Mr. Harold Grunfeld
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt
399 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022
RE: COUNTRY OF ORIGIN MARKING OF IMPORTED TONER CARTRIDGES
Dear Mr. Grunfeld:
This is in response to your letter dated September 21. 2007 on behalf of Dell Inc., requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking "Cartridge Made in China" is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported toner cartridges if another marking "Toner Made in Japan " appears on the article which is a country or locality other than the actual country of origin of the article. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review.
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 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 section 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 are 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, Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") Regulations (19 C.F.R. § 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and the exceptions of 19 U.S.C. § 1304. Section 134.1(b), CBP Regulations (19 C.F.R. § 134.1(b)), defines "country of origin" as 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 transformation in order to render such other country the "country of origin" within the meaning of Part 134. A substantial transformation occurs when an article emerges from a manufacturing process with a name, character, and use that differs from the original material subjected to the processing. See United States v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (C.A.D. 98) (1940). In determining whether the combining 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 that 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, 90-51 and 90-97.
The process that you describe, in which certain Japanese components, including toner of Japanese origin, are combined with various Chinese components in China to form a finished toner cartridge, does result in a substantial transformation of the Japanese components into a good of Chinese origin. We, therefore, find that the country of origin of the finished toner cartridges in this case is China, which is determined by the nature of the product originating therein. CBP has previously disallowed country of origin markings that indicate multiple countries since such markings do not indicate clearly the actual country of origin as required by 19 U.S.C. 1304. Consequently, your proposed country of origin markings, which indicate the toner is “Made in Japan” and the finished cartridge is "Made in China”, are unacceptable because they do not clearly identify the country of origin of the finished good. Please note, however, that CBP would not object to wording that the toner is of Japanese origin along side of the “Made in China” marking. For purposes of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 C.F.R. 134, the cartridges must be marked to indicate China as the country of origin and we would not object to an indication that the toner is from Japan, such that your proposed alternative marking “Cartridge Made in China with Japanese toner” would be acceptable.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 177).
A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Patrick Wholey at 646-733-3013.
Robert B. Swierupski