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NY M83595

May 18, 2006

MAR-2 RR:NC:N1:121 M83595


Mr. Aaron M. Feinberg
Aaron M. Feinberg
1777 East 10 Street
Brooklyn, NY 11223


Dear Mr. Feinberg:

This is in response to your letter dated May 11, 2006, requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking of “Made in Mexico” is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported key blanks. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review.

The merchandise is key blanks used to make keys. You propose to mark each blank with a an adhesive sticker on the key head with the words “Made in Mexico.” We have not been able to examine an actual sample, but will assume that the sticker is sturdy enough to reach the ultimate purchaser.

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.

HQ 734062 of April 22, 1991 ruled on the marking requirements for key blanks. It stated:

In this case, the processing of grinding teeth into the imported key blanks, by using key cutting machines only constitutes a minor change to the key blanks and the creation of the teeth does not determine the essential character of the finished key. As imported, the key blanks have the appearance of an unfinished key and the processing of grinding teeth into the key blanks is nothing more than a finishing process, which although important, does not alter its basic character of that of a key. . . . This type of processing must be considered minor.

Based on these considerations, we conclude that grinding teeth into the key blanks by key cutting machines in the U.S., is not a substantial transformation, and in accordance with 19 CFR 134.35, . . . the retail purchasers of the keys are the ultimate purchasers. Therefore, the key blanks are not excepted from country of origin marking and must be individually marked.

The proposed marking of imported key blanks, as described above, is conspicuously, legibly and permanently marked in satisfaction of the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 and is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported key blanks.

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 Barbara Kaiser at 646-733-3024.


Robert B. Swierupski

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