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 NY Rulings > NY H82197 - NY H82281 > NY H82273

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
NY H82273

June 29, 2001

MAR-2 RR:NC:MM:105:H82273


Richard Wortman
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman, Klestadt 707 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 4900
Los Angeles, CA 90017


Dear Mr. Wortman:

This is in response to your letter dated May 31, 2001, for Sybron Dental Specialties, Ormco Corporation Division, requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements for an imported article which is processed in a NAFTA country prior to being imported into the U.S. Samples of the components at various stages and the completed item were submitted with your letter for review.

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.

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(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. 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 this part; however, for a good of a NAFTA country, the NAFTA Marking Rules will determine the country of origin. (Emphasis added).

Section 134.1(j) of the regulations, provides that the "NAFTA Marking Rules" are the rules promulgated for purposes of determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country. 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. Section 134.45(a)(2) of the regulations, provides that a "good of a NAFTA country" may be marked with the name of the country of origin in English, French or Spanish.

You state that the imported dental files are processed in a NAFTA country "Mexico" prior to being imported into the U.S. Since "Mexico" is defined under 19 CFR 134.1(g), as a NAFTA country, we must first apply the NAFTA Marking Rules in order to determine whether the imported dental file is a "good of a NAFTA country", and thus subject to the NAFTA marking requirements.

Part 102 of the regulations, sets forth the "NAFTA Marking Rules" for purposes of determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country for marking purposes. Section 102.11 of the regulations, sets forth the required hierarchy for determining country of origin for marking purposes.

The dental file is use for hand scraping during root canal dental work. In accordance with NYRL 872163, issued to Ormco on April 1, 1992, the completed file is classifiable in HTS 9018.49.80. The file, including its handle, is about 1.6 inches long. The rough part, which does the actual scraping and filing, is thin, nickel titanium “pin” with deep groves along its whole exposed length of about one inch.

The handle, rubber stopper (used as a handle guard), and metal which will become the scraping-filing part are not products of Mexico (for the most part, products of the USA). The metal has been cut from a roll of wire and has been tapered by grinding to come to a much smaller diameter, but not a true point, at one end. It is still completely smooth as it enters Mexico.

In Mexico, the “pin” is fluted by deep spirals cut into its surface. Unlike the processing in 872163, it does not appear to have been notched to better fit the handle. Under 100 power magnification, the cuts appear to be a large percent of the metal’s radius, especially towards the “point.” The components are then assembled, washed, painted, packaged and inspected in Mexico.

You state, “We believe that all the operations in Mexico are minor processing (19 C.F.R. 102.1). The country of origin of the file is therefore the United States.”

We do not agree that Customs Regulation (CR) 102.1-m applies, in particular due to the fluting of the metal. Is it the deep fluting that makes the item capable of scraping and filing.

Since the completed item is classifiable in HTS 9018.49, CR 102.20(q), 9018.41-9018.50 applies.

CR 102.11(a) is not met. For CR 102.11(b), we consider the fluted metal piece to provide the essential character since it alone, after the fluting, enables the tool to scrape and file. As imported into Mexico, without the fluting, the smooth “pin” does not have the essential character of the dental file, so it is not an unfinished part of the dental file, noting Explanatory Note I to Harmonized System General Rule of Interpretation 2-a. The smooth “pin” is, per se, classifiable outside of HTS 9018.49, likely in HTS Chapter 75 or 81.

872163 ruled that the country of origin of that very similar dental file was Mexico. Only a little less work is done on this item in Mexico in that the grinding to taper the smooth “pin” was done in the USA, not Mexico.

Applying the NAFTA Marking Rules set forth in Part 102 of the regulations to the facts of this case, we find that the imported dental file is a good of a Mexico for marking purposes.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 181 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 181). The samples are being returned to you in a separate mailing.

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 J. Sheridan at 212-637-7037.

Should you wish to request an administrative review of this ruling, submit a copy of this ruling and all relevant facts and arguments within 30 days of the date of this letter, to the Director, Commercial Rulings Division, Headquarters, U.S. Customs Service, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20229.


Robert B. Swierupski

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: