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HQ 563298

September 1, 2005

MAR-2 RR:CR:SM 563298 KSG


Paula S. Smith, Esq. and Melvin S. Schwechter, Esq. LeBOEUF, LAMB, GREENE & MACRAE, LLP
1875 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Suite 1200
Washington, D.C. 20009-5728

RE: Country of origin marking of plastic parts; repackaging; 19 CFR 134.32(d)

Dear Ms. Smith and Mr. Schwechter:

This is in response to your letter of June 6, 2005, requesting a binding ruling on behalf of Alcoa Fujikura Ltd. regarding the country of origin marking of imported plastic parts used in the manufacture of automotive wire harnesses. Samples were submitted with your letter.


The plastic parts, which include connector housings, spacers and retainers will be manufactured in China and imported by Engineered Plastics Components (“EPC”), an affiliate of Alcoa Fujikura Ltd. The plastic parts are used in the manufacture of automotive wire harnesses.

The plastic parts are manufactured in China by an injection molding process. Plastic pellets are melted and melted plastic is injected under high pressure into a steel tool with a hollow cavity that forms the shape of the article. The plastic cools in the tool. The tool is opened and the finished part is ejected. You state that the Chinese manufacturer has encountered problems in including a country of origin designation in the molds. You state that the marking smears making it illegible, or on some of the articles, the seal is broken by the marking. You also state that some models are too small and there is insufficient space for country of origin marking.

Upon importation into the U.S., the articles will be shipped to EPC’s U.S. facility where some of the connector housings and spacers will undergo minor assembly operations. You state that the minor assembly would not in all likelihood, result in a substantial transformation. For the purposes of this ruling, we will assume that this conclusion is correct. Other components will not undergo any processing in the U.S.

The articles will then either be sold to customers in the U.S. that produce automotive wire harnesses or exported to Mexico, Honduras or elsewhere.

Upon their importation into the U.S., the outermost containers of the plastic parts would be marked as a product of China. Once the plastic parts are either subjected to minor processing in the U.S. or no U.S. processing, the parts will be repackaged in outermost containers that indicate that the goods are made in China.


Whether the imported plastic parts are excepted from individual country of origin marking.


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., 27 C.C.P.A. 297 at 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(d), Customs Regulations, defines “ultimate purchaser” as generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported.

You argue that the imported plastic parts are excepted from individual country of origin marking pursuant to 19 CFR 134.32(a) because they are incapable of being marking. Although you state that the parts are incapable of being marked, we note that all the samples provided are marked with a four-digit model number that is legible. You have not submitted sufficient factual evidence to satisfy Customs that the imported goods are incapable of being marked. However, we believe that 19 CFR 134.32(d) is applicable to this case.

Pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1304(a)(3)(D) and 19 CFR 134.32(d), an exception from individual marking is applicable where the marking of a container of such article will reasonably indicate the origin of the article. This exception is normally applied in cases where the article is imported in a properly marked container and Customs officials at the port of entry are satisfied that the ultimate purchaser will receive it in the original unopened marked container. Relevant factors regarding whether an article is likely to remain in its original container include the chain of distribution, the type of container, and the nature of the article.

When neither the imported article nor its container is properly marked, and the container in which an article is to be repackaged after release from Customs custody will be marked with the article’s proper country of origin, the provisions of 19 CFR 134.34 should be used. The procedures of 19 CFR 134.26 may be applied to articles properly marked at the time of importation that will be repackaged in retail containers after their release from Customs custody. See HRL 560024, dated December 20, 1996. Based on the facts submitted in this case, the outermost containers of the imported plastic parts are properly marked at the time of importation and the separate procedures of 19 CFR 1334.34 would not apply. Since the plastic parts will be repackaged, the requirements of 19 CFR 134.26 would apply.

Section 134.26(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.26(a)), provides in pertinent part that:

If an imported article subject to these requirements is intended to be repacked in retail containers (e.g. blister packs) after its release from Customs custody, or if the port director having custody of the article, has reason to believe that such article will be repacked after its release, the importer shall certify to the port director that: (1) If the importer does the repacking, he shall not obscure or conceal the country of origin marking appearing on the article, or else the new container shall be marked to indicate the country of origin of the article in accordance with the requirements of this part; or (2) if the article is intended to be sold or transferred to a subsequent purchaser or repacker, the importer shall notify such purchaser or transferee, in writing, at the time of sale or transfer, that any repacking of the article must conform to these requirements.

The certificate of marking to be provided by the importer to Customs is set forth at 19 CFR 134.26(a). It may be submitted in blanket form to cover all importations of a particular product for a given period, but the certificate must be filed at each port where the article(s) is entered.

The notice that shall be given to the subsequent purchaser or repacker is set forth at 19 CFR 134.26(d). Customs ruled in Headquarters Ruling Letter ("HRL") 560383, dated August 15, 1997, that imported automobile parts could be excepted from individual marking pursuant to 19 CFR 134.26(d), if the outer containers were properly marked with the part’s country of origin, and the port was satisfied that the ultimate purchasers would receive the parts in properly marked containers. See also HRL 562050, dated May 21, 2001. This case is similar to HRL 560383 and HRL 562050. The outermost container in which the parts are imported will be marked. The parts will also be supplied to makers of automotive wire harnesses. Therefore, provided EPC supplies the cable assemblies to original equipment manufacturers, and files a certification with the port director as indicated in 19 CFR 134.26(a), and provides notice to the original equipment manufacturers (who may resell the parts), as indicated in 19 CFR 134.26(d), the plastic parts repacked in properly marked containers may be excepted from country of origin marking under 19 CFR 134.32(d).


The imported plastic parts may be excepted from individual country of origin marking under 19 CFR 134.32(d), provided CBP is satisfied that there is compliance with 19 CFR 134.26 and the ultimate purchasers will receive the plastic parts in properly marked containers. Based on the facts presented, the procedures of 19 CFR 134.34 do not apply in this case.

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


Monika R. Brenner
Chief, Valuation & Special Programs Branch

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