United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2001 HQ Rulings > HQ 562039 - HQ 961103 > HQ 562039

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 562039

April 18, 2001

MAR-05 RR:CR:SM 562039 TJM


Mr. Wyatt S. Holyk
Director, Consulting
Livingston International Consulting Group 1140 West Pender Street, Suite 400
Vancouver BC
Canada V6E 4H5

RE: Country of origin marking for structural steel; CAE Forestry Systems Wood Products; 19 USC § 1304; 19 CFR § 134.1(d); 19 CFR § 134.32(d).

Dear Mr. Holyk:

This is a response to your letter dated February 7, 2001, requesting on behalf of your client, a ruling on country of origin marking requirements for structural steel pieces imported into the United States from Canada. Our response follows.


Your client, CAE Forestry Systems Wood Products (“CAE”), a Canadian company, manufactures sawmill equipment in Canada. CAE sells sawmill equipment to forestry companies located in the United States. Due to the large size of sawmill equipment, shipments to the United States are made in pieces over a period of time. The articles at issue are pieces of structural steel such as flats, angles, and bars. After these structural steel pieces are delivered to the U.S. sawmill, they are assembled together with motors, control panels, conveyors and other components to create an operating sorter system for the sawmill.

You stated that the structural steel pieces are of Canadian origin. CAE purchases the steel, which is manufactured at a Canadian steel mill, and further processes it in Canada in preparation for assembly.

For shipping purposes, the structural steel is bundled together in Canada using steel straps. CAE is responsible for shipping the structural steel pieces to their customers in the United States. CAE acts as the importer of record into the United States.

You request a ruling that will exempt individual pieces of structural steel from the country of origin marking requirements and that will permit the marking of the steel straps instead.


Whether marking the straps that bundle individual structural steel pieces imported into the United States from Canada is acceptable for country of origin marking requirements.


First, we note that your client, CAE, a Canadian company, which is the exporter and importer of record for the products at issue, has standing to request a ruling from the U.S. Customs Service. See NAFTA Article 509 and section 181.92(b)(5), Customs Regulations (19 CFR § 181.92(b)(5)), implementing NAFTA Article 509.

As you are aware, Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. § 1304) provides that unless excepted, every article of foreign origin imported into the United States 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. 19 CFR part 134 implements the country of origin marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. § 1304. For NAFTA goods, section 134.1(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR § 134.1(d)), provides that the "ultimate purchaser” is “the last person in the United States who purchases the good in the form in which it was imported.”

Congressional intent in requiring a country of origin marking was “that the ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of the marking on the imported goods the country of origin of which the goods is the product. The evident purpose is to mark the goods so that at the time of the purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were produced, be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will.” United States v. Friedlander & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297 at 302; C.A.D. 104 (1940).

On the other hand, certain exceptions to the marking requirements are allowed. Section 134.32(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR § 134.32(d)), provides an exception to the country of origin marking requirements for “[a]rticles for which the marking of the containers will reasonably indicate the origin of the articles.”

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (“HRL”) 561008, dated August 4, 1999, Customs held that where bundles of concrete reinforcing steel bars tied with wires and metal straps were imported, the metal straps to secure the steel bars were considered containers. Customs ruled that the individual steel bars did not need to be marked, but that marking their containers was acceptable. Customs in HRL 561008 stated that:

Customs has previously held that bands or straps used to secure wire rod are considered containers of that wire rod. See HRL 559244, dated March 12, 1996. In HRL 559976, dated June 30, 1997, Customs held that where steel coils were packed onto skids, the skid is the container of the coils and marking the skids with a country of origin tag would except the coils from individual marking pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 134.32(d). Since the tags on the bundles of bars in this case are similar to both HRL 559244 and HRL 559976, we find that the wires and straps that tie the bars together are considered containers for purposes of 19 C.F.R. § 134.32(d).

In cases where Customs has found that an exception set forth at 19 C.F.R. § 134.32(d) applies, Customs has clearly stated that the container may be marked in lieu of the article only if Customs is satisfied that the article will remain in its container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser. See HRL 559922, dated March 25, 1997.

Consistent with HRL 561008, the steel straps used in the instant case to bundle the structural steel pieces during shipment to the ultimate purchasers are considered containers for purposes of 19 C.F.R. 134.32(d). Therefore, assuming that Customs at the port of entry is satisfied that the straps will remain on the bundles until the steel pieces reach the ultimate purchasers, we find that it will be sufficient to mark only the straps with the country of origin of the steel pieces. Such marking of course needs to be conspicuous, legible, and indelible as required by 19 U.S.C. § 1304.


In the instant case, the ultimate purchasers are CAE’s customers who receive shipments of structural steel pieces bundled in steel straps. Pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 134.32(d) and our determination that the steel straps constitute containers, marking the steel straps with the country of origin is sufficient for country of origin marking requirements.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time the merchandise is entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant

Previous Ruling Next Ruling