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NY F84745

March 29, 2000

CLA-2-96:RR:NC:SP:233 F84745


TARIFF NO.: 9605.00.0000; 9801.00.10

Mr. Gerardo Montemayor
Rafael A. Morales, Inc.
509 Interamerica Blvd.
Laredo, TX 78045

RE: The tariff classification and status under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of a travel set from Mexico; Article 509; country of origin marking.

Dear Mr. Montemayor:

In your letter dated February 14, 2000, on behalf of Banta Direct Marketing Group, you requested a ruling on the status of a travel set from Mexico under the NAFTA. You also requested a classification and country of origin marking ruling on the travel set.

The submitted sample is a travel set consisting of the following components:

Components imported from China:
1 make-up brush,
1 nail file,
1 vinyl pouch,

Trademarked items made in the U.S.A.:
1 sample of Oil of Olay Body Wash,
1 sample of Oil of Olay Moisture Cream,
1 sample of Cover Girl Makeup,
1 sample of Pert Plus Shampoo,

Paper items, printed in the U.S.A.:
1 printed brochure,
1 printed instruction sheet,
1 printed band,
1 paper wafer seal.

The components are sent to Mexico where the brush and the nail file are inserted into the plastic compartment in the left side of the pouch, the trademarked samples are inserted into the packet situated in the right side of the pouch, and the brochure and instruction sheet are placed in the pocket in the middle of the pouch. The pouch is then zippered and the printed band is wrapped around it, sealed with the wafer seal.


The applicable subheading for the travel set will be 9605.00.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for travel sets for personal toilet, sewing or shoe or clothes cleaning (other than manicure and pedicure sets of heading 8214). The general rate of duty will be 8.1% ad valorem.

Subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS, provides for the free entry of products of the United States when returned after having been exported, without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means while abroad...., provided the documentary requirements of section 10.1, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. §10.1), are met. In United States v. John V. Carr & Sons, Inc., 69 Cust. Ct. 78, C.D. 4377, 347 F. Supp. 1390 (1972), 61 CCPA 52, C.A.D. 1118, 496 F.2d 1225 (1974), the court stated that absent some alteration or change in the item itself, the mere repackaging of the item, even for the purpose of resale to the ultimate consumer, is not sufficient to preclude the merchandise from being classified under item 800.00, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS) (the precursor to subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS).

Therefore, the U.S. made items, which are exported to Mexico and merely packaged are not considered to have been advanced in value or improved in condition for purposes of subheading 9801.00.10, HTSUS. As a result, the U.S. made items will be exempt from duty under this tariff provision when they are returned to the U.S., provided the documentation requirements of 19 C.F.R. §10.1 are satisfied.

NAFTA Preference

The merchandise does not qualify for preferential treatment under the NAFTA because the make-up brush, which is a non-originating material used in the production of the good, will not undergo the change in tariff classification required by General Note 12(t)/96.1, HTSUSA.

Country of Origin Marking

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.

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 134.1(b) of the regulations, defines "country of origin" as
the country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the U.S. 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 this part; however, for a good of a NAFTA country, the NAFTA Marking Rules will determine the country of origin. (Emphasis added).

Section 134.1(j) of the regulations, provides that the "NAFTA Marking Rules" are the rules promulgated for purposes of determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country. 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. 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.

You state that the imported travel sets are processed in a NAFTA country "Mexico" prior to being imported into the U.S. Since "Mexico" is defined under 19 CFR 134.1(g), as a NAFTA country, we must first apply the NAFTA Marking Rules in order to determine whether the imported travel set is a "good of a NAFTA country", and thus subject to the NAFTA marking requirements.

Part 102 of the regulations, sets forth the "NAFTA Marking Rules" for purposes of determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country for marking purposes. Section 102.11, Customs Regulations, sets forth the required hierarchy for determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country for marking purposes. This section 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 as set forth in section 102.20 and satisfies any other applicable requirements of that section. In this case the change in tariff classification must be made in accordance with section 102.20(s), Section XX: Chapters 94 through 96, heading 9604-9605 which requires “A change to heading 9604 through 9605 from any other heading, including another heading within that group.”

Applying the NAFTA Marking Rules set forth in Part 102 of the regulations to the facts of this case, we find that the imported travel set is a good of Mexico for marking purposes.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 181 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 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 Lawrence Mushinske at 212-637-7061.

Should you wish to request an administrative review of this ruling, submit a copy of this ruling and all relevant facts and arguments within 30 days of the date of this letter, to the Director, Commercial Rulings Division, Headquarters, U.S. Customs Service, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20229.


Robert B. Swierupski

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