MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:S 558849 DEC
Mr. Herbert J. Lynch
Sullivan & Lynch, P.C.
156 State Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02109-2508
RE: Country of origin marking for firearms; Substantial
C.S.D.s 80-111, 85-25, 89-110, 89-118, 89-129 and 90-97
Dear Mr. Lynch:
This is a modification of our ruling letter dated February
17, 1995, which was written in response to your letter dated
October 14, 1994, on behalf of your client, Safari Supply
Incorporated (Safari Supply), concerning the proposed country of
origin marking for firearms that Safari Supply intends to import
into the United States. Since the articles will be manufactured
from component parts made in the People's Republic of China
(China), Safari Supply is concerned about the admissibility of
the firearms in light of the ban on the importation of munitions
from China imposed pursuant to Section 38 of the Arms Export
Control Act and Executive Order 11958. This modification
clarifies that the determination of whether these particular
firearms are subject to the ban is within the authority of the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
Safari Supply is an importer and marketer of firearms and
ammunition. Safari Supply intends to import an exact replica of
a Colt pistol, Model 1911-1911A1. The replica of the Colt pistol
that is the subject of this ruling contains components from China
and Germany. According to your submission, the barrel and the
magazine assembly are produced in Germany. The remaining
components will be manufactured in China. The Chinese component
parts are machined and fitted prior to being sent to Germany.
The external parts will be further finished in Germany and
subjected to a final polishing treatment involving a chemical
process that will impart the finished pistol with a blue-black
finish. You stated that this chemical treatment, referred to as
"bluing," enhances the long lasting firearm polishing process.
In addition to the barrel and the
magazine assembly that will be manufactured in Germany, the
German manufacturer will machine the serrations to the slide
component. After the external components are polished, workers
in the German factory will assemble the more than forty
components comprising the pistol, engrave the appropriate
markings and serial numbers, inspect the pistol for compliance
with government standards, and package the finished pistol with a
What is the country of origin of the finished pistol that is
processed in the manner described above?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C.
1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign
origin imported into the United States shall be marked in a
conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the
nature of the article (or container) will permit, in such a
manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the United
States the English name of the country of origin of the article.
Congressional intent in enacting 19 U.S.C. 1304 was "that the
ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of the
marking on the imported goods the country of which the goods is
the product. The evident purpose is to mark the goods so that at
the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where
the goods were produced, be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if
such marking should influence his will." United States v.
Friedlaender & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297, 302 (1940). Part 134 of the
Customs Regulations implements the country of origin marking
requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section
134.41(b), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the United
States must be able to find the marking easily and read it
"Country of origin" is defined in section 134.1(b), Customs
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
tion in order to render such other country the "country
of origin" within the meaning of this part.
A substantial transformation is said to have occurred when an
article emerges from a manufacturing process with a name,
character, or use which differs from the original
material subjected to the process. Torrington Co. v. United
States, 764 F.2d 1563, 1568 (Fed. Cir. 1985), citing Texas
Instruments, Inc. v. United States, 631 F.2d 778, 782 (CCPA
1982), and Anheuser-Busch Brewing Ass'n v. United States, 207
U.S. 556 (1908).
In this case, the only issue for consideration is whether
the processing of the pistol in Germany effects a substantial
transformation. The processing in Germany consists of an
assembly and finishing operation as well as a chemical treatment.
In determining whether the assembly of parts or materials
constitutes a substantial transformation, the issue is the extent
of operations performed and whether the parts lose their identity
and become an integral part of the new article. Belcrest Linens
v. United States, 6 CIT 204, 573 F.Supp. 1149 (1983), aff'd, 2
Fed.Cir. 105, 741 F.2d. 1368 (1984). Assembly operations which
are minimal or simple, as opposed to complex or meaningful, will
generally not result in a substantial transformation. See,
C.S.D.s 80-111, 85-25, 89-110, 89-118, 89-129 and 90-97.
The assembly operation requires the expertise and precision
of trained technicians so as to ensure compliance with
specifications. The failure to comply with these high standards
may put the user of the firearm at risk. Customs finds that the
operations at issue which consist of the manufacture of two
significant components and the assembly of more than forty pieces
to produce a Colt replica substantially transforms the Chinese-manufactured parts into an article of German origin.
The determination of whether this firearm is subject to the
ban on the importation of munitions from China imposed pursuant
to Section 38 of the Arms Export Control Act and Executive Order
11958 is within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, and Firearms.
The complex assembly of the firearm as discussed above
constitutes a substantial transformation. Accordingly, the
country of origin of the firearm to be imported into the United
States is Germany. The article shall be marked pursuant to 19
U.S.C. 1304 and part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134).
A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry
documents filed at the time this merchandise is entered. If the
documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be
brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the
Director, Commercial Rulings Division