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NY C82105

December 11, 1997

MAR-2 RR:NC:MM:113 C82105


Mr. Michael Izrael
Galmer Silversmiths
5-19 47th Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101


Dear Mr. Izrael:

This is in response to your letter dated November 20, 1997 requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements for imported sterling silver hollowware which is assembled from U.S. components in a NAFTA country. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review. You request that you may be allowed to mark the item "MADE IN USA."

The merchandise is a cup or chalice made of cast sterling silver. Your supplier provides domestic silver. Your company casts the bowl and stem of the cup. After this process, you intend to export the parts to Mexico where they will be soldered together and polished. The cup will be returned to the United States for final finishing. This finishing consists of plating the item with gold or an antique finish. This final processing is not completed in Mexico because your customers will have a choice of finishes and you cannot predict how many of each they will order.

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 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.

The country of origin marking requirements for a "good of a NAFTA country" are also determined in accordance with Annex 311 of the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA"), as implemented by section 207 of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat 2057) (December 8, 1993) and the appropriate Customs Regulations. The Marking Rules used for determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country are contained in Part 102, Customs Regulations. The marking requirements of these goods are set forth in Part 134, Customs Regulations.

Section 134.45(a)(2) of the regulations, provides that "a good of a NAFTA country may be marked with the name of the country of origin in English, French or Spanish. Section 134.1(g) of the regulations, defines a "good of a NAFTA country" as an article for which the country of origin is Canada, Mexico or the United States as determined under the NAFTA Marking Rules. In this case, you state that U.S. component(s) are exported to a NAFTA country where they are assembled prior to being re-imported into the U.S.

The rules for determining when, for marking purposes, the country of origin of an imported good is one of the parties to "NAFTA" are contained in Part 102, Customs Regulations. Section 102.11 of the regulations, sets forth the required hierarchy for determining country of origin for marking purposes.

Section 102.11(a) states that the country of origin of a good is the country in which: (1) The good is wholly obtained or produced; (2) The good is produced exclusively from domestic materials; or (3) Each foreign material incorporated in that good undergoes an applicable change in tariff classification set out in section 102.20 and satisfies any other applicable requirements of that section, and all other requirements of these rules are satisfied.

"Foreign Material" is defined in section 102.1(e) as "a material whose country of origin as determined under these rules is not the same country as the country in which the good is produced." In this case, they will import U.S.-produced parts of hollowware into Mexico to be assembled into cups for subsequent exportation to the U.S. for retail sale. Thus, to determine the appropriate country of origin marking requirements for the silver cup we must apply the NAFTA Marking Rules. Since the silver cup is produced in Mexico from U.S.parts (foreign as defined in 19 C.F.R. ?102.1(e)), the silver cup is neither wholly obtained/produced nor is it produced exclusively from domestic materials and therefore paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of section 102.11 cannot be used to determine the country of origin of the finished article. Thus, section 102.11(a)(3) is the next applicable rule that must be applied to determine the origin of the finished article. It is therefore necessary to classify the merchandise involved in order to determine if the good undergoes the applicable change in tariff classification as set out in section 102.20.

The General Rules of Interpretation govern the classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA (GRI's). GRI 1 states in part that "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes." Silver cups and silver parts of cups are classified in subheading 7114.11, HTS, which provides for articles of goldsmiths' or silversmiths' wares and parts thereof, of precious metal, of precious metal whether or not plated or clad with other precious metal, articles not elsewhere specified or included of a type used for household, table or kitchen use, all the foregoing and parts thereof, of silver.

Section 102.20 (Specific rules by tariff classification), Section XIV, Chapter 71, 7113.11-7115.90 provides for "A change to subheading 7113.11 through 7115.90 from any other subheading, including another subheading within that group." Since the same subheading provides for both the assembled cups and the parts, no change in tariff classification from one subheading to another occurs. This rule cannot determine the country of origin. The next applicable rule is Section 102.11(d)(2). The good has been produced by simple assembly, which is defined as the fitting together of five or fewer parts, all of which are foreign . . . by bolting, gluing, soldering or by other means without more than minor processing, such as cleaning.

Section 102.11(d)(2) provides that:
if the good was produced by simple assembly and the assembled parts that merit equal consideration for determining the essential character of the good are from the same country, the country of origin of the good is the country of origin of those parts.

In this case, both parts are products of the United States. Therefore, by application of these rules, the country of origin of the assembled cup remains the United States. 19 CFR ?134.32 (General exceptions to marking requirements) excepts from marking requirements articles described or meeting specified conditions. 19 CFR 134.32(r) excepts ". . . articles of United States origin (determined as such under part 102 of this Chapter prior to exportation from the U.S.) that are exported for repairs or alterations and returned." Therefore, the article does not have to be marked.

Regarding your original request, however, these rules of origin do not govern whether you may mark the good "Made in USA." This specific marking is not within the authority of the US Customs Service, and the standards are different. We suggest you refer your request to:

Federal Trade Commission
Division of Enforcement
6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20580

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 181 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 181).

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 James Smyth at 212-466-2084.


Robert B. Swierupski

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