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NY K81807

January 7, 2004
CLA-2-84:RR:NC:1:102 K81807


TARIFF NO.: 8413.91.9080

Mr. Brian S. Goldstein
Duane Morris LLP
380 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10168

RE: The tariff classification of a swash plate assembly for a piston pump from various countries

Dear Mr. Goldstein:

In your letter dated December 9, 2003 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client American Kleaner.

The articles in question are described as swash plate assemblies, part numbers 6401-266.0 and 6401-289.0, which are used in the manufacture of high pressure piston pumps for pressure washers. The assemblies consist of a swash plate housing, a swash plate ball bearing ring and a swash plate disk. The swash plate assembly is used within a piston pump to change the rotational motion of a motor or engine shaft to the linear motion required to drive the reciprocating pistons of the pump.

You indicate that the swash plate assemblies may be either individually packed in plastic bags or bulk packed. When the swash plate assemblies are bulk packed, presumably for convenience of handling and shipping, an importation will consist of an equal number of swash plate housings, rings and disks packaged separately but presented together in a single shipment, with a single part number used on the commercial invoice to describe the assembly, rather than the individual components. Based on this information we find that the swash plate housing, swash plate ball bearing ring and swash plate disk, whether imported individually packed or bulk packed, form an assembly having the essential character of a pump part.

The applicable subheading for the swash plate assembly will be 8413.91.9080, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for parts of other pumps for liquids. The rate of duty is free.

In your request you also seek advice with respect to the markings required to indicate the country of origin of the imported swash plate assembly.

Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that unless excepted, every article of foreign origin 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. Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134) implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions to 19 U.S.C. 1304.

Section 134.35, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.35), provides that a manufacturer who converts or combines an imported article into a different article will be considered the ultimate purchaser of the imported article, and the article will be excepted from country of origin marking. Only the outermost container will be required to be marked.

A substantial transformation occurs when an article loses its separate identity and becomes a new article having a new name, character or use. We find in the instant case that the swash plate assemblies lose their identities and are substantially transformed by American Kleaner when combined with other components in the manufacture of a piston pump. As a result, the ultimate purchaser of the swash plate assemblies will be American Kleaner. Therefore, pursuant to 19 CFR 134.35, when used by American Kleaner in the manufacture of a piston pump, the swash plate assembly is excepted from individual marking and only the outermost container of the imported article must be marked.

The swash plate assemblies may also be imported individually packed in retail packaging for use in after-market repair. Such repair is performed by special service stations as opposed to the consumer/purchaser of the pressure washer equipment. The repair service station operator will receive the swash plate assembly with its three components packaged together in sealed plastic see-through bags.

In this case, we find that the swash plate assembly is not transformed by American Kleaner, nor does it undergo a substantial transformation when installed in the pressure pump by the repair station operator. The consumer who brings his or her pressure washing equipment to the service station for repair is the last purchaser to receive the assembly in its condition as imported and, therefore, is the ultimate purchaser of the replacement swash plate assembly.

Finding that the ultimate purchaser of the replacement assembly is the consumer, we note that the parts of the assembly may not reach the consumer in their plastic bags and are not technically entitled to the 19 U.S.C. 1304(a)(3)(D) exception, which excepts from marking articles for which the marking of the container reasonably indicates the country of origin of the article. However, because the consumer, who is the ultimate purchaser, has the repair station operator install the assembly, the parts are not visible once installed into the pump and the consumer either never sees the actual part or sees it only after it is no longer functional and has been removed from the pump. Since the intent of the marking statute is to enable consumers to make informed buying choices, in this case, marking the sealed plastic bag is the best way in which to inform the consumer of the country of origin of the swash plate assembly. If the consumer is concerned about the country of origin, he or she can ask to see the bag before requesting the repair. Marking the country of origin of each component included in the imported swash plate assembly in a permanent, conspicuous and legible manner on the sealed see-through plastic bag in which the assembly is packaged satisfies the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 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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