MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 734906 KR

Mr. Javier F. Cabello Canales, CHB
Cabello-Canales World Wide
P.O. Box 748
Laredo, TX 78042-0748

RE: Country of origin marking of broom handle and broom head; after attachment; combining; substantial transformation.

Dear Mr. Javier F. Cabello Canales, CHB:

This is in response to your letter dated November 13, 1992, on behalf of your client, Rubbermaid Commercial Products Inc., requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements for broom heads imported from Mexico and broom handles imported from Italy which are to be combined in the U.S. A sample of the packaging to be placed over the head of the assembled broom was included with your submission. We regret the delay in responding.


Rubbermaid wishes to import blended corn/rattan broom heads from Mexico. The broom heads will be imported in boxes of 25 heads. The box will be marked "PRODUCT OF MEXICO". Rubbermaid will also import metal broom handles from Italy. The box containing the bulk handles will be marked "PRODUCT OF ITALY". The broom handle and the broom head will be assembled in the U.S.

Rubbermaid wishes to attach a plastic sleeve to the broom head will marked on one side in large print:

Rubbermaid Kitchen Corn Broom 3-row stitching keeps bristles secure

In smaller print below this the plastic sleeve states:

Rubbermaid Incorporated Wooster, OH 44691-6000 Assembled in U.S.A. from Mexican and Italian Components


Whether the handles are substantially transformed when they are combined with the broom heads in the United States in the manner described above.

Whether the assembled broom may be marked without specifically identifying the country of origin of the individual pieces, the handle and the head.


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 U.S. 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 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. Section 134.35, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.35), provides that the manufacturer or processor in the U.S. who converts or combines the imported article into a different article having a new name, character or use will be considered the ultimate purchaser of the imported article within the contemplation of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and the article shall be excepted from marking. The outermost containers of the imported articles shall be marked.

A substantial transformation occurs when an article loses its identity and becomes a new article having a new name, character or use. United States v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 at 270 (1940); National Juice Products Association v. United States, 628 F. Supp. 978, 10 CIT 48 (CIT 1986); Koru North America v. United States, 701 F. Supp. 229, 12 CIT 1120, (CIT 1988). Two court cases have considered whether imported parts combined in the U.S. with domestic parts were substantially transformed for country of origin marking purposes. In the first case, Gibson-Thomsen, the court held that imported wood brush block and toothbrush handles which had bristles inserted into them in the U.S. lost their identity as such and became new articles having a new name, character and use. The second case involved imported shoe uppers which were combined with domestic soles in the U.S. The imported uppers were held in Uniroyal, Inc. v. United States, 542 F. Supp. 1026, 3 CIT 220 (CIT 1982), to be the "essence of the completed shoe" and therefore, not substantially transformed.

In this situation, the broom handle and broom head are not substantially transformed after importation into the U.S. In HQ 733804 (November 9, 1990), Customs ruled that attaching a U.S. handle to an imported broom head does not substantially transform the imported broom head. Instead, the broom must be marked with the country of origin of the "essential element of the finished article." This was true "whether it is assembled with a foreign or U.S.-made handle." See HQ 732896 (April 5, 1990) (holding that a mop handle must be separately marked from the mop head because they did "not lose their separate identity" because the mop head is removable). But see HQ 734246 (October 21, 1991) (holding that the country of origin of a hammer is determined by where the head is made, and not the handle); HQ 723857 (December 1, 1988).

Customs policy is that in most circumstances, it is not acceptable for purposes of 19 U.S.C. 1304 to mark an article with an indeterminate marking, such as the legend "Product of or ". See C.S.D. 89-111; see also HQ 734505 (August 27, 1992).

Based on our consideration of these factors, we conclude that the broom head and broom handle are not substantially transformed in the U.S. as a result of the assembly operation performed in the U.S. Further, since each piece is imported and neither loses its identity after they are attached we find that the country of origin of both the head and the handle must be indicated on the plastic sleeve, such as: "Assembled in the U.S., Handle from Italy, Head from Mexico". See HQ 732896 (April 5, 1990).


The broom head and the broom handle are not substantially transformed in the U.S. by being assembled together in the U.S. as described supra. Both the broom head and the broom handle retain their individual identity after assembly, and therefore the country of origin of both must be specifically indicated by stating "Handle from Italy, Head from Mexico", or words of similar meaning.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division