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NY F87506

May 31, 2000

MAR-2 RR:NC:3:353 F87506


Ms. Cecilia Castellanos
Western Overseas Corporation
1855 Coronado Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90804


Dear Ms. Castellanos:

This is in response to your letter dated May 16, 2000, on behalf of Pro Orthopedic Devices, Inc., requesting a ruling on the classification of a horse boot and whether the boot should be marked with the country of origin when imported or after the boot is finished in the United States. An unmarked sample was submitted with your letter for review, the sample will be returned to you.


The item is a horse boot that is constructed of neoprene rubber that is covered on both sides with a knit nylon/spandex fabric. The boot protects the lower leg of a horse and is partially assembled. The imported item is cut and shaped, including a sewn curved portion, to conform to the shape of a horse’s leg. There are two internal strips approximately 1 inch wide that runs the length of the boot and are used to assist in securing the item to the leg. Subsequent to importation four sturdy hook and loop closures and straps will be attached to the item. No style designation was provided with the submitted sample.

GRI 2(a) states, in pertinent part, that:

Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article....

The partially assembled horse boot is specifically shaped upon importation and is dedicated to be finished into a horse boot. The item is an unfinished horse boot that has the essential character of a complete or finished horse boot.

The applicable subheading for the unfinished horse boot will be 4201.00.6000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for “Saddlery and harness for any animal (including traces, leads, knee pads, muzzles, saddle cloths, saddle bags, dog coats and the like), of any material: Other.” The rate of duty will be 2.8% ad valorem.


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.

As provided in section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), the country of origin marking is considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

With regard to the permanency of a marking, section 134.41(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(a)), provides that as a general rule marking requirements are best met by marking worked into the article at the time of manufacture. For example, it is suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be die sunk, molded in, or etched. However, section 134.44, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.44), generally provides that any marking that is sufficiently permanent so that it will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless deliberately removed is acceptable.

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 instance the item is not substantially transformed subsequent to importation and the exception of Section 134.(d)(1), does not apply.

Under Section 134.32(g), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(g)), articles to be processed in the U.S. by the importer or for his account other than for the purpose of concealing the origin of the articles and in such manner that any mark contemplated by this part would necessarily be obliterated, destroyed, or permanently concealed are excepted from marking. You have provided no information to indicate that this is the case and the exception of Section 143.32(g) does not apply.

However, Pursuant to 19 CFR 134.34, a marking exception under 19 CFR 134.32(d) may be authorized in the discretion of the district director for imported articles which are repacked after release from Customs custody under the following conditions: (1) The containers in which the articles are repacked will indicate the origin of the articles to an ultimate purchaser in the United States. (2) The importer arranges for supervision of the marking of the containers by Custom officers at the importer's expense or secures such verification, as may be necessary, by certification and the submission of a sample or otherwise, of the marking prior to the liquidation of the entry.

Although the above provision sets forth the procedures to be followed when unmarked imported articles are to be repacked into marked containers after importation, these procedures are also appropriate in other circumstances, i.e. where articles cannot be marked prior to importation due to practical problems. If the importer can demonstrate to Customs that there are significant practical problems involved in affixing the country of origin label prior to the U.S. processing, the procedures set forth in 19 CFR 134.34 could be utilized; subject to approval by the district director, to allow the importer to affix the country of origin label to the finished sleeping bags after importation. In such case, the containers in which the unfinished horse boots are imported and received by of Pro Orthopedic Devices, Inc. should be marked “Taiwan.”

The horse boots must be marked at the time of importation with the country of origin unless there are practical problems where the articles cannot be marked prior to importation. If this is the case, subject to the approval of the district director, the procedures set forth in 19 CFR 134.34 could be utilized.

Insofar as the wording for the country of origin marking, acceptable markings are “Taiwan”, “Made in Taiwan”, “Manufactured in Taiwan”, or “Product of Taiwan.”

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 Kenneth Reidlinger at 212-637-7084.


Robert B. Swierupski

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