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HQ 562497

October 11, 2002

MAR-05 RR:CR:sm 562497 Tjm

Category: MARKING

Mark Grossman
Precise Dental Products, Ltd.
21361 Deering Court
Canoga Park CA 91304

RE: Country of origin marking; NAFTA country; Mexico; dental devices; gutta percha points; dental fillings; Precise Dental Products; 19 CFR 102.12.

Dear Mr. Grossman:

This is in reply to your letter dated July 10, 2002, requesting on behalf of your company, a ruling on the country of origin for marking purposes of “gutta percha points” which are used as a dental filling material in root canal procedures. Please find our response below.


Your company, Precise Dental Products, Ltd., makes gutta percha points used as dental filling material for root canal procedures. You state that the gutta percha points are considered dental devices by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As part of your submission, you provided four photographs showing the four stages of production of the product. The first photograph shows the raw material known as raw gutta percha, which is a rubber material imported into the United States from Indonesia. You state that this material is classifiable in subheading 4001.30, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). It is white and circular in shape with dimensions of 8 inches in diameter, and 2.25 inches in thickness. The second photograph shows gutta percha after having coloring and other elements added to the rubber material. The shape is now square. The third photograph shows gutta percha in pellets in various sizes. The last photograph shows the pellets that have been hand rolled to various needle like shapes. You stated that the final gutta percha points come in over 60 different sizes and style and that their specific dimensions relate to specific file sizes used to prepare the canal. The tolerances allowed under the International Standards Organization (ISO) are within .05 - .07 mm. The points must carry a consistent taper from the tip to end. You state that the last stage of production (shown in the fourth photograph) allows the gutta percha to be used as a dental device. You note that the final form of the gutta percha points is classifiable in subheading 3006.40.00, HTSUS.

You state that your company exports the gutta percha after the second stage to Mexico where it is then cut into pellets and then hand rolled into the specific sizes, styles and dimensions. You state that the tariff classification of the gutta percha as exported from the U.S. is subheading 4001.30, HTSUS. After the processing in Mexico, you state that the classification of the gutta percha points when imported into the U.S. is subheading 3006.40, HTSUS. For purposes of this ruling, we are assuming that the above tariff classifications are correct.

You request a binding ruling as to the correct country of origin for marking purposes for your product.


What is the country of origin for marking purposes of gutta percha points processed in Mexico as described above?


General Marking Law

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.

Section 134.1(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR § 134.1(d)), provides that the “ultimate purchaser” is generally the last person in the United States who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. Congressional intent in enacting 19 U.S.C. § 1304 was “that the ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of the marking on imported goods the country 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).

II. NAFTA Rules of Origin for Marking Purposes

The country of origin of a "good of a NAFTA country" is determined in accordance with Annex 311 of the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA"), as implemented by 19 C.F.R. § 102.11. For a good of a NAFTA country, section 102.11, Customs Regulations (19 CFR § 102.11), sets forth the required hierarchy for determining country of origin for marking purposes. Specifically, section 102.11(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR § 102.11(a)) states, in pertinent part, that:

[t]he 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 requirements of these rules are satisfied.

Because the product at issue is not wholly obtained or produced in Mexico and because the product is not produced exclusively from domestic material, section 102.11(a)(3) is applicable. Pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 102.11(a)(3), the country of origin of a good is the country in which each foreign material incorporated in that good undergoes an applicable change in tariff classification prescribed in 19 C.F.R. § 102.20. Section 102.20, Customs Regulations (19 CFR § 102.20), sets forth the specific tariff classification changes and/or other operations, which are specifically required in order for country of origin to be determined on the basis of operations performed on the foreign materials contained in a good.

Noting that the finished good as imported into the U.S. from Mexico is classifiable in subheading 3006.40, HTSUS, 19 C.F.R. § 102.20, Section VI: Chapter 28 through 38, 3006.20-3006.60, HTSUS is applicable. It states:

A change to subheading 3006.20 through 3006.60 from any other subheading, including another subheading within that group.

Assuming that the material as imported into Mexico is classifiable in subheading 4001.30, HTSUS, the non-originating material undergoes the necessary change in tariff classification in Mexico as required by 19 C.F.R. § 102.20. Therefore, the gutta percha points country of origin as imported into the United States from Mexico is Mexico and the goods should be so marked in accordance with 19 C.F.R. Part 134.


Based on the information provided, the country of origin for marking purposes of gutta percha processed in Mexico into gutta percha points for use in dental root canal procedures is Mexico.

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


Myles B. Harmon, Acting Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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