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NY L82458

March 10, 2005

MAR-2 RR:NC:1:104 L82458


Ms. Joan Jerome
Allied International
13207 Bradley Avenue
Sylmar, CA 91342


Dear Ms. Jerome:

This is in response to your letter dated February 4, 2005 requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking: WEBBING PRODUCED IN CHINA
ASSEMBLED IN INDONESIA is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported Ratchet Tie Down Model 82409. A sample of the label bearing this proposed marking was submitted. No marked sample of the article itself was submitted with your letter for review.

Tie Down Model 82409 is used to secure cargo to the bed of a truck or trailer and prevent it from shifting or moving. The article contains a ratchet mechanism which enables the user to tighten the strap and prevent it from loosening. Therefore the ratchet mechanism provides a mechanical advantage to the tie down.

In your submission, you include detailed data on the operations involved in the manufacture of the ratchet tie down and the costs related to these operations. The polyester webbing is manufactured in China and shipped to Indonesia in two pre-cut lengths. Each tie down requires one 26.5 ft. and one 1.92 ft. length of webbing. The ratchet and hook hardware is double sourced from Taiwan and China. The hardware is kept in a commingled state in the Indonesian facility until needed. The manufacturing steps undertaken at the Indonesian facility include: (1) securing one each of the two sizes of webbing, (2) rolling the long length of webbing into a tie down, (3) rolled length, along with the shorter length, sent to the sewing operator who will attach a completed ratchet assembly to one end and hooks to the other end and (4) finished ratchet tie down is sent to packing department. Once at the packing department, ratchet tie downs are placed in factory assembled cartons which are then loaded on pallets to be placed in shipping containers. The quality control department tests a representative number of the ratchet tie downs in order to ensure that the products meet the proper specifications.

Before addressing the proper wording of the marking statements, it is necessary to determine the article’s country of origin. Thus, the issue of “substantial transformation” must be first be considered. HQ ruling 562385 dated May 14, 2002 reads, in part,

An article that consists in whole or in part of materials from more than one country is a product of the last country in which it has been substantially transformed into a new and different article of commerce with a name, character, and use distinct from that of the article or articles from which it was so transformed.

In the case of the ratchet tie down, the webbing and hardware have lost their individual identities. When the hardware is assembled to the webbing, these materials become integral parts of an article (i.e. a ratchet tie down) having a name and character differing from that of the materials when first imported into Indonesia. The ratchet tie down differs from other types of tie downs in that it possesses a mechanism to justify its classification as a mechanical appliance in heading 8479, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for machines and mechanical appliances having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere (in chapter 84). In light of the above, the country of origin of the ratchet tie down is Indonesia.

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 also suggest using alternative wording such as “HARDWARE MADE IN REPUBLIC OF CHINA”. You claim that this would avoid confusion on the consumer’s part “since both Taiwan and China are both part of Republic of China”. In T.D. 80-253 (October 16, 1980), Customs ruled that articles from the People’ Republic of China may be marked “China” or “The People’s Republic of China” or “People’s Republic of China”. However, articles manufactured or produced in Taiwan must bear the official country of origin marking, i.e., “Taiwan” or “Made in Taiwan”. If “Republic of China” appears on the article, the country name “Taiwan” or the words “Made in Taiwan” must be adjacent to the “Republic of China” for the marking to be acceptable. It is not acceptable to indicate China as the country of origin for an article which was manufactured in Taiwan. Thus, the proposed alternative wording “HARDWARE MADE IN REPUBLIC OF CHINA” is not acceptable for hardware that was sourced in China and Taiwan.

Use of the country of origin indicators such as “Made in” and “Assembled in” in one country of origin marking statement is addressed in 19 CFR 134.43(e). “Made in” and “Assembled in” are similar country of origin indicators. It is contrary to this regulation to use “Made in”, “Product of”, or words of similar meaning, along with the words “Assembled in” in a single country of origin statement on articles of foreign origin imported into the United States. “Assembled in” may be used for the marking of an imported article only when the country of origin of that article has been determined to be the country in which the article was finally assembled. To use a statement such as “WEBBING PRODUCED IN CHINA HARDWARE MADE IN: TAIWAN, CHINA ASSEMBLED IN INDONESIA” would be confusing to the consumer as it appears to imply that there are multiple countries of origin involved.

As the Ratchet Tie Down Model 82409 under consideration is a product whose origin has been determined to be its country of assembly, i.e., Indonesia, the two proposed markings would not be acceptable country of origin markings. A conspicuous, legible and permanent marking such as “ASSEMBLED IN INDONESIA” or “ASSEMBLED IN INDONESIA FROM COMPONENTS OF CHINA (WEBBING/HARDWARE) AND TAIWAN (HARDWARE)” would meet the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR 134.

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 Robert Losche at 646-733-3011.


Robert B. Swierupski

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