Aspire Group Ltd.
RE: The country of origin of jumper cables
Dear Mr. Carey:
In your letter dated September 13, 2022, you requested a country of origin ruling.
The merchandise under consideration, identified by part number JCBC1208B, is described as jumper cables. The subject cables are 8 feet in length and comprised of insulated copper-clad aluminum wire affixed at each end with electrical clamps. The cables are used to connect automotive batteries in order to recharge those with low power.
In your request, you state that Chinese originating, 14-gauge wire is imported on reels into Indonesia. In Indonesia, four of these wires are twisted together to create and 8-gauge wire. This wire is then insulated with PVC originating in Indonesia. Chinese origin electrical clamps are then added to the ends to create the finished cable.
In your request, you suggest that the Chinese wire undergoes a substantial transformation in Indonesia and the completed jumper cables should be considered articles of Indonesia. As evidence, you reference Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 562581. We disagree.
The “country of origin” is defined in 19 CFR 134.1(b), in pertinent part, 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 this part.”
For tariff purposes, the courts have held that a substantial transformation occurs when an article emerges from a process with a new name, character or use different from that possessed by the article prior to processing. United States v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., Inc., 27 CCPA 267, C.A.D. 98 (1940); National Hand Tool Corp. v. United States, 16 CIT 308 (1992), aff’d, 989 F. 2d 1201 (Fed. Cir. 1993); Anheuser Busch Brewing Association v. The United States, 207 U.S. 556 (1908) and Uniroyal Inc. v. United States, 542 F. Supp. 1026 (1982).
Further, in Energizer Battery, Inc. v. United States, 190 F. Supp. 3d 1308 (2016), the Court of International Trade (“CIT”) interpreted the meaning of “substantial transformation” as used in the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (“TAA”) for purposes of government procurement. In Energizer, the court reviewed the “name, character and use” test in determining whether a substantial transformation had occurred in determining the origin of a flashlight and reviewed various court decisions involving substantial transformation determinations. The court noted, citing Uniroyal, Inc. v. United States, 3 C.I.T. 220, 226, 542 F. Supp. 1026, 1031, aff’d, 702 F.2d 1022 (Fed. Cir. 1983), that when “the post-importation processing consists of assembly, courts have been reluctant to find a change in character, particularly when the imported articles do not undergo a physical change.” Energizer at 1318. In addition, the court noted, “when the end-use was pre-determined at the time of importation, courts have generally not found a change in use.” Energizer at 1319, citing as an example, National Hand Tool Corp. v. United States, 16 C.I.T. 308, 310, aff’d 989 F.2d 1201 (Fed. Cir. 1993). Furthermore, courts have considered the nature of the assembly, i.e., whether it is a simple assembly or more complex, such that individual parts lose their separate identities and become integral parts of a new article.
Regarding the origin of the subject jumper cables, it is the opinion of this office that the manufacturing process in this case is significantly different than that represented within HRL 562581. The Chinese wire, in its described state, has a predetermined function as a conductor of electricity prior to the twisting described in the ruling. Further, the twisting and insulating described in this request in not a significantly complex process which would render the Chinese cable a new and different article of commerce. As such, based upon the facts presented and established precedence, the country of origin of the jumper cables, part number JCBC1208B, is China.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 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 Luke LePage at [email protected].
Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division