United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2008 NY Rulings > NY N022750 - NY N022846 > NY N022765

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
NY N022765

February 20, 2008

MAR-2 OT:RR:E:NC:1:110


Mr. Shane Weir
AFL Telecommunications LLC
170 Ridgeview Circle
Duncan, SC 29334


Dear Mr. Weir:

This is in response to your letter dated February 1, 2008, requesting a ruling on the country of origin for imported optical fiber connectors. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review.

The merchandise under consideration are two styles of fiber optic connectors, designated as FAST Connectors “A” and “B.” These fiber optic connectors are comprised of three primary components, the body, the protection tube and a coupling. An installation tool called a wedge will be packaged with each connector prior to importation into the United States of America.

The FAST Connector Body A consists of two lower and four upper body parts of molded plastic, four fiber silica glass parts, two zirconia ferrules, two metal sleeves and matching gel, all products of Japan. This component is assembled in Vietnam utilizing an adhesive resin from the United States of America.

The FAST Connector Body B consists of three plug frames, three stop rings, a dust cap, and an LC cap, all manufactured of molded plastic and three metal springs. All components are products of Japan with the exception of one spring, which is a product of Vietnam. This component is assembled in Vietnam.

The protection tubes are cylindrical rubber boots manufactured in Japan. They connect to one end of the connector body and feature a short nylon tube extending out the opposite end.

The couplings are molded plastic parts manufactured in Japan in the form of a rectangular and cylindrical tube or sleeve.

The FAST connectors utilize a “push-pull-wedge” mechanism, which is a tool-like mechanism that clamps the optical fiber cable and connector together during installation. The wedges consist of three or four molded plastic parts, depending on the model, all manufactured in Vietnam. These parts are identified as the holder, lock lever and wedges.

In your request for the country of origin, you state that the individual parts are comprised of raw materials primarily of Japan. However, from the information you provided, the individual parts are in fact finished parts manufactured in Japan ready for assembly. The majority of the parts are clearly identifiable as connector parts. You state that these parts are sent to Vietnam for assembly into their respective component. You further state that the three respective components (i.e. assembled body, protection tubes and couplings) are forwarded to Mexico with the individual wedge parts for final assembly. The finished connectors are then packaged together with a wedge tool.

The assembly operation performed in Vietnam is not considered a substantial transformation because the process described is basically a simple assembly procedure of finished parts. No significant additional work is done or material added other than a single spring. The simple assembly of the three major components and packaging in Mexico does not result in a substantial transformation. Based on these considerations, we conclude that the assembly of the connectors does not constitute a substantial transformation in either country.

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 fiber optic connectors do not have a distinctive name, character or use different from the unassembled components. Therefore, the country of origin of the fiber optic connectors would be Japan. The country of origin for the wedge would be Vietnam.

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 Thomas Campanelli at 646-733-3016.


Robert B. Swierupski

Previous Ruling Next Ruling