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NY F86632

May 24, 2000

CLA-2-14:RR:NC:2:228 F86632


TARIFF NO.: 1404.90.0000

Ms. Teresa A. Gleason
Baker & McKenzie
815 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006-4078

RE: The tariff classification and country of origin marking of microwavable rice heating pads from Mexico

Dear Ms. Gleason:

In your letter dated April 21, 2000, on behalf of R.G. Barry Corporation, Pickerington, OH, you requested a tariff classification ruling.

Two samples, submitted with your letter, were examined and are being returned to you, as requested. The products are described as “non-electrical heating pads,” consisting of a rice-filled, microwavable textile pack and decorative textile cover. The “Chest Cold Cheetah” is composed of a triangular-shaped rice pack, approximately 7½ inches at the base and 6½ inches tall, designed to be inserted into a triangular-shaped cover of similar size. The eyes, nose, and whiskers of a feline character are embroidered onto one side of the tan-colored cover, two triangular-shaped ears are sewn onto the top of the character’s “head,” and a Velcro closure at the rear holds the rice pack inside the cover. The “Earache Elephant” consists of a rectangular-shaped rice pack, approximately 5½ inches long and 3½ Inches wide, that fits into an opening in the back of a gray-colored, oval-shaped cover, onto which is embroidered the eye and mouth of a character representing the profile of an elephant’s head. One large “elephant ear” is sewn onto the cover, in a manner that permits the “ear” to flap freely. Each end of the oval-shaped cover is extended approximately 7 inches, with Velcro attached to each end. On one of these extensions are embroidered lines representing creases in the elephant’s “trunk.” Both products will be packed for retail sale in unsealed cardboard boxes. The boxes are marked with the country of origin; the articles themselves are not marked.

The heating pads will be made in Mexico using components from the United States or China. Two scenarios relating to the production of these goods have been presented. In the first, the rice, textile components for the rice pack, and the unassembled fabric components for the textile outer cover, are products of the United States. In Mexico, the rice pack pieces will be sewn together, filled with rice and sewn shut, the outer cover pieces sewn together, the rice pack inserted into the outer cover, and the finished heat pack placed into its cardboard box. The second situation differs from the first in that the textile outer cover is made from Chinese materials, fully assembled in China, and imported into Mexico.

The applicable subheading for the Chest Cold Cheetah and Earache Elephant will be 1404.90.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for vegetable products not elsewhere specified or includedother. The rate of duty will be free.

Your inquiry does not provide enough information for us to give a classification ruling on the “Neck Relief Wrap.” Your request for a classification ruling should include a sample of this item. When this information is available, you may wish to consider resubmission of your request.

The importation of this merchandise may be subject to restrictions imposed by the United States Department of Agriculture and/or Food and Drug Administration. It is suggested you contact these agencies directly for further information.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

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.

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 of the regulations, sets forth the required hierarchy for determining country of origin for marking purposes.

Applying the NAFTA Marking Rules set forth in Part 102 of the regulations to the facts of this case, we find that the imported microwavable heating pads are goods of Mexico for marking purposes. Each heating pad, and the box in which they are sold, must be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the articles will permit, indicating Mexico as the country of origin.

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 Stanley Hopard at 212-637-7065.


Robert B. Swierupski

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