Mr. Joseph A. Pitner
Economy Pen and Pencil Co.
710 Blue Ribbon Parkway
Shelbyville, TN 37160
RE: The tariff classification of pen parts from Germany
Dear Mr. Pitner:
In your letter dated July 24, 1995, you requested a tariff
The merchandise is seven various plastic pen parts. These
include: the two ends of the barrel, the center ring, the tip,
the clip, and the two parts that comprise the "push button" that
pushes the ink cartridge down. After importation, the parts will
be assembled with an ink refill and spring of US origin. The
pens will then be sold to the promotional market.
In our examination of the merchandise, we assembled the
parts along with an ink cartridge and a spring, and it made a
complete ball point pen. We therefore conclude that the seven
parts are parts of ball point pens. Complete ball point pens are
classifiable eo nomine in heading 9608.10.0000, HTS, as ball
point pens. Parts of ball point pens are provided for in heading
9608.99.4000, HTS. The United States Customs Service enforces
the tariff, but does not set, and cannot modify as you request,
the rates of duty as provided in the HTS. These rates may only
be modified by legislative action.
The applicable subheading for the pen parts will be
9608.99.4000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
(HTS), which provides for parts of articles provided for in
subheadings 9608.10, 9608.31 and 9608.39 (other than balls for
ball point pens). The duty rate will be 0.7 cents each plus 4.9
percent ad valorem.
Furthermore, although you do not address the issue, the
sample of the merchandise you provided is not legally marked with
the country of origin. U.S. Customs Headquarters has ruled, on a
number of occasions (HQ 734053 of September 20, 1991), that the
assembly of pens with American components does not constitute a
substantial transformation of the parts, and the completed pen
must be marked to indicate the country of origin. This is true
whether the pens are sold or given away as a promotion. We
suggest that you contact your local import specialist for advice
on how the items must be marked before you import them. Among
other things to consider are :
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 in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin
of the article.
As provided in section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19
CFR 134.41(b)), the country of origin marking is considered
conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find
the marking easily and read it without strain.
With regard to the permanency of a marking, section
134.41(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(a)), provides that
as a general rule marking requirements are best met by marking
worked into the article at the time of manufacture. For example,
it is suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be
die sunk, molded in, or etched. However, section 134.44, Customs
Regulations (19 CFR 134.44), generally provides that any marking
that is sufficiently permanent so that it will remain on the
article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless
deliberately removed is acceptable.
Section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46),
requires that in any case in which the words "United States," or
"American," the letters "U.S.A.," any variation of such words or
letters, or the name of any city or locality in the United
States, or the name of any foreign country or locality other than
the country or locality in which the article was manufactured or
produced, appears on an imported article or its container, there
shall appear, legibly and permanently, in close proximity to such
words, letters, or name, and in at least a comparable size, the
name of the country of origin preceded by "Made in," Product of,"
or other words of similar meaning.
In order to satisfy the close proximity requirement, the
country of origin marking must generally appear on the same
side(s) or surface(s) in which the name or locality other than
the actual country of origin appears.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177
of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 177).
A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry
documents filed at the time this merchandise is entered. If the
documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be
brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the
Jean F. Maguire
New York Seaport