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HQ 561765

April 16, 2002

MAR-2-05 RR:IA 561765 RFC


Mr. L.S. Holmboe
Ellis Manufacture Company
4803 N. Cooper Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73118

RE: Country of Origin Marking for Certain Castings

Dear Mr. Holmboe:

This is in reference to your request for reconsideration of an administrative ruling issued by the National Commodity Specialist Division of the U.S. Customs Service. The ruling number is NY F85318. It was issued on April 4, 2000. NY F85138 concerns the proper country of origin for marking purposes of certain castings. We regret the delay in responding to your request.


The product is desribed in NY F85318 as follows: The article is a casting of malleable iron imported from China. The casting is part of an Ellis clamp. Ellis clamps are used to make shores out of wooden 4 x 4's or similar lumber. The clamp is a solid rectangular collar with two heavy-duty malleable iron castings, which are scored on the flat surface for firm gripping. Two Ellis clamps are used to make a shore. One casting on each clamp has four nail holes for attaching to the lower 4 x 4 bottom shore member. The bottom clamp is slipped on the 4 x 4 and nailed 14 inches from the top. The top clamp is then nailed 2 inches from the top of the lower 4 x 4, making the clamps 12 inches apart. Another 4 x 4, the upper shore member, slides in next to the lower shore member. The upper shore member is raised to the desired height and the clamps are tapped down to seat them.

The article actually imported is the malleable iron castings or plates. In their imported condition, the plates have no other use than to make an Ellis clamp. Two of these castings are used on each clamp. Your company bends a 1/2-inch-round, mild steel bar into a rectangle. The castings are slipped onto the bar and the rectangle is closed and welded. No work is done on the castings themselves.


What is the country of origin of the imported castings?


The U.S. law relating to country of origin marking for imported merchandise ("the marking statute") is found in section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. § 1304). This law provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) 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 United States the English name of the country of origin of the article. See 19 U.S.C. § 1304(a). Products made in the United States do not have to be marked with their country of origin under this statute. The purpose of the marking statute is to allow the ultimate purchaser of the goods to know, by simple inspection, specifically where they were made in case such knowledge might influence his or her decision to purchase the goods (i.e., to permit the ultimate purchaser in the United States to choose between domestic and foreign-made products, or between the products of different foreign countries). See generally, United States v. Friedlaender & Co. Inc., 27 C.C.P.A. 297, at 302 (1940).

The "ultimate purchaser" is defined in Part 134 of the Customs Regulations as:

[G] enerally the last person in the United States who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported; however, for a good of a NAFTA country, the ``ultimate purchaser'' is the last person in the United States who purchases the good in the form in which it was imported.

19 CFR § 134.1(d).

An article of foreign origin that is substantially transformed in the United States is excepted from being marked. See 19 CFR 134.35. A substantial transformation occurs when an imported article is used in a manufacturing process or operation that results in a new article having a new name, character or use different from that of the original imported article. See United States v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (1940); National Hand Tool Corp. v. United States, 989 F.2d 1201 (Fed. Cir. 1992).

In the instant case, the imported casting after importation is merely attached to metal bars. The assembly that takes place is quite simple and uncomplicated. Other than the assembly to the bars, nothing is done to the imported casting itself, and the use of the imported casting is predetermined at the time of importation. Therefore, the attachment of the bars to the casting results in no change in name, use or character to the casting, and this simple assembly does not result in a substantial transformation of the casting. Accordingly, the castings are not substantially transformed when they are used to produce the completed clamps. This conclusion is consistent with past decisions by the courts and Customs Service articulating the well-established principle that in most instances minimal and simple assembly operations do not result in a substantial transformation. See, e.g., Uniroyal Inc, v. United States, 542 F. Supp. 1026 (CIT 1982), aff'd 702 F.2d 1022 (Fed. Cir. 1983); C.S.D. 80-111 (HQ 710564-September 24, 1979).

In light of the above, the country of origin of the castings does not change as a result of being attached to the metal rods. The castings remain a product of China for country of origin marking purposes. The ultimate purchaser is the person who purchases the completed clamp in the United States. Therefore, the imported plates must be conspicuously, legibly and permanently marked to indicate the country of origin as being China. As the castings are attached to metal rods after importation, the country of origin marking requirements cannot be satisfied by making the containers in which the castings are imported.

It has come to the attention of the Customs Service that the above-discussed imported castings might be imported with the designation or abbreviation for the state of Oklahoma on them: OKLA. If this is the case, please be advised that in order to avoid the ultimate purchaser from being mislead or deceived as to the actual country of origin of the castings, there must appear legibly and permanently and in close proximity to the designation or abbreviation for Oklahoma and, at least in a comparable size, the name of the country of origin for the castings (i.e., China) preceded by "Made in," "Product of," or other words of similar meaning. See 19 CFR §134.46.

In your above-mentioned letter, you raise the issue of whether there is a U.S. Customs Service regulation that requires that a company name must appear on imported merchandise. Please be advised that there is no U.S. Customs Service regulation that requires that the name of the manufacturer (or any other company name) appear on the imported merchandise.

In your above-mentioned letter, you allege that certain products are being imported into the United States and sold without being properly marked with their correct country of origin. Please be advised that your letter will be forwarded to the Commercial Enforcement Branch, Trade Compliance Division, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs Service, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington. D.C. 20229, where an inquiry will be initiated to ensure compliance with the country of origin making statute.


The country of origin of the above-described castings for country of origin marking purposes is China. Accordingly, the imported castings must be conspicuously, legibly and permanently marked to indicate the country of origin as being China. NY F85138 is affirmed in full.

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


John A. Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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