MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 735009 RC

Mr. Hadley Robichaud, President
Old Hampshire House
R.R. #2, Brookside Road
Truro, Nova Scotia
Canada B2N 5B1

RE: Country of Origin Marking of Survival Kits; T.D. 91-7. Dear Mr. Robichaud:

This is in response to your letter of February 22, 1993, requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements for survival kits to be imported into the U.S. You submitted a sample kit packaged for retail sale.


Each pocket-sized kit contains approximately 40 items made in Canada (food, medical and survival supplies); one compass, made in Hong Kong; and one whistle, made in the U.S. The compass comprises approximately 13.7 percent of the total kit cost. The whistle comprises approximately 2.9 percent of the total kit cost. The kit is packaged in a can, then blister packed. We note that the sample kit contains articles marked with countries of origin different from those indicated in your ruling request. We assume the articles, if individually marked, will be marked to accurately indicate their origin as stated in your letter.


What is the proper country of origin marking for the survival kits according to 19 CFR Part 134?


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 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 134.1(d) defines the "ultimate purchaser" generally as the last person in the United States who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. The marking must be conspicuous to the ultimate purchaser. Here, the ultimate purchaser is the person who buys the survival kit at retail. The "country of origin" for marking purposes is defined by section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(b)), to mean the country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the U.S.

When articles manufactured in different countries are combined or assembled, Customs must determine the country of origin, for marking purposes. The country of origin is the country where the article last underwent a "substantial transformation", that is, processing which results in a change in the article's name, character, or use. Section 134.35, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.35).

Here, the combining of the survival kit items into sets does not constitutes a substantial transformation because the resulting product is not a new article in which the constituents lose their separate identities. Each item in the kit remains clearly identifiable. Therefore, under section 304 of the Tariff Act, the kits must be marked to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the foreign origin of the items contained therein.

The required marking is addressed in T.D. 91-7, which provides that materials of foreign origin which comprise sets, mixtures, or composite goods must be marked to indicate the country of origin unless substantially transformed. To the extent such foreign materials are insignificant, or would have no influence on the purchasing decision, Customs applies a "common sense" approach to determine whether marking is required.

In HQ 734737 (December 17, 1992), Customs found that drawer slides imported and sold as parts of furniture kits were subject to marking because, in terms of value, the drawer slides accounted for at least six percent and as much as twelve percent of the cost of the finished furniture. In HQ 555365 (September 7, 1990), Customs found that imported screws when sold with U.S.-made junction boxes were not subject to marking because, in terms of value, the screws constituted an insignificant part of the set, 2.3 percent of the total value.

Pursuant to the general marking requirements and T.D. 91-7, the survival kits must be marked to indicate that the components are of Canadian origin. We find the compass must also indicate that it is of Hong Kong origin. In terms of both value and function we do not consider the compass to be an insignificant component. The whistle, which is of U.S. origin, is not subject to the requirements of the marking statute since it is not of foreign origin.

If you decide to indicate that the whistle is of U.S. origin, then the marking will need to comply with the requirements of the Federal Trade Commission. We suggest that you direct any questions on this aspect of the issue to the Federal Trade Commission.

HOLDING: The survival kits must be marked to indicate that the components are of Canadian origin. The marking must also indicate that the compass is of Hong Kong origin. It is not necessary to indicate that the whistle is of U.S. origin. The header cards or the kit cans themselves may be marked "Components Made in Canada, Compass Made in Hong Kong" in a conspicuous location in at least five points. (A point is a unit of type measurement equal to 0.01384 inch or nearly 1/72 inch, and all type sizes are multiples of this unit.) In order to be conspicuous, the marking must be visible to the ultimate purchaser prior to purchase. Marking of the individual items is not necessary. However, if marked, it must be accurate.


John Durant, Director