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HQ 731968

19 MAR 1990

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 731968 jd


Mr. Edward Hertz
Executive Vice President
Marsuda-Rodgers International
P.O. Box 22286
5610 Union Pacific Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90022

RE: Country of origin marking requirements applicable to tapered roller bearings and ball bearings

Dear Mr. Hertz:

This is in response to your letter of August 25, 1988, concerning application of country of origin marking requirements to imported tapered roller bearings and ball bearings. Customs in New York has referred your letter to this office for reply.


Tapered roller bearings consist of a cup (also called the outer ring), a cage, rollers, and a cone (also called the inner ring). In this instance, the cup and cone are cold forged from steel bar in Romania. After deburring and heat-treating, the unfinished cup and cone, along with finished rollers, are sent to Israel for further processing.

In Israel the unfinished cup and cone are finished, machine ground, and superfinished. This involves grinding the face, and outer and inner diameters of the cup and cone, as well as honing the bearing contact surfaces of these two components. Honing involves polishing the inner diameter of the cup and outer diameter of the cone with very fine sandpaper to render them as smooth as possible. Honing is the most crucial stage in the refinement of the bearing surfaces.

The now complete cup and cone and the rollers are assembled with a cage of Israeli origin to produce a complete tapered roller bearing. The final assembly process is not described but we know from other experience with this type of article that the assembly process is often as simple as force fitting the components together.

A similar process takes place with ball bearings. Finished steel balls from Romania, along with unfinished inner and outer rings, will be imported into Israel. The finishing, grinding and superfinishing of the rings to prepare them
for the balls is essentially the same processing as to prepare a cup and cone for insertion of rollers. An Israeli cage is used to complete a finished ball bearing.

The referral memorandum from Customs in New York expresses the opinion that the country of origin of the finished tapered roller bearing and ball bearings is Israel. With regard to the Israeli processing they state, "It is this machining, grinding and superfinishing in Israel that enables the cups, cones and races to achieve necessary ABEC tolerance standards and develop those characteristics that allow it to perform as an antifriction bearing. With the exception of the rolling elements, all of these items are finished and assembled together in Israel. Therefore it is our opinion that the merchandise is sufficiently transformed to allow the country of origin of the completed bearing to be considered Israel."


Based on the above description, are the Romanian components substantially transformed by the processing in Israel so as to make Israel the country of origin, for purposes of 19 U.S.C. 1304, of the completed tapered roller bearings and ball bearings?


Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that 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 the'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)), defines "country of origin" 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 transformation in order to render such other country the "country of origin" within the meaning of marking laws and regulations. The case of U.S.v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., Inc., 27 CCPA 267 (C.A.D. 98), provides that an article used in manufacture which results in an article having a name, character or use differing from that of the constituent article will beconsidered substantially transformed.

In Customs ruling RM 363.2 K (April 18, 1968), it states, "The Bureau has also ruled that a manufacturer who processes imported rough formed ball bearing races into finished
races by grinding and related finishing processes, and who uses such finished races in the assembly of bearings with steel balls, retai'ners (or separators), and plates or seals of United States manufacture is considered to be the ultimate purchaser of the imported rough formed races within the meaning of section 1304(a), title 19, United States Code."

The finding of substantial transformation of the races by grinding and related processes is consistent with the opinion that the cup and cone are transformed by the grinding and honing taking place in Israel. A comparison of the cup and cone upon importation from Romania compared with their condition upon completion of Israeli processing shows that the essence of an antifriction bearing, i.e., the ultrasmooth surfaces measured in millionths of inches, is imparted by the processing in Israel.

In regard to serving the intent of the marking law, i.e., that the ultimate purchaser should be presented with information that may influence his decision to purchase a product, we believe an ultimate purchaser of a tapered roller bearing or ball bearing is entitled to know the country wherein the product acquired the characteristics of a finished bearing. In this instance, the grinding and honing in Israel is the place where the bearing achieves ABEC rating and becomes commercially recognized as a finished bearing. This rating is a measure of the class or degree of precision of annular roller bearings or ball bearings based on American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ Antifriction Bearings Manufacturers Association (AFBMA) standard #20.


Based on the'above considerations, the country of origin of the finished tapered roller bearings and ball bearings is Israel.

John Durant
Commercial Rulings Division

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