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NY B80798

January 13, 1997

CLA-2-71:RR:NC:SP:233 B80798


TARIFF NO.: 7116.20.0500; 7116.20.1500

Mr. Michael A. Brown
Actionline International Inc.
391 Rampart Range Road
Woodland Park, CO 80863

RE: The tariff classification and marking of semiprecious stone jewelry from Guatemala.

Dear Mr. Brown:

In your letter dated December 29, 1996, you requested a tariff classification and a country of origin marking ruling.

The submitted sample is an anklet measuring 10 inches in length. It is made of semiprecious stone beads and gold plated beads, strung on wire, with a lobster claw clasp.

In your letter, you indicate that you intend to send jewelry parts, which you will purchase in the United States, to Guatemala for assembly into anklets and bracelets. You will then re-import the finished anklets and bracelets. The jewelry parts will consist of semiprecious stone beads (e.g. amethyst, garnet, bloodstone, clear quartz, lapis lazuli, fresh water pearl, moonstone, peridot, malachite, opal, pink coral and turquoise), gold and silver plated base metal beads, gold and silver plated base metal clasps and nylon coated braided steel wire for stringing.

The applicable subheading for the semiprecious stone anklets and bracelets, if valued not over $40 per piece, will be 7116.20.0500 Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for "Articles of . . . semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed): Articles of jewelry: Valued not over $40 per piece." The rate of duty rate will be 4.6 percent ad valorem.

If the semiprecious stone anklets and bracelets are valued over $40 per piece, the applicable subheading will be 7116.20.1500, HTS, which provides for "Articles of . . . semiprecious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed): Articles of jewelry: Other." The rate of duty will be 6.5 percent ad valorem.

Articles classifiable under subheadings 7116.20.0500 and 7116.20.1500, HTS, which are products of Guatemala are entitled to duty free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) upon compliance with all applicable regulations.

You have also inquired about the country of origin marking requirements for the semiprecious stone anklets and bracelets.

The marking statute, section 304, 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 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, with certain exceptions.

The "country of origin" is defined in 19 CFR 134.1(b) 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 this part; however, for a good of a NAFTA country, the NAFTA Marking Rules will determine the country of origin." For tariff purposes, the courts have held that a substantial transformation occurs if a new and different article emerges having a distinctive name, character or use. Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association v. The United States, 207 U.S. 556 (1908) and Uniroyal Inc. v. United States, 542 F. Supp. 1026 (1982).

In this case, the assembly process in Guatemala results in a substantial transformation. The assembled jewelry has a distinctive name, character or use different from the unassembled jewelry parts, and therefore is a good of Guatemala for marking purposes. Accordingly, the jewelry will be required to have country of origin marking pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1304 when imported into the United States.

As a general rule, marking requirements are best met by marking worked into the article at the time of manufacture. For example, it is suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be die sunk, molded or etched. However, based on your submitted sample, it does not appear to be feasible to stamp or engrave the name of the country of origin on the jewelry. In such instances, the Customs Service normally permits any reasonable method of marking that will remain on the article during handling until it reaches the ultimate purchaser. This includes the use of string tags. Section 134.44 of the Customs Regulations explicitly provides that marking by means of string tags is an acceptable method of indicating country of origin, as long as the tags are affixed in a conspicuous place and so securely that, unless deliberately removed, they will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser (19 CFR 134.44).

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

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Lawrence Mushinske at 212-466-5739.


Gwenn Klein Kirschner

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