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NY G83322

October 27, 2000

CLA-2-95:RR:NC:SP:225 G83322


TARIFF NO.: 9503.90.0045

Mr. Ray Reynolds
Lee Hardeman Customs Broker, Inc.
P.O. Box 45545
Atlanta, GA 30320-0545

RE: The tariff classification and country of origin marking of a toy ball from Thailand

Dear Mr. Reynolds:

This is in response to your letter dated October 12, 2000, on behalf of Sportime, LLC, requesting a ruling on the tariff classification and country of origin marking of a toy ball. Two unmarked samples were submitted with your letter for review.

The product is called “Beans N Foam Ball” and is designed for use by amateur jugglers. The ball is made up of a pellet-filled roto-molded inner ball that is covered in polyurethane foam. The innovative construction makes for a weighted ball with a limited rolling ability, conducive to the act of juggling. According to your letter, the pellet-filled inner ball is manufactured in Thailand and sent to Germany where it is covered with a polyurethane foam coating prior to export to the U.S.


The applicable subheading for the “Beans N Foam Ball” will be 9503.90.0045, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other toys: other: other toys and models. The rate of duty will be free.


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.

It is your belief that the polyurethane foam coating, added in Germany, is a process that substantially transforms the juggling ball requiring the item to be marked “Made in Germany.” This office, however, must disagree. Section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations (19CFR 134.1(b)), defines "country of origin" as the country of manufacture, production or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the United States. 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 the meaning of marking laws and regulations. Substantial transformation is a manufacture, which results in an article having a name, character or use differing from that of the constituent article. In this case, the ball is not substantially transformed, but merely undergoes a coating process that enhances the juggling ball’s appearance and “feel.” The balls original identity, shape and use as a juggling ball is not altered by means of the coating process in Germany. Therefore, for purposes of country of origin marking, the “Beans N Foam Ball” must be marked “Made in Thailand” in order to satisfy the requirements of 19 U.S.C. §1304 and 19 C.F.R. Part 134.

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 Alice J. Wong at 212-637-7028.


Robert B. Swierupski

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