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NY J81470

CLA-2-84:RR:NC:MM:106 J81470


TARIFF NO.: 8438.90.9090

Mr. Peter Dow
ITW Food Equipment Group
701 S. Ridge Avenue
Troy, OH 45374

RE: The tariff classification and country of origin marking of various unfinished parts of commercial food preparation equipment

Dear Mr. Dow:

In your letter dated February 20, 2003, on behalf of the Hobart Corporation, you requested a tariff classification and country of origin marking ruling. You did not specify the country of origin of the subject goods. You included drawings and samples with your request. The samples will be returned to you.


The merchandise in question is as follows:

Hobart’s part # 69997, identified as an attachment hub. This cast iron part will be incorporated in to Hobart’s D-300 commercial mixer.

Hobart’s part # 479742, identified as a transmission case. This cast iron part will be incorporated in to Hobart’s A-300 commercial mixer and will contain operating controls, motor and gearing.

Hobart’s part # 873796, identified as a sharpener housing. This cast aluminum part will be incorporated in to Hobart’s 2000 Series commercial slicer. The sharpener housing is mounted on the top of the slicer adjacent to the knife.

Hobart’s part # 439021, identified as a gage plate mount. This cast aluminum part will be incorporated in to Hobart’s 2000 Series commercial slicer. The mount supports and orients the gage plate which is adjusted by the machine operator to control the desired slicing thickness.

After importation, each of these parts will be machine processed, including in some cases, drilling, boring, and grooving, then cleaned, degreased, primed and painted by Hobart to bring the article to its finished state. It is stated that the finished articles will be sold to unspecified parties as replacement parts.

You maintain that since the imported castings “undergo significant processing after importation” that they are articles of metal classifiable at the time of importation according to their constituent material in their relevant headings in Section XV of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). You cite Customs Headquarters ruling 962368 of August 26, 1999. This ruling is inapposite to the facts recited in this instance and does not apply. There was no discussion in that ruling of classifying articles as parts.

It is well settled in Customs law that a part is that which is needed to complete a good or that without which the good cannot function. An article becomes a part for tariff purposes when its identity as a part is fixed with certainty. Despite the additional machining and processes that these parts undergo after importation, their condition as parts of food processing machines is fixed with certainty at the time of importation. It is clear that these goods can serve no other purpose than as parts of the machines noted above. Furthermore, the additional machining and processing which these parts undergo after importation do not result in a substantial transformation of these goods in to new and different articles of commerce having a new and different identity. The additional processes merely result in unfinished goods being finished.

The applicable subheading for the various parts detailed above for commercial food processing machines will be 8438.90.9090, HTS, which provides for parts of machinery for the industrial preparation or manufacture of food or drink, other, other. The general rate of duty will be 2.8 percent ad valorem.

Country of Origin Marking:

You also inquired about the country of origin marking of these parts.

Section 304 of the 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. Congressional intent in enacting 19 U.S.C. 1304 was “that the ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of the marking on the imported goods the country of which the goods is the product. The evident purpose is to mark the goods so that at the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were produced, be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will.” United States v. Friedlaender & Co. Inc., 27 CCPA 297, 302, C.A.D. 104 (1940).

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134) implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations {19 CFR 134.1(b)), defines “country of origin” as the country of manufacture, production or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the U.S. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other country the “country of origin” within the meaning of the marking laws and regulations.

For country of origin marking purposes, a substantial transformation of an article occurs when it is used in manufacture, which results in an article having a name, character, or use differing from that of the article before the processing However, if the manufacturing or combining process is merely a minor one which leaves the identity of the article intact, a substantial transformation has not occurred. Uniroyal, Inc. v. United States, 3 CIT 220, 542 F. Supp. 1026, 1029 (1982), aff'd, 702 F.2d 1022 (Fed. Cir. 1983).

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 559847, dated January 2, 1997, Customs considered U.S.origin stainless steel sheets cut into strips of suitable width, which were further cut into surgical instrument blanks. The blanks were then heated and hammer forged into their final shape and size. The forgings were annealed and trimmed, and cold stamped to straighten the trimmed forgings. The forgings were then shipped to Pakistan where they underwent milling operations to cut the box, ratchet, and jaw serrations into the forceps; assembled; ground; filed; heat treated, including tempering and testing for hardness; acid pickled; polished; chemical cleaned; and buffed. It was held that inasmuch as the forgings resembled the shape and size of the completed instruments upon importation into Pakistan, the operations performed in Pakistan did not substantially transform the forgings into a new and different article of Pakistani origin. Accordingly, the origin of the finished instruments was determined to be the U.S.

In HRL 560441 dated November 18, 1997, it was held that German rough forgings of surgical and medical instruments sent to Hungary where they were machined, assembled, rough polished, heat treated and cleaned, did not undergo a substantial transformation in Hungary. Similarly, in HRL 561189, dated November 5, 1998, Customs concluded that surgical instruments forged in Germany and processed into completed articles in Pakistan were a product of Germany.

We find the finishing processes performed in the United States in this case to be not dissimilar to those considered in HRL 559847, HRL 560441 and HRL 561189. Accordingly, pursuant to those rulings, we find that the instant castings do not undergo a substantial transformation in the United States, and therefore, the country of origin of the imported products will be the country of origin of the original casting. We note that, prior to the operations performed in the United States, each casting has the final shape of the finished good. As in HRL 560441, HRL 561189 and HRL 559847, the castings are not changed in the United States to such a degree as to result in a new and different article with a new name, character or use.

Given this fact set and noting that the finished products will be sold, after processing by Hobart, as replacement parts to unspecified parties, there are no exceptions that may be invoked to exclude the individual castings from country of origin marking. Accordingly, the individual castings must be marked with the country or origin in a conspicuous place and in a legible, indelible and permanent manner. Die-casting would appear to be the best expedient to accomplish this requirement. 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 Patrick J. Wholey at 646-733-3013.


Robert B. Swierupski

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