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NY M85284

July 26, 2006

MAR-2 RR:NC:N1:121 M85284


Mr. Harold Mason
Dexter Axle
2900 Industrial Parkway East
P.O. Box 250
Elkhart, Indiana 46515


Dear Mr. Mason:

This is in response to your letter dated July 6, 2006, requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements for imported trailer hub assemblies. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review.

The merchandise includes two types of trailer hub assemblies from China: a Hub and Drum Assembly and an Idler Hub Assembly. Both are described as grey iron castings, which are fully machined to size, painted and studded. Once imported, they will be transported to the importer’s U.S. facility where each hub assembly, along with two bearings and one seal, will be assembled onto an axle beam. The axle beams will be manufactured in the U.S.; the bearings and seals will be imported from China and Taiwan. The brake hub assembly will require an extra step in which a brake will be bolted onto a flange on the axle.

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.

Section 134.1(d), defines the ultimate purchaser as generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. 19 CFR 134.1(d)(1) states that if an imported article will be used in manufacture, the manufacturer may be the ultimate purchaser if he subjects the imported article to a process which results in a substantial transformation of the article. The case of U.S. v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., Inc., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (C.A.D. 98) (1940), provides that an article used in manufacture which results in an article having a name, character or use differing from that of the constituent article will be considered substantially transformed and that the manufacturer or processor will be considered the ultimate purchaser of the constituent materials. In such circumstances, the imported article is excepted from marking and only the outermost container is required to be marked. See, 19 CFR 134.35.

In this case, where the hub assemblies are assembled onto axles, we find that a substantial transformation has not occurred. The hubs do not lose their identity in the assembly process; the assembly operations appear to be minimal and uncomplicated; the use of the imported hubs has not changed as a result of the assembly operations; and the value of the hubs is a significant portion of the overall value of the completed axle assemblies. Consequently, we find that the ultimate purchaser is the U.S. purchaser of the complete axle assembly.

The country of origin of the trailer hub assemblies is China. Accordingly, the imported hub assemblies must be conspicuously, legibly and permanently marked to indicate the country of origin as such.

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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