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NY I88867

December 17, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:2:224 I88867


Macauley Kerr
Kerr Marketing, Inc.
931 Harvard Avenue
Billings, Montana 59102

RE: Country of Origin Marking of Golf equipment from South Africa; Tariff Classification.

Dear Mr. Kerr:

This is in response to your letter dated November 26, 2002, requesting a ruling on the tariff classification and the country of origin marking requirements of an imported tool used in the game of golf. Samples were submitted with your letter for review. They will be returned at your request.

In one instance, you propose to import finished golf green repair tool assemblies produced in South Africa. The imported tool assembly consists of a metal fork and a ball marker encased in an aluminum body with a back cover plate together with the necessary fastener components. The completed tool assemblies will be imported in individual polybags.

You also inquire as to the country of origin marking requirements when individual components required to make up a complete golf tool are imported and assembled into a finished and complete tool in the United States.

Regarding tariff classification, the applicable tariff provision for the golf green repair tool, whether imported complete and assembled or complete but unassembled, will be subheading 9506.39.0080, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Golf clubs and other golf equipment; parts and accessories thereof: Other, Other.” The general rate of duty will be 4.9 percent ad valorem.

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 provided in section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), the country of origin marking is considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

With regard to the permanency of a marking, section 134.41(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(a)), provides that as a general rule marking requirements are best met by marking worked into the article at the time of manufacture. For example, it is suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be die sunk, molded in, or etched. However, section 134.44, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.44), generally provides that any marking that is sufficiently permanent so that it will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless deliberately removed is acceptable.

You propose to mark the imported assembled golf tool units by imprinting or stamping the mark “South Africa” on the aluminum back cover component of the tool. You add that this same mark will be molded on to the back cover when the cover is constructed of plastic. This proposed marking is an acceptable country of origin marking as long as the permanently inscribed mark is legible and located in a conspicuous place, that is, a location where the purchaser would expect to find the marking and where one could easily notice it from a casual inspection. If this proposed mark meets the stated requirements, there is no need to mark any other part of the article. Marking only the polybags in which the tools are imported with the country of origin is not acceptable unless the Customs officials at the port of entry are satisfied that the golf tools will remain in the unopened, properly marked polybags until they reach their final recipient. Care should be taken that the UPC label on the polybag does not screen the proposed country of origin marking located on the back cover of the tool.

You have also requested advice on the country of origin marking required where the individual components of a golf green repair tool are imported for assembly into a complete tool in the United States.

Section 134.1(d) of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134) defines an 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 a 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.

In this case, the imported constituent parts making up a complete golf green repair tool are substantially transformed as a result of the U.S. assembly process, and therefore the U.S. manufacturer/assembler is the ultimate purchaser of the imported parts and under 19 CFR 134.35 only the containers which reach the ultimate purchaser are required to be marked with the country of origin “South Africa.”

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 Tom McKenna at 646-733-3025.


Robert B. Swierupski

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