way
Suite 605
Seattle, WA 98104

RE: Country Of Origin Marking Of A Portable Shower Accessory Assembled From Domestic And Foreign Parts.

Dear Mr. Linehan:

This is in response to your letter dated March 24, 1995, on behalf of Mountain Safety Research, requesting a ruling on whether an imported shower accessory which is made from a combination of imported and domestically produced parts is required to be marked with the country of origin. A sample was submitted with your letter for review.

The shower accessory is used to convert a camping water bag into a portable shower for use by hikers and campers. It consists of a silicone tube with a nozzle at one end and a cap assembly on the other end. The cap assembly fits onto the water bag, which is sold separately. The cap assembly consists of a threaded cap, a dust cap, and a spigot. The silicone tube is made in the United States, the threaded cap and nozzle are made in Taiwan and the spigot and dust cap are made in the United Kingdom. The processing in the United States consists of simple assembly operations.

The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or its 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. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. Section 134.1(d), defines the ultimate purchaser as generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. 19 CFR 134.1(d)(1) states that if an imported article will be used in manufacture, the manufacturer may be the ultimate purchaser if he subjects the imported article to a process which results in a substantial transformation of the article.

In determining whether the combining 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.Suppl 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. In the instant case, the processing in the United States consists of simple assembly of the imported parts with the domestically produced tube.

In this case, the imported parts are not substantially transformed as a result of the U.S. processing. Therefore, the shower accessory must be marked with a conspicuous country of origin marking which clearly indicates that it is assembled with some foreign components. Wording such as "Assembled in U.S. with parts made in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Taiwan, or similar language, would be appropriate. The marking must be legible and permanent enough so as to reach the ultimate purchaser.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 177).

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.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director

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