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NY G85059

December 21, 2000

MAR-2 RR:NC:1:102 G85050


Mr. Greg Wisner
Fluidmaster, Inc.
30800 Rancho Viejo Road
San Juan Capitrano, CA 92675

RE: Country of origin marking of a tank lever from Canada

Dear Mr. Wisner:

In your letter dated November 29, 2000 you requested a ruling on behalf of Fluidmaster as to the origin of a valve handle assembled in Canada from Canadian and Taiwanese components. Specifically, you inquire whether or not the retail packaging for the valve handle may be marked “Made in Taiwan and Canada” when exported from Canada. A sample was submitted.

The item in question is described as a tank lever used as a handle for a toilet flush valve. You state in your letter that components of the valve handle include a chrome plated handle, a lever arm and a nut for securing the lever arm to the toilet tank. You indicate that the plated handle originates in Taiwan, while the lever arm and nut are of Canadian origin. The tank lever is assembled in Canada and blister-packed on a card for retail sale. You propose to mark the packaging card “Made in Taiwan and Canada”.

The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 USC 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 USC 1304.

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. However, for a good of a NAFTA country, the NAFTA Marking Rules will determine the country of origin.

The country of origin marking requirements for a "good of a NAFTA country" are determined in accordance with Annex 311 of the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA"). Section 134.1(g), Customs Regulations (19 CFR §134.1(g)), defines a “good of a NAFTA country” as an article for which the country of origin is Canada, Mexico, or the U.S. as determined under the NAFTA Marking Rules set out at Part 102, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 102).

Section 102.11, Customs Regulations (19 CFR §102.11), sets forth the required hierarchy for determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country for marking purposes.

Paragraph (a) to section 102.11 provides that the country of origin of a good is the country in which:

(1) The good is wholly obtained or produced;

(2) The good is produced exclusively from domestic materials; or

(3) Each foreign material incorporated in that good undergoes an applicable change in tariff classification set out in section 102.20 and satisfies any other applicable requirements of that section, and all other applicable requirements of these rules are satisfied.

“Foreign material” is defined in section 102.1(e), Customs Regulations (19 CFR. §102.1(e)), as “a material whose country of origin as determined under these rules is not the same country as the country in which the good is produced.”

Based on the information submitted, the tank lever is assembled in Canada from a foreign component originating in Taiwan. The tank lever is neither wholly obtained or produced, nor produced in Canada exclusively from domestic materials as those terms are defined under section 102.1, Customs Regulations (19 CFR §102.1). Further, under section 102.11(a)(3), Customs Regulations (19 CFR §102.11(a)(3)), the foreign plated handle does not undergo the applicable change in tariff classification set out.

Paragraph (b) to section 102.11, Customs Regulations (19 CFR §102.11(b)), provides that where the country of origin cannot be determined under paragraph (a) to the section, the single material that imparts the essential character to the good shall determine origin.

The plated handle clearly merits consideration as the material that imparts essential character. The handle gives identity to the tank lever as a part of a hand operated valve and is most visible to the user of the tank lever. However, the lever arm also merits consideration. Functionally, in relation to the use of the tank lever, the lever arm is inseparable from the handle and gives commercial identity to the subject article as a “tank lever’. Further, you indicate in your submission that it is the lever arm that distinguishes your product from the product of competitors because the arm is made from a proprietary material that allows the arm to be bent and formed to permit use in a range of tank designs.

In our analysis, we find that there is no single material that imparts essential character to the tank lever. Therefore, country of origin cannot be determined under paragraph (b) to section 102.11. Further, we find that paragraph (c), (d)(1) and (d)(2) to section 102.11, Customs Regulations, are not determinative.

Paragraph (d)(3) to section 102.11 provides that where the country of origin cannot be determined under paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d)(1) or (d)(2) to the section, the country of origin is the last country in which the good in question underwent production. “Production” is defined in 102.1(n), Customs Regulations (19 CFR. §102.1(n)), as assembling a good. Because the handle and lever arm are assembled in Canada, Canada is the last country in which the tank lever underwent production.

Accordingly, under the NAFTA Marking Rules, we find that the tank lever is a good of Canada and shall be marked to indicate Canada as the sole country of origin. The proposed marking “Made in Taiwan and Canada” is not acceptable.

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 Kenneth T. Brock at 212-637-7026.


Robert B. Swierupski

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