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NY L87050

September 21, 2005

MAR-2 RR:NC:2:240 L87050


Ms. Diane L. Weinberg
Meeks & Sheppard
330 Madison Avenue
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10017


Dear Ms. Weinberg:

This is in response to your letter dated August 22, 2005 requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements for REACH  Access Daily Flosser. The ruling request is on behalf of your client Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company. The product is assembled in the Dominican Republic from U.S. components. REACH  Access Daily Flosser is a manual tool used in the same manner as dental floss. Plastic handles, flosser heads, flavoring ingredients and packaging material of U.S. origin are sent to the Dominican Republic for assembly. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review. Pictures of the REACH  Access Daily Flosser were submitted.

REACH  Access Daily Flosser consists of a toothbrush like plastic handle with an angled neck that attaches to a disposable plastic flosser. The product is used to remove plague from between the teeth. REACH  Access Daily Flosser and replacement flosser heads are sold with and without flavoring.

The plastic handles, flosser heads, flavoring ingredients and retail packaging materials are produced in the United States. The flosser head is composed of a U-shaped plastic component with a 16mm length of polyethylene yarn (dental floss) between the two ends. The dental floss yarn is imported from the Netherlands in spools. The dental floss yarn is permanently attached to the arms in the U.S. A substantial transformation occurs when the dental floss is cut and permanently attached to the flosser head. The flosser head remains a product of the U.S. The flavor is composed of mint flavoring, sodium saccharin, polyethylene glycol 1000 and polyethylene glycol 3350. The plastic handle, flosser heads, flavor ingredients and packaging materials are sent to the Dominican Republic for assembly.

Several assembly processes are performed in the Dominican Republic. The handles are printed with a REACH  logo. The handles are heat treated to permanently adhere the logo. The flosser heads are exported to the Dominican Republic on trees. The heads are cut off the trees and the edges are smoothed. The flavor ingredients are mixed together in a tank and transferred to a dip bath. Applicator blades are dipped into the bath and the flavor composition is deposited on the flosser head dental floss. The placement of the flavor on the flosser heads does not result in a substantial transformation. The flosser head retains its identity. A disposable flosser head is snapped on to each handle. The REACH  Access Daily Flosser and replacement flosser heads are sold with or without flavoring. The REACH  Access Daily Flosser and replacement flosser heads are blister packed together for retail sale. Replacement flosser heads are packed in blister packages to be sold separately.

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.

The "country of origin" is defined in 19 CFR 134.1(b) as "the country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the United States. 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 this part; however, for a good of a NAFTA country, the NAFTA Marking Rules will determine the country of origin." For tariff purposes, the courts have held that a substantial transformation occurs if a new and different article emerges having a distinctive name, character or use. AnheuserBusch Brewing Association v. The United States, 207 U.S. 556 (1908) and Uniroyal Inc. v. United States, 542 F. Supp. 1026 (1982).

In this case, the assembly process and addition of the flavor to certain flosser heads does not result in a substantial transformation. The assembled REACH  Access Daily Flosser or replacement flosser heads do not have a distinctive name, character or use different from the unassembled flosser head and handle, and therefore are goods of the United States for marking purposes. Accordingly, it will not be required to have any country of origin marking pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1304 when imported into the United States.

If a good is determined to be an article of U.S. origin, it is not subject to the country of origin marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. §1304. Whether an article may be marked with the phrase "Made in the USA" or similar words denoting U.S. origin, is an issue under the authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). We suggest that you contact the FTC Division of Enforcement, 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20508 on the propriety of proposed markings indicating that an article is made in the U.S.

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 Stephanie Joseph at 646-733-3268.


Robert B. Swierupski

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