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NY N019220

November 14, 2007

MAR-2 OT:RR:E:NC:N1:112


Mr. Steven R. Baker
Customer Specific Cables
1953 Stanton Street
York, PA 17404


Dear Mr. Baker:

This is in response to your letter dated October 30, 2007, 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. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review.

The item(s) concerned are computer patch cords. They are electrical cables used to connect a computer network hub to a user circuit in an equipment room.

The patch cords are comprised of communication cable, connectors and rubber boots which fit over the end of the cable and the end of the connector. The spools of insulated communication cable and the rubber boots are manufactured in China, the connectors are manufactured in the United States. Both the cable and rubber boots are imported into the United States from China at which time all duties and fees are paid. Then the spools of cable, the rubber boots and the connectors are exported to Mexico for assembly into computer patch cords. The finished patch cords can range anywhere from 6 inches to 200 feet.

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. Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134) implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

The country of origin marking requirements for a "good of a NAFTA country" are also determined in accordance with Annex 311 of the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA"), as implemented by section 207 of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat 2057) (December 8, 1993) and the appropriate Customs Regulations. The Marking Rules used for determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country are contained in Part 102, Customs Regulations. The marking requirements of these goods are set forth in Part 134, Customs Regulations.

Section 134.1(b) of the regulations, defines "country of origin" as the country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the U.S. 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 this part; however, for a good of a NAFTA country, the NAFTA Marking Rules will determine the country of origin. (Emphasis added).

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.

You state that the imported computer patch cords are processed in a NAFTA country "Mexico" prior to being imported into the U.S. Since "Mexico" is defined under 19 CFR 134.1(g), as a NAFTA country, we must first apply the NAFTA Marking Rules in order to determine whether the imported patch cords are a "good of a NAFTA country", and thus subject to the NAFTA marking requirements.

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.

Based on the information provided, neither 19 C.F.R. 102.11 (a) (1) or 102.11 (a) (2) may be used to determine the origin of the finished article so analysis must continue to 19 C.F.R. 102.11 (a) (3). Pursuant to 19 C.F.R. 102.11 (a) (3), the country of origin of a good is the country in which each foreign material incorporated in that good undergoes an applicable change in tariff classification as set forth in 19 C.F.R. 102.20, and satisfies any other applicable requirements of that section. In this case the patch cords imported into the United States from Mexico are classified under subheading 8544.42.20, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), the change in tariff must be made in accordance with section 102.20(o), Section XVI: Chapters 84 through 85, heading 8544.11-8544.70, HTSUS, which requires “A change to subheading 8544.11 through 8544.70 from any other subheading, including another subheading within that group, except when resulting form simple assembly.”

The patch cord(s) in question are comprised of 5 components, which are assembled in Mexico. Simple assembly is defined in C.F.R. 102.1 (o) as “the fitting together of five or fewer parts all of which are foreign (excluding fasteners such as screws, bolts, etc.) by bolting, gluing, soldering, sewing or by other means without more than minor processing.” As such we find that the processing that takes place in Mexico is a “simple assembly” process, thus the country of origin of the patch cords may not be determined in accordance with this provision.

Since 19 C.F.R. 102.11(a) (incorporating section 102.20), is not determinative of origin, the next step is section 102.11(b), Customs Regulations, which states, in part:

Except for a good that is specifically described in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule as a set, or is classified as a set pursuant to General Rule of Interpretation 3, where the country of origin cannot be determined under paragraph (a) of this section:

The country of origin of the good is the country or countries of the single material that imparts the essential charter to the good,

Applying the NAFTA Marking Rules set forth in Part 102 of the regulations to the facts of this case, we find that the imported patch cord is not a good of Mexico for marking purposes

Based upon the above factors, we find that the insulated communication cable is the single component that imparts the essential character to the computer patch cord. Accordingly, the country of origin of the finished computer patch cord, pursuant to section 102.11(b) (1) of the Customs Regulations, is China.

The wording shown in the included photograph “Assembled in Mexico” would not be acceptable. CBP has established that the phrase “Assembled in” is synonymous with “Made in” or “Product of” as an indicator of origin for goods produced as a result of an assembly operation and the country of origin of the article is determined to be the country of assembly. In this case Mexico is not the country of origin so “Assembled in Mexico” can not be used. The finish computer patch cord should be marked “Made in China” or “Product of China”.

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 Steve Pollichino at 646-733-3008.

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, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20229.


Robert B. Swierupski

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