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NY I84544

August 15, 2002



Mr. John J. Kenney
Reebok International Ltd.
1895 J.W. Foster Boulevard
Canton, MA 02021

RE: Marking of Footwear

Dear Mr. Kenney:

In your letter dated July 22, 2002, you requested a binding ruling concerning the country of origin marking of certain footwear which you identify as a jogging shoe called CL AZTEC II.

You describe the scenario as follows:

The upper (with tongue and laces), sole and sockliner will all be made in China and shipped to the U.K.

The upper is stitched but not closed, (Lasting board is not attached).

The shoe will be lasted in the U.K. Final assembly will take place in the U.K.

You have supplied samples of the shoe parts as they will be shipped from China to the U.K. The parts consist of a complete textile/leather upper with a sewn-on textile tongue and an attached textile shoe lace, a combination foam plastic/textile insole, a cardboard “lasting board” and a bottom consisting of a multi-layered plastic mid-sole and an attached complete rubber/plastic athletic outer sole. The upper is unformed and, as we understand, will be closed at the bottom by the attachment of the “lasting board” and mid/outer sole combination. We understand that all the components of the finished footwear are supplied from China. We further understand that the Chinese components will be placed on a last and assembled in the United Kingdom.

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. Part 134) implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 134.1(b)) defines “country of origin” as the country of “manufacture, production or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the United States. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other “country of origin” within the meaning of this part.” For country of origin marking purposes, a substantial transformation occurs when an article loses its identity and becomes a new article having a new name, character or use.

General Rule of Interpretation 2(a) Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) provides that “any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished.” In this regard, the footwear components imported from China into the United Kingdom have the “essential character” of footwear (i.e. substantially complete upper and outer sole). The assembly of the shoe components in the United Kingdom does not result in a “substantial transformation.” The country of origin for CL AZTEC II is China.

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. As you suggest, either the marking “MADE IN CHINA” or “ASSEMBLED IN THE UNITED KINGDOM OF CHINESE COMPONENTS” will satisfy the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

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, Richard Foley at 646-733-3042.


Robert B. Swierupski

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