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NY L87010

September 8, 2005

MAR-2 RR:NC:N1:113 L87010


Mr. Harold Averill
Corrigan Dispatch Company
Box 3610
1350 Cheers Boulevard
Brownsville, TX 78523-3610


Dear Mr. Averill:

This is in response to your letter dated May 17, 2005, on behalf of Ideal Division of Epicor Industries, requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements for an imported article, which is processed in a NAFTA country prior to being imported into the U.S. You have also requested the classification of the finished product.

The merchandise is a No-Hub Coupling, made of a corrugated, stainless steel sleeve, two hose clamps and a rubber gasket. The article is designed to connect hose or pipe. Your letter describes a process of assembly of six pieces. Each hub coupling is assembled in Mexico from components of US origin and a gasket of Chinese origin. First, the hose clamps are assembled by joining the screw closure mechanisms to the preslotted bands. Second, the clamps are attached to the pre-cut corrugated stainless steel sleeve by a rivet. Third, the neoprene gasket is inserted into the metal sleeve. The merchandise is marked “Mexico” on the hose clamp.

The applicable subheading for the coupling will be 7326.90.8587, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other articles of iron or steel, other. The rate of duty will be 2.9 percent ad valorem.

In your letter, you recommend that the hub coupling be marked “Mexico.” You also note that, to conform to ASTM requirements, the gasket is marked “Made in China.” However, country-of-origin marking for Customs purposes is controlled exclusively by the marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304). This statute 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. 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(j) of the regulations, provides that the "NAFTA Marking Rules" are the rules promulgated for purposes of determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country. Section 134.1(g) of the regulations, defines a "good of a NAFTA country" as an article for which the country of origin is Canada, Mexico or the United States as determined under the NAFTA Marking Rules. Section 134.45(a)(2) of the regulations, provides that a "good of a NAFTA country" may be marked with the name of the country of origin in English, French or Spanish.

The merchandise is a hub coupling, consisting, in its imported condition, of a corrugated steel sleeve, two steel clamps and a neoprene gasket. The clamps are assembled in Mexico from US-origin parts; the sleeve is US origin; the neoprene gasket is Chinese origin. When assembled, the Chinese marking is completely concealed within the hub coupling.

Part 102 of the regulations, sets forth the "NAFTA Marking Rules" for purposes of determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country for marking purposes. Section 102.11 of the regulations, sets forth the required hierarchy for determining country of origin for marking purposes.

On the basis of the information provided, for country of origin marking purposes, the country of origin of the hub couplings is Mexico. The question is whether the marking “Made in China” on the gasket invokes 19 CFR 134.46, which provides, “in any case in which . . . the name of any foreign country or locality other than the country or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced appear on an imported article or its container, and those words, letters or names may mislead or deceive the ultimate purchaser as to the actual country of origin of the article, there shall appear legibly and permanently in close proximity to such words, letters or name, and in at least a comparable size, the name of the country of origin preceded by ‘Made in,’ ‘Product of,’ or other words of similar meaning.”

In HQ 735368 of June 30, 1994, on the marking of bicycles assembled from parts from various countries, Customs held:

The prominent display of country names, other than Taiwan on the components, could be very confusing and misleading to the ultimate purchasers of the bicycles. If these markings on the components are not visible after the final assembly of the bicycle by the retailer then the problem is resolved and no further marking would be needed [emphasis supplied]. However, if the marking on the components remains visible after final assembly by the retailer, then an additional marking clarifying the origin of the bicycle would be necessary.

In this case, the sleeve of the finished hub conceals the marking “Made in China”. We conclude that this marking would not be considered to mislead or to deceive the ultimate consumer.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 181 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 181).

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 James Smyth at 646-733-3018.

Should you wish to request an administrative review of this ruling, submit a copy of this ruling and all relevant facts and arguments within 30 days of the date of this letter, to the Director, Commercial Rulings Division, Headquarters, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20229.


Robert B. Swierupski

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