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NY N015766

September 10, 2007

MAR-2 RR:NC:1:120


Ms. Sarah Hachmann
Access Business Group International LLC
7575 Fulton Street
East Ada, MI 49355

RE: Country of origin marking of imported water treatment system assembled in the US and China.

Dear Ms. Hachmann:

This is in response to your letter dated August 13, 2007 requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements for an imported water treatment system which is assembled in China from U.S. and foreign components. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review.

In the U.S. manufacturing facility, the water treatment base unit is assembled. The components of the base unit consist of a filter lamp assembly, which includes filtering elements such as the carbon block and the filtering material that surrounds the carbon block, and purifying elements such as the ultraviolet (UV) lamp and the printed circuit board assembly (PCBA). The purifying elements are made in Poland and China, whereas the filtering elements are of U.S. origin. Upon incorporation into the filter lamp assembly, the UV lamp and PCBA have no power source, and thus are not operational; however, the carbon block and filtering material will function as a rudimentary water filtering system. At this stage of development the base unit is classifiable as filtering and purifying machinery and apparatus for filtering and purifying water under subheading 8421.21.0000.

The base unit undergoes a simple assembly in China with additional components of Chinese origin, an electronic module and a pre-filter. The pre-filter is placed over the filter assembly when additional water filtration is required. The electronic module provides the power to the ultraviolet disinfection system. It also monitors the condition of the disinfection system and provides a visual and audible status indicator. The pre-filter enhances the operation and does not preclude the base unit from performing a filtering function. The finished item is still a water treatment system classifiable as filtering and purifying machinery and apparatus for filtering and purifying water under subheading 8421.21.0000.

The water treatment system is packed in a carton with a power adapter, diverter, hardware pack, and manual. The subject merchandise is considered to be a set for classification purposes. The essential character of the set is the water treatment system classifiable as filtering and purifying machinery and apparatus for filtering and purifying water under subheading 8421.21.0000.

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 does not result in a substantial transformation. The assembled water treatment system does not have a distinctive name, character or use different from the unassembled water treatment system base unit and therefore is a good 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.

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 Denise Faingar at 646-733-3010.


Robert B. Swierupski

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