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NY I81843

May 21, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:SP:234 I81843


Mr. Robert Chicoine
Domtar Inc.
395 de Maisonneuve Blvd. West
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H3A 1L6


Dear Mr. Chicoine:

This is in response to your letter dated May 8, 2002, requesting a ruling on whether certain “pulp wrappers,” imported empty, are required to be marked with their country of origin if they are “goods of a NAFTA country" and are only to be used as usual containers. An unmarked sample was submitted with your letter for our review.

The items in question are 53” x 56” sheets of woodpulp manufactured at your firm’s Quevillon pulp mill in Canada. They will be imported exclusively by your firm’s sister pulp mill located in Woodland, Maine. The Woodland mill will use the imported sheets as wrappers for bales of sheeted pulp manufactured there (in Maine). Wrappers are routinely placed around the bales as protective outer coverings that will prevent damage during shipment. The wrappers and the actual sheeted pulp they are used to package generally consist of the same (or similar) type of material, but the wrapper sheets are larger. You explain that the Woodland mill, which has been making and using their own wrappers, would like to substitute a more durable version that the Quevillon mill is capable of producing.

You provide the following description of the method by which the wrappers will be exported to the United States from Canada:
they will not be packaged or secured in bundles during transit. We will simply stockpile the individual pulp wrappers in a stack and load them on a truck for transit to the U.S. A rough estimate of a stack of pulp wrappers would be approximately 3½ to 4 feet high. These stacks would then be loaded into the vehicle, probably two high, and then shipped to our Woodland mill in the U.S. 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 134.45(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. 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.

You state that the imported wrappers are only to be used as usual containers after importation into the U.S., and will not be sold in the U.S. market in their imported form.

Section 134.22(d)(1) of the regulations, defines "usual containers" as
a usual container means the container in which the good will ordinarily reach its ultimate purchaser. Containers which are not included in the price of the goods with which they are sold, or which impart the essential character to the whole, or which have significant uses, or lasting value independent of the contents, will generally not be regarded as usual containers. However, the fact that a container is sturdy and capable of repeated use with its contents does not preclude it from being considered a usual container so long as it is the type of container in which the contents are ordinarily sold. A usual container, may be any type of container, including one which is specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific good or set of goods such as a camera case or an eyeglass case, or packing, storage and transportation materials.

In this case, we find that the imported wrappers are considered to be "usual containers" as defined in section 134.22(d)(1) of the regulations. The only issue remaining is whether the imported usual containers, claimed to be goods of a NAFTA country, are required to be marked with their origin if imported empty.

Section 134.22(d)(2) of the regulations, provides in part that

A good of a NAFTA country which is a usual container, whether or not disposable and whether or not imported empty or filled, is not required to be marked with its own origin. If imported empty, the importer must be able to provide satisfactory evidence to Customs at the time of importation that it will be used only as a usual container (that it is to be filled with goods after importation) and that such container is of a type in which these goods ordinarily reach the ultimate purchaser.

In this case, assuming the imported containers are considered to be "goods of a NAFTA country" as claimed, and the conditions set forth in section 134.22(d)(2) of the regulations are satisfied, marking the imported wrappers with their own country of origin is not required.

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 Carl Abramowitz at 646-733-3037.


Robert B. Swierupski

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