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NY C89456

July 20, 1998

MAR-2 RR:NC:SP:230 C89456


Mr. Aaron M. Gothelf

Expeditors Consulting Services, LLC

999 Third Avenue (Suite 4401)

Seattle, WA 98104


Dear Mr. Gothelf:

This is in response to your letter dated June 22, 1998, requesting a ruling on whether imported wooden blanks to be further processed in the U.S. are required to be individually marked with their country of origin. The ruling was requested on behalf of your client, Wright-Bernet (Hamilton, Ohio), the firm which will import the blanks and process them into finished articles (various types of brushes). An unmarked sample was submitted with your letter for review and is being returned to you as requested.

You outline the facts as follows:

The wood blanks are solid shaped blocks of wood, edged, and some have a pre-drilled hole for a handle to be
attached after completion. However, they do not yet
have holes drilled in them for the tufts or bristles.

They are palletized, and shipped to the Wright-Bernet
facility in Hamilton, Ohio for processing. Wright-

Bernet takes the raw blanks, drills holes in them in
specific locations, and then inserts tufts or bristles, locking them in place as required by the brush product
design. Finally, Wright-Bernet adds a handle as
required, and the finished good is packaged and shipped to distributors and retail outlets.

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 C.F.R. Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. §1304. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. §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 C.F.R. §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. See, 19 C.F.R. §134.35.

In this case, we find that the imported wooden blanks are substantially transformed as a result of the U.S. processing. Therefore, the U.S. manufacturer (Wright-Bernet) is the ultimate purchaser of the imported blanks, and under 19 C.F.R. §134.35 only the containers which reach said ultimate purchaser are required to be marked with the country of origin, e.g., "Product of Brazil" or "Product of Thailand." Customs officials at the port of entry must be satisfied that the blanks will be used in the manner set forth above, and that they will be received by Wright-

Bernet in the marked packages in which they are imported. The port director may require the submission of any information or documentation deemed necessary to support the marking exception.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 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 Paul Garretto at 212-466-5779.


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