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NY F86097

April 28, 2000

MAR-2 RR:NC:1:118 F86097


Mr. Richard H. Abbey
Ablondi, Foster, Sobin & Davidow, P.C.
1150 Eighteenth Street, NW
Ninth Floor
Washington, DC 20036-4129


Dear Mr. Abbey:

This is in response to your letter dated April 13, 2000, requesting a marking ruling on behalf of your client, The Stanley Works (“Stanley”). Your inquiry concerns the country of origin marking requirements for various blister packed U.S. hardware items that are packaged in the U.S. with screws of Chinese origin. Several samples were submitted with your letter for review.

You have stated that base metal screws of various sizes, manufactured in China, are currently imported into the U.S. in bulk and will be repackaged in combination with a wide variety of hardware items that are manufactured by Stanley in the U.S. The screws and hardware will be backed by cardboard in a blister pack. In every instance, the screws will be included in the blister packaging as installation accessories for the U.S. hardware items. The screws will not be sold by themselves. You further state that the imported screws are an integral part of the U.S. origin hardware and it is the hardware, not the screws, that will be identified on the blister package. Furthermore, it is the hardware, not the screws that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is buying. Upon examination of the submitted samples, we observed that each package contains the specific number of screws required for the installation operation of the hardware.

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.

In T.D. 91-7 (January 16, 1991), Customs noted that in certain circumstances, the marking of every item in a collection of goods may not be consistent with the purpose of section 1304, or may be impractical and/or undesirable. This may be because one or more items in the collection are relatively insignificant and would have no influence on the purchasing decision, because the items in the collection are too numerous, making it impractical to specify the country of origin of each item, or for various other reasons. Accordingly, Customs stated that it would continue to employ a "common sense" approach to determine the marking requirements applicable to articles which comprise a collection of imported and domestic goods.

An example of this approach is found in HQ 555365 (September 7, 1990), which concerned the tariff treatment and country of origin marking requirements applicable to U.S.-made junction boxes packaged abroad with foreign-made screws (three to a box) and returned to the U.S. In that ruling, Customs found that the foreign screws were excepted from the requirements of section 1304. Applying a "common sense" approach, Customs concluded that marking of the screws was not required because they lost their separate identity and became an integral part of the U.S.-origin junction boxes as a result of their inclusion in the kit. Customs also recognized that what the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. was buying was a junction box kit and not individual screws, and that the marking of the screws would not be consistent with the purpose of section 1304.

Similarly, in this case, applying the common sense approach, we find that requiring the blister packages to be marked to indicate the country of origin of the screws would not be consistent with the purpose of section 1304. As in HQ 555365, the screws within these blister packages lose their separate identities and become an integral part of the finished hardware. In our opinion an ultimate purchaser in the U.S. who is buying the hardware is interested in the specific hardware and is not concerned about minor fastening components when making their purchasing decision. Accordingly, the Stanley hardware blister packaging, containing the Stanley hardware along with the specific number of screws needed for installation of the hardware, does not need to be marked to indicate the country of origin of the screws. As to whether or not the packaging can contain the words Made in U.S.A., it is suggested that you contact the Federal Trade Commission, Division of Enforcement, 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20508 for this determination.

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 Kathy Campanelli at 212-637-7025.


Robert B. Swierupski

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