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NY E86338

September 20, 1999

CLA-2-84:RR:NC:1:103 E86338


TARIFF NO.: 8431.39.0010

Ms. Lisa Chastain
Fritz Companies, Inc.
3930 W. 29th Street South, Suite 5
Wichita, KS 67217

RE: The tariff classification and country of origin marking of a steel wheel from China

Dear Ms. Chastain:

In an undated letter on behalf of Advanced Uniflo Inc. which was received in this office on August 23, 1999 you requested a tariff classification ruling.

You submitted a drawing depicting the inner components of the steel wheel, which you referred to as a skate wheel, along with a sample of the wheel. The article basically consists of a wheel approximately two inches in diameter with a hollow shaft approximately one-quarter inch in diameter that forms a hub at its center. Within the wheel are seven carbon steel balls, each 6 millimeters in diameter, a zinc-plated or galvanized inner race, an outer race, and a ball retainer washer. These permit the wheel to rotate freely about the hollow shaft. According to your letter, your client will import these wheels in bulk for use as the rolling elements in gravity-type conveyors. They will be mounted on axles in various patterns, and plastic tubes will be used as spacers to maintain the pattern. Once assembled the wheels will freely rotate about their axles, allowing packages and other objects to be moved along the conveyor manually or by gravity.

Consideration has been given to classifying these wheels in the provision for ball or roller bearings in heading 8482, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). A bearing is a machine element that permits free motion between moving and fixed parts; bearings hold or guide moving machine parts and minimize friction and wear. See TD 94-22. The information submitted indicates that the so-called skate wheel will be used in conveyors to support moving loads and facilitate the handling of materials. The function of the wheel is not to guide or hold moving machine parts. Accordingly, the wheel is not a bearing and is not classifiable in heading 8482, HTS.

The applicable subheading for the steel wheel will be 8431.39.0010, HTS, which provides for parts suitable for use solely or principally with the machinery of heading 8428: other: of elevators and conveyors. The rate of duty will be free.

You also inquired as to whether these wheels may be exempt from individual country of origin marking. You stated that they are imported in bulk in cardboard boxes, and that the boxes are marked to indicate the country of origin of the wheels. You further advised that your client does not sell these wheels individually, but only as a component of a complete conveyor unit.

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. 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. See, 19 CFR 134.35.

In this case, the imported steel wheels are an essential component of the conveyor which your client assembles. It appears that neither the name, character or use of the imported wheels will change as a result of the assembly operations performed in the United States, and that after the assembly operation the wheels retain their original shape and form [see National Hand Tool Corp. v. United States, Slip. Op. 92-61 (April 27, 1992)]. Thus in our opinion the steel wheels are not substantially transformed as a result of the U.S. processing, and therefore your client is not the ultimate purchaser of the imported steel wheels for purposes of 19 CFR 134.35. Accordingly, the completed conveyor should be marked to indicate to its end user or purchaser the country of origin of the imported steel wheels.

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 Alan Horowitz at 212-637-7027.


Robert B. Swierupski

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