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NY G83696

November 13, 2000

MAR-2 RR:NC:2:230 G83696


Ms. Mary Ann Comstock
W. Y. Moberly, Inc.
Box 164
Sweetgrass, MT 59484


Dear Ms. Comstock:

This is in response to your letter dated October 3, 2000, on behalf of your client Universal Reel & Recycling Inc., requesting a ruling on whether imported cable reels are required to be marked with their country of origin if the containers "are goods of a NAFTA country" and are only to be used as usual containers.

Your client manufactures wooden cable reels in Canada and sells them to American wire and cable companies. These companies use the cable reels as containers or holders for their cable or wire products. Letters from two of your client’s customers were submitted. The companies state that they use the cable reels to put their wire on and that they do not resell the cable reels in their imported empty condition. You inquired whether the cable reels can be considered usual containers which are not required to be marked with their country of origin.

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 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(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.

You provided a copy of a NAFTA Certificate of Origin which covers the cable reels produced by your client. However, no details of the components or their manufacturing process were submitted. We assume that the cable reels meet the requirements of the NAFTA Marking Rules noted above and are considered to be “goods of a NAFTA country,” specifically, Canada.

Section 134.22(d)(1) of the regulations, defines "usual containers" as follows:
a usual container means the container in which the good will ordinarily reach its ultimate purchaser. Containers which are not included in the price of the goods with which they are sold, or which impart the essential character to the whole, or which have significant uses, or lasting value independent of the contents, will generally not be regarded as usual containers. However, the fact that a container is sturdy and capable of repeated use with its contents does not preclude it from being considered a usual container so long as it is the type of container in which the contents are ordinarily sold. A usual container, may be any type of container, including one which is specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific good or set of goods such as a camera case or an eyeglass case, or packing, storage and transportation materials.

A cable reel is a type of container on which cable or wire is ordinarily sold to an ultimate purchaser. Thus,we find that, in this case, the imported containers are considered to be "usual containers" as defined in section 134.22(d)(1) of the regulations.

The only issue remaining is whether the imported usual containers, claimed to be goods of a NAFTA country, are required to be marked with their origin if imported empty.

Section 134.22(d)(2) of the regulations, provides in part that:

A good of a NAFTA country which is a usual container, whether or not disposable and whether or not imported empty or filled, is not required to be marked with its own origin. If imported empty, the importer must be able to provide satisfactory evidence to Customs at the time of importation that it will be used only as a usual container (that it is to be filled with goods after importation and that such container is of a type in which these goods ordinarily reach the ultimate purchaser).

In this case, assuming the imported containers are considered to be "goods of a NAFTA country" as claimed, and if at the time of importation, satisfactory evidence is provided to Customs that the cable reels in the shipment will only be used as usual containers, the conditions set forth in section 134.22(d)(2) of the regulations are satisfied, and marking the imported cable reels with their own country of origin is not required.

The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise description as identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in 19 CFR 181.100(a)(2). This section states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect.

This ruling is being issued under the assumption that the subject goods, in their condition as imported into the United States, conform to the facts and the description as set forth both in the ruling request and in this ruling. In the event that the facts or merchandise are modified in any way, you should bring this to the attention of Customs and you should resubmit for a new ruling in accordance with 19 CFR 181.93. You should also be aware that the material facts described in the foregoing ruling may be subject to periodic verification by the Customs Service.

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 Paul Garretto at 212-637-7009.


Robert B. Swierupski

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