MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 735192 RC

Ms. Kay Harvey
All American Golf
112 East Van Buren Street
Joliet, Illinois 60432

RE: Country of origin marking of imported golf club heads with a trademark or trade name containing the words "American" which will be assembled with the shafts to make the finish golf clubs in the U.S.; substantial transformation; trade name; ultimate purchaser; 19 CFR 134.47; 19 CFR 134.46; 19 CFR 134.36(b); HQ 735125; HQ 734327; HQ 734785; HQ 734249

Dear Ms. Harvey:

This is in response to your letter dated May 24, 1993, concerning the country of origin marking requirements for imported golf bags and golf club heads to be assembled in the U.S. with domestic shafts and domestic or foreign grips to make finished golf clubs. The Chicago District of Customs advised you to seek a ruling in this matter. We regret the delay in responding.


All American Golf, located in Joliet, Illinois, makes and sells golf clubs. It will import golf club heads from China and Taiwan. The golf club heads will be assembled with U.S.-made shafts and U.S. or Taiwanese grips in the U.S. to make finished golf clubs. Your company's trade name "All American Golf" and logo will appear on the retail packaging. During a telephone conversation, on May 26, 1994, you stated that "All American Golf" is a trademark registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and is the property of your company. You will attach "MADE IN CHINA" labels to the interior of the golf bags, three to four inches from the top. The golf bags are assembled in the U.S. from components of Chinese and Korean origin. No samples were submitted.


Whether the imported golf club heads (and, possibly, grips) are substantially transformed by their assembly in the U.S. with shafts made in the U.S. and grips made in Taiwan or the U.S. into finished golf clubs.

Whether the presence of the words "All American Golf" on the golf clubs or their packaging triggers the country of origin marking requirements of 19 CFR 134.146 or 19 CFR 134.47. 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 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.

As provided at 19 CFR 134.1(b), the country of origin of an article is the country in which it was manufactured, produced, or grown. Further work or material added in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other country the country of origin. A substantial transformation is said to occur when, after processing, an article emerges having a new name, character, or use. A manufacturer in the U.S. who converts or combines the imported article into a different article will be considered the ultimate purchaser of the imported article within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. 1304, and the article is excepted from country of origin marking. The outermost container of the imported article must be marked in accordance with the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and Part 134, Customs Regulations. See 19 CFR 134.35.

Here, the issue is whether the assembly of golf clubs from foreign-manufactured club heads (and possibly, foreign grips) effects a substantial transformation, such that your company is the ultimate purchaser of the heads (and grips) thereby excepting them from country of origin marking. Customs previously has addressed this very question several rulings and answered in the affirmative. In ORR 824-70 (August 24, 1970), we ruled that a manufacturer who purchased imported golf club heads, whether finished or unfinished, and assembled them with shafts and grips of U.S. origin into finished golf clubs, was the ultimate purchaser of the imported heads. Provided Customs officials are satisfied that the imported heads will be used by an original equipment manufacturer, they may be excepted from individual country of origin marking. To the same effect were HQ 728213 (July 3, 1985) and HQ 734136 (June 17, 1991). In each case either the head or the shaft was of U.S. origin. See HQ 735125 (November 17, 1993). A different conclusion was reached in HQ 734256 (July 1, 1992), where both of the major components of the club, i.e., the head and the shaft, were of foreign origin. There, Customs stated, "the grips are much less significant components as compared with the heads and shafts and their insertion onto the golf clubs is fairly simple."

Consistent with these rulings, we find that in this case, the addition of a major U.S. component - the shaft- in the U.S. and possibly a minor foreign component - the grip- to produce the completed "All American Golf" golf club effects a substantial transformation of the imported head (and grip). Therefore, your company is the ultimate purchaser of the golf club heads (and grips), and pursuant to 19 CFR 134.35 only the outermost containers of the imported heads (and grips) must be marked to indicate their country of origin. The finished golf club is not required to be marked to indicate the origin of the head (or grip). Marking the outermost container in which the heads (and grips) are imported and in which they reach your company would suffice to indicate their country of origin to the ultimate purchaser as provided at 19 CFR 134.32(d).

Under previous Customs policy, the presence of the trademark or trade name "All American Golf" would have required that each head be marked in such a manner that the marking will survive processing and be visible to the purchaser of the article after it has been processed in the U.S. As provided under section 134.36(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.36(b), exceptions from marking "shall not apply to any article or retail container bearing any words, letters, names, or symbols described in sections 134.46 or 134.47 which imply that an article was made or produced in a country other than the actual country of origin." The logo "All American Golf" which appears on the imported heads is within the class of words or letters so specified. Thus, the golf club heads would not have been eligible for the exceptions provided at 19 CFR 134.35 and 19 CFR 134.32(d).

Recently, however, Customs changed this policy so as to permit the ultimate purchaser to utilize a trademark with the name of a domestic locale on an imported article without triggering 19 CFR 134.36(b). In HQ 734327 (February 17, 1993), this office ruled that the trademark "Ray Ban USA" was not misleading to the ultimate purchaser of the imported frames upon which the mark appeared, as the ultimate purchaser (the importer) then substantially transformed the frames by inserting non- prescription lenses into them.

There, we noted that in cases in which the ultimate purchaser is arranging the importation of articles with a trademark affixed, which he owns, there is no risk that the ultimate purchaser will be misled as to the actual country of origin of the imported article. If markings which appear on the substantially transformed articles are misleading to subsequent purchasers of these articles, there may exist other legal remedies beyond the scope of Section 304 of the Tariff Act. Thus, 19 CFR 134.36(b) did not apply to require that the imported frames be individually marked. Accord HQ 734785 (March 17, 1993) (imported fire hydrant castings not misleadingly marked with "Beaumont, Texas" when substantially transformed after importation; 19 CFR 134.36(b) not triggered); HQ 734249 (June 28, 1993), ("Pro USA" logo stamped on imported golf club heads does not trigger requirements of 19 CFR 134.36(b) provided the U.S. processing substantially transforms the heads.)

In this case the imported heads/grips may include trademarks owned by your company ("All American Golf"). So long as the ultimate purchaser of the imported heads, your company, is advised of the country of origin of the imported head or grip (e.g., receives the head/grip in a properly marked container), the requirements of 19 CFR 134.36(b) are not triggered and there is no need to individually mark the head or grip with its country of origin.

To be eligible for this exemption from the requirement of individual marking set forth in 19 CFR 134.36(b), the importer must satisfy Customs officials that in all instances the imported golf club heads will be substantially transformed by your company in the U.S. Foreign manufactured grips imported for sale as replacement items must be marked to indicate their country of origin. See HQ 733185 (April 11, 1990).

Insufficient information was provided regarding the manufacture of the golf bags for us to make a country of origin determination. If you would like a ruling on the golf bags, you will need to provide a more detailed description of the processing of the bag components in each country along with samples and a description of the actual marking you intend to employ.


The above described golf club heads are substantially transformed in the U.S. As such, they are excepted from country of origin marking pursuant to 19 CFR 134.35. The trademark "All American Golf", when used in the manner described above, is not misleading to the ultimate purchaser and does not trigger the provisions of 19 CFR 134.36(b). This ruling applies only if Customs officials at the port of entry are satisfied that the imported golf club heads/grips will be used by the importer/ultimate purchaser exclusively in the manufacture of golf clubs as described above (i.e. combined with U.S. made shafts) and that they will imported in properly marked containers.


John Durant, Director,