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NY G86681

February 1, 2001

CLA-2-73:RR:NC:N1:113 G86681


TARIFF NO.: 7326.90.8586; 7616.99.5090

Mr. Bruce Mackinnon
Northpower Ltd.
13 Polaris Place
East Tamaki, Auckland
New Zealand

RE: The tariff classification of iron and aluminum pole steps from Thailand.

Dear Mr. Mackinnon:

In your letter dated January 18, 2001, you requested a ruling on tariff classification.

The merchandise consists of Wedge Loc pole steps. The steps are made of two pieces, a forged steel step and a wedge. These steps resemble those commonly found on the side of telephone poles. They will be used in that fashion in thin-walled hollow steel structures such as electrical distribution and transmission poles. The steps are said to be made either of forged steel that has been further worked by galvanization or of aluminum.

The applicable subheading for the galvanized steel product will be 7326.90.8586, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other articles of iron or steel, other, other. The general rate of duty will be 2.9 percent ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the aluminum product will be 7616.99.5090, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other articles of aluminum, other, other. The general rate of duty will be 2.5 percent ad valorem.

Should, for any reason, the steel steps be sold along with the aluminum wedges, or vice versa, Section XV, Note 7, “Classification of composite articles,” provides that “articles of base metal . . . containing two or more base metals are to be treated as articles of the base metal predominating by weight over each of the other metals.”

You also requested a ruling on whether the proposed method of marking the container in which the steps and wedges are imported with the country of origin in lieu of marking the article itself is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported steps. A marked sample container was not submitted with your letter for review.

According to your letter, you intend to import the goods packaged 25 steps or 25 wedges to a box. The articles themselves will not be marked. The box will be marked with “all the relevant details.” 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.

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. 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. If an imported article is to be sold at retail in its imported form, the purchaser at retail is the ultimate purchaser.

An article is excepted from marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a)(3)(D) and section 134.32(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(d)), if the marking of a container of such article will reasonably indicate the origin of such article. Accordingly, if Customs is satisfied that the article will remain in its container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser and if the ultimate purchaser can tell the country of origin of the steps and wedges by viewing the container in which it is packaged, the individual steps and would be excepted from marking under this provision.

Section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46), deals with cases in which the words "United States," or "American," the letters "U.S.A.," any variation of such words or letters, or the name of any city or locality in the United States, or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the country or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced, appears on an imported article or its container, and those words, letters or names may mislead or deceive the ultimate purchaser as to the actual country of origin. In such a case, there shall appear, legibly and permanently, in close proximity to such words, letters, or name, and in at least a comparable size, the name of the country of origin preceded by "Made in," Product of," or other words of similar meaning.

In order to satisfy the close proximity requirement, the country of origin marking must generally appear on the same side(s) or surface(s) in which the name or locality other than the actual country of origin appears.

Your letter does not reveal how the goods will be sold, to whom they will be sold, whether the boxes are sealed and whether there will be other geographical references on the box. Therefore, we are unable to issue a ruling on the marking.

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 James Smyth at 212-637-7008.


Robert B. Swierupski

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