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NY B83240

April 11, 1997

MAR-2-90:RR:NC:1:105 B83240


James J. Parks
Gabrian & Parks
2525 Telegraph, Suite 302
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302

RE: Country of Origin Marking of Unfinished or Unassembled Pressure Gauges, Dial Thermometers, and Parts from China and Taiwan

Dear Mr. Parks:

This is in response to your letter on behalf of H.O. Trerice Co. dated March 10, 1997, requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking on imported unfinished and unassembled pressure gauges, dial thermometers, and parts of these pressure gauges and thermometers.

You state that your client will be importing all or most of the parts necessary to assemble pressure gauges or dial thermometers. Although neither your letter nor our subsequent phone conversations specified exactly what parts would be imported, and what parts, if any, would be manufactured domestically, it is clear that enough of the parts required to make the finished gauges and thermometers will be imported to consider those imported parts to be the unassembled gauges and thermometers that they will be assembled into. You further state that the gauges and thermometers that are assembled from the imported parts will be sold to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), distributors, or end users.

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. If an imported article is to be sold at retail in its imported form, the purchaser at retail is the ultimate purchaser. If this is the case with your client's gauges and thermometers, because they will not be substantially transformed in the U.S., the ultimate purchaser of the unassembled parts is the consumer who purchases the finished gauges at retail. On the other hand, if your client's finished gauges and thermometers are substantially transformed by being combined with boilers or other machines, the ultimate purchaser of the parts will be the OEM who substantially transforms the finished gauges and thermometers into other articles.

An article is excepted from marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a)(3)(D) and Section 134.32(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(d)), if the marking of a container of such article will reasonably indicate the origin of such article. However, since the parts are not imported in their marked retail container, whether the subject articles are excepted from individual marking under 19 CFR 134.32(d) is for the Port Director to decide. In this regard Section 134.34, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.34), provides that an exception may be authorized in the discretion of the Port Director under 19 CFR 134.32(d) for imported articles which are to be repacked after release from Customs custody under the following conditions: (1) The containers in which the articles are repacked will indicate the origin of the articles to an ultimate purchaser in the U.S. (2) The importer arranges for supervision of the marking of the containers by Customs officers at the importer's expense or secures such verification, as may be necessary, by certification and the submission of a sample or otherwise, of the marking prior to the liquidation of the entry.

In this case, assuming that the Port Director is satisfied that the imported parts will be repacked in the manner described above, and that the other conditions set forth in 19 CFR 134.34 are met, the Port Director may authorize an exception under 19 CFR 134.32(d), in which case marking of the imported parts will not be required.

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. The case of U.S. v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., Inc., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (C.A.D. 98) (1940), 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 be considered substantially transformed and that the manufacturer or processor will be considered the ultimate purchaser of the constituent materials. In such circumstances, the imported article is excepted from marking and only the outermost container is required to be marked.

In the case of your client's parts, it is not clear which of the assembled gauges will be sold at retail, and which will be sold to OEMs. Therefore, in order to avoid confusion, it is our suggestion that all of the assembled gauges and thermometers be repacked in individual containers which state "Assembled in the U.S. from Parts Made in China (or Taiwan)."

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 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 Eric Francke at (212) 466-5669.


Robert B. Swierupski
Chief, Metals and Machinery Branch

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