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NY I87347

October 24, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:1:102 I87347


Ms. Shelley Vybiral
Snap-tite, Inc.
8355 Hessinger Drive
Erie, PA 16509


Dear Ms. Vybiral:

This is in response to your letter dated October 15, 2002 requesting a ruling on behalf of Snap-tite. The issue raised is whether country of origin marking is required on imported valve handles for use in the manufacture of valves. The subject valve handles are described as stainless steel and identified by part numbers 201D-0595, 201D-0929, 201D-0596, 203D-0596, 202D-0596-R, and 202D-0596. A representative sample was submitted for review with your letter.

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 USC 1304.

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 the manufacturer subjects the imported article to a process which results in a substantial transformation of the article. 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. Pursuant 19 CFR 134.35, in such circumstances, the imported article is excepted from marking and only the outermost container is required to be marked.

In your request you indicate that Snap-tite assembles the imported handles with other components to produce finished valves. You also explain that while the preponderance of imported valve handles will be used by Snap-tite in the manufacture of valves, two percent of the handles may be sold to customers as spare parts.

Based on the information and sample provided we find that the subject valve handles are substantially transformed into articles with a new name, character or use, when incorporated with other components to produce finished valves and that Snap-tite is the ultimate purchaser of such parts. In accordance with 19 CFR 134.35, the handles, provided they are used by Snap-tite in the assembly of completed valves and not sold separately in their condition as imported, are excepted from individual marking and only the outermost containers of the imported articles must be marked with country of origin.

However, not all of the imported valve handles are assembled into finished valves. Imported in bulk, they are commingled with handles that presumably will be repacked and sold at retail as spare parts. These minimal packaging operations are insufficient to effect a substantial transformation of the imported parts into a new and different article. Consequently, in the absence of a substantial transformation, the “ultimate purchaser” of the handles as spare parts is not Snap-tite, but the retail purchaser. Upon importation into the U.S., the spare parts must be individually marked to indicate to the ultimate purchaser their country of origin.

In this regard, we note that where the outermost container of the valve handles is correctly marked with the country of origin of the articles contained within, the imported handles , including those handles that may be repacked and distributed as spare parts, are excepted form individual marking at the time of importation pursuant to 19 U.S.C. §1304(A)(3)(D) and CFR 134.32(d), provided that the certification set forth in 19 C.F.R. §134.26 is executed, and the container in which the repackaged spare parts will reach the retail purchaser will be marked in accordance with the requirements of 19 U.S.C. §1304 and 19 C.F.R. Part 134.

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 Kenneth T. Brock at 646-733-3009.


Robert B. Swierupski

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