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NY I86673

October 11, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:MM:101 I86673


Mr. Donald S. Simpson
Barthco Trade Consultants
7575 Holstein Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19153


Dear Mr. Simpson:

This is in response to your letter dated September 16, 2002 requesting a ruling on whether imported Base Plates are required to be individually marked with the country of origin if it is later to be processed in the U.S. by a U.S. manufacturer, American Tool & Machining Company, Inc. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review.

In your request for exemption from marking requirements you state that Southland Metals, Inc. imports Item # 623510, a Base Plate. Southland sells these components to their customer American Tool & Machining Company, Inc. for assembly into trailer hitches.

You state that for each imported part American Tool is the sole recipient and has full knowledge that the country of origin of these parts is China and Brazil. American Tool assembles the parts into a complete item.

You further state, that based upon this information, you are requesting a waiver from marking of this imported part. Because of the assembly operations performed by American Tool you state that you believe that American Tool should be considered the ultimate purchaser. The imported part is used in the assembly process of a trailer hitch and is not stocked or sold as an individual repair or replacement item. American Tool will be the last user in the United States of these parts in the form in which they were imported. As such, American Tool will be the ultimate purchaser and will, according the affidavit submitted, know the country of origin of the base plate.

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. 19 CFR 134.1(d)(1) states that if an imported article will be used in manufacture, the manufacturer may be the ultimate purchaser if he subjects the imported article to a process which results in a substantial transformation of the article. The case of U.S. v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., Inc., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (C.A.D. 98) (1940), provides that an article used in manufacture which results in an article having a name, character or use differing from that of the constituent article will be considered substantially transformed and that the manufacturer or processor will be considered the ultimate purchaser of the constituent materials. In such circumstances, the imported article is excepted from marking and only the outermost container is required to be marked. See, 19 CFR 134.35.

In this case, the imported Base Plate is substantially transformed as a result of the U.S. processing, and therefore the U.S. manufacturer is the ultimate purchaser of the imported Base Plate and under 19 CFR 134.35 only the containers which reach the ultimate purchaser are required to be marked with the country of origin "China or Brazil".

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 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 Robert DeSoucey at 646-733-3008.


Robert B. Swierupski

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