Robert A. Calandra, Esq.
Attorney At Law
4 Henning Drive
Fairfield, NJ 07004

RE: Country of Origin Marking of Bicycle Parts to be Assembled into Bicycles in the United States

Dear Mr. Calandra:

This is in response to your letter of April 18, 2014, on behalf of your client Kent International, Inc. (“Kent”), in which you requested a binding ruling on the country of origin marking of bicycle parts to be assembled into bicycles in the United States.


Kent wants to produce bicycles in the U.S. and is in the process of setting up a bicycle assembly/manufacturing plant in South Carolina. Initially, all of the bicycle parts will be manufactured in China, shipped to the United States and assembled into finished bicycles in South Carolina. In the near future, Kent will begin manufacturing the bicycle frames in South Carolina from steel tubing sourced in the United States. In addition to the steel tubing, over time, Kent expects to source more bicycle parts in the U.S.

To manufacture the bicycle frames, Kent will cut the steel tubing from the U.S. manufacturer into different lengths for use as the top tube, down tube, seat tube, seat stay, fork steer tube, etc. Kent will then subject all of the cut tubing to quality control testing. Kent will then spot weld the cut tubes together to form the bicycle frame. After the frame is welded together, Kent will assemble a combination of imported and domestically manufactured parts into a finished bicycle.

You have asked us to address several questions, which are set forth in the Issues section below.


1. Under 19 C.F.R. § 134.1(d), once Kent begins manufacturing the bicycle frames in the U.S. from tubing sourced in the U.S., is Kent the “ultimate purchaser” of the imported bicycle parts that will be assembled into finished bicycles in the U.S.?

2. If yes, are the imported bicycle parts exempt from country of origin marking?

3. Can Kent mark the assembled bicycle with the phrase “Assembled in the USA,” or a similar phrase?


Section 304 of the 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 United States 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 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, C.A.D. 104 (1940). Part 134, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Regulations (19 C.F.R. §134) implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. §1304.

Under 19 CFR § 134.1(d), the “ultimate purchaser” is generally the last person in the United States who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. Under 19 C.F.R. 134.1(d)(1), if an imported article will be used in manufacture, the manufacturer may be the ultimate purchaser if he subjects the imported article to a process which results in a substantial transformation of the article, even though the process may not result in a new or different article. The case of United States v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., Inc., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (C.A.D. 98) (1940), provides that an article used in manufacture which results in the article having a name, character or use differing from that of the constituent article will be considered substantially transformed and that the manufacturer or processor will be considered the ultimate purchaser of the constituent materials. Pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 134.35, in such circumstances, the imported article is excepted from marking and only the outermost container is required to be marked. However, if the manufacturing process is merely a minor one which leaves the identity of the imported article intact, the consumer or user of the article, who obtains the article after the processing, will be regarded as the ultimate purchaser.

In order to determine whether Kent is the ultimate purchaser, we must determine whether the imported bicycle parts are substantially transformed into a new and different article of commerce at Kent’s assembly plant. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 735368, dated June 30, 1994, we examined a bicycle assembly process similar to Kent’s assembly process. In HQ 735368, the bicycle tubes and frame were manufactured in Taiwan. The other components of the bicycle were manufactured in several different countries. For example, the rims were made in France and the seat (saddle) was made in Italy. All of the components were shipped to Taiwan to be assembled into a finished bicycle.

In HQ 735368, we noted that a bicycle frame is an essential component of a finished bicycle. We determined that the imported components each lost their separate identity when they were attached to the bicycle frame to create a finished bicycle, which is a new article of commerce. As a result, we found that the imported components were substantially transformed in Taiwan. But see HQ 734478, dated June 14, 1993 (the bicycle frame is one of the essential components of a bicycle; the bicycle frame is not substantially transformed when other components are attached to it.)

Based on the information submitted that describes the assembly and manufacture of the bicycles produced by Kent both from foreign and U.S. components, we find that the foreign bicycle components are substantially transformed into articles with a new name, character, or use, when incorporated with U.S. manufactured bicycle frames to produce finished bicycles. Accordingly, Kent is the ultimate purchaser of the bicycle parts.

In accordance with 19 C.F.R. § 134.35, since the subject components are used by Kent in the assembly and manufacture of finished bicycles and are not sold separately in their condition as imported, they are excepted from individual marking. Only the outermost containers of the imported articles must be marked with the country of origin. The marking of the outermost containers must comply with the marking requirements set forth in 19 C.F.R. Part 134.

In HQ 735368, we stated that “because the bicycle is assembled in Taiwan and one of the bicycle’s most significant components, the frame, is made in Taiwan, we find that the country of origin of the bicycle is Taiwan.” Similarly, when Kent’s bicycle frame is made in the U.S. and the bicycle is assembled in the U.S., then the U.S. will be the bicycle’s country of origin.

We note that marking the finished bicycles as products of the U.S. is a matter under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission. If Kent wants to mark the finished bicycle with the phrase "Made in the USA," or a similar phrase, we recommend that you contact that agency at the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Division of Enforcement 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580.


The imported bicycle parts are substantially transformed at Kent’s assembly plant in the United States. Therefore, Kent is the ultimate purchaser of the imported bicycle parts, and the U.S. is the country of origin of the finished bicycle. The imported bicycle parts are excepted from country of origin marking requirements. However, the outermost container of the imported bicycle parts must be marked in accordance with the requirements of 19 CFR Part 134.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time the goods are entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the CBP officer handling the transaction.


Ieva K. O’Rourke, Chief
Tariff Classification and Marking Branch