Ms. Pam S. Eshleman
Warn Industries, Inc.
12900 SE Capps Road
Clackamas, OR 97015
RE: The tariff classification, country of origin and marking requirements for an air compressor accessory kit from Taiwan
Dear Ms. Eshleman:
In your letter dated July 1, 2008 you requested a tariff classification ruling. Descriptive literature and an illustration were submitted.
The item in question is described as an air compressor accessory kit. The kit is comprised of a nylon coil tube assembly, an air chuck, two valves, a stud, a coupler, an air blow gun, three gun blow tips, pipe thread tape and an air pressure gauge.
The nylon coil tube assembly is imported with fittings on both ends. It attaches to the air compressor on one end and to another item such as an air blow gun or air chuck on the other end. Its purpose is to route the air from the compressor.
The air chuck is a hand operated device made of brass and plated with nickel. It connects an air hose to the valve stem of a tire to be inflated. The chuck incorporates a valve mechanism to stop the flow of air when the chuck is detached from the valve stem.
The kit includes two male quick-disconnect hand operated valves made of zinc plated steel. These valves attach to the tube fittings and connect to the air gun and the compressor.
The stud is made of zinc plated steel. It is a fitting for the nylon tube rather than a valve.
The coupler is made of brass and is used to connect the tube to a valve fitting.
The air blow gun is connected to the air compressor with the tubing and attachments. It will be used to clean out tubes and pipes and for other air cleaning operations by shooting a jet of compressed air.
Three different size blow tips are included in this kit. The tips are attached to the air blow gun and will fit into various size holes of items that will be air cleaned.
The pipe thread tape is made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This tape is used to seal the threads of the pipe fittings and is not self-adhesive.
The air pressure gauge measures air pressure in tires after the tires have been filled with air from the air compressor.
You suggest the kit qualifies as a set and that the coil tube assembly imparts the essential character of this set. However, we find the air compressor kit does not meet the criteria for treatment as a set under GRI 3. The articles in the kit “consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings” and the kit is “put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.” However, the kit does not “consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity.” The components of the kit are not intended to be used together, but rather are designed to meet the needs of separate and distinct tasks. Therefore, each of the components must be classified separately.
You have proposed classification of the coil tube assembly under subheading 8414.90.4175, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for other parts of other compressors. However, the coil tube assembly is more specifically provided for under subheading 3917.33 HTSUS.
The applicable subheading for the coil tube assembly will be 3917.33.0000, HTSUS, which provides for other tubes, pipes and hoses, of plastics, other, not reinforced or otherwise combined with other materials, with fittings. The rate of duty will be 3.1 percent ad valorem.
The applicable subheading for the air chuck will be 8481.80.1050, HTSUS, which provides for other hand operated valves of copper. The rate of duty will be 4 percent ad valorem.
The applicable subheading for the two male quick-disconnect valves will be 8481.80.3090, HTSUS, which provides for other hand operated valves of steel. The rate of duty will be 5.6 percent ad valorem.
The applicable subheading of the zinc plated steel stud will be 7307.99.5045, HTSUS, which provides for tube or pipe fittings (for example, couplings, elbows, sleeves), of iron or steel, of iron or nonalloy steel, other. The rate of duty will be 4.3 percent ad valorem.
The applicable subheading for the brass coupler will be 7412.20.0035, HTSUS, which provides for copper tube or pipe fittings (for example couplings, elbows, sleeves), other, of copper-zinc base alloys (brass), threaded, other. The rate of duty will be 3 percent ad valorem.
The applicable subheading for the air blow gun will be 8424.20.9000, HTSUS, which provides for mechanical appliances (whether or not hand operated) for projecting, dispersing or spraying liquids…; spray guns and similar appliances;…: spray guns and similar appliances: other. The rate of duty is free.
The applicable subheading for air gun blow tips will be 8424.90.9080, HTSUS, which provides for mechanical appliances…for spraying liquids…: parts: other, other. The rate of duty is free.
The applicable subheading for the PTFE pipe thread tape will be 3920.99.2000, HTSUS, which provides for other plates, sheets, film, foil and strip, of plastics, noncellular and not reinforced, laminated, supported or similarly combined with other materials: of other plastics: film, strip and sheets, all the foregoing which are flexible: other. The rate of duty will be 4.2 percent ad valorem.
The applicable subheading for the air pressure gauge will be 9026.20.8000, HTSUS, which provides for non-"electrical" instruments and appliances for measuring or checking pressure of liquids or gases. The rate of duty is free.
Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.
This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).
You are also requesting the country of origin and marking requirements for this kit. You state that all of the components of the kit are made in Taiwan and the kit is assembled in China. Section 134.1(b) of the Customs Regulations 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.” The items of the kit are made in Taiwan. The kit is merely packaged in China. As such no substantial transformation takes place. Therefore the country of origin of this kit is Taiwan.
In regard to country of origin marking, you indicate only the tube and the air gun are both individually marked “Made in Taiwan,” but the other components are not marked with the country of origin. However, all the components, including the tube and air gun, are imported in their “clam-shell” retail packaging. You suggest the retail packaging will contain the statement “Packaged in China with components from Taiwan” or similar indication of origin of the components. You inquire as to the acceptability of this marking and request the individual components be excepted from marking. A marked sample was/was not submitted with your letter for review.
Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. 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.
Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. Section 134.1(d), defines the ultimate purchaser as generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. If an imported article is to be sold at retail in its imported form, the purchaser at retail is the ultimate purchaser. In this case, the ultimate purchaser is the end user that will receive the article in its imported condition.
Section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46), deals with cases in which 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, and those words, letters or names may mislead or deceive the ultimate purchaser as to the actual country of origin. In such a case, 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.
The purpose of the marking regulations is to prevent the possibility of misleading or deceiving the ultimate purchaser as to the country of origin. However, we find the proposed marking of “Packaged in China with components from Taiwan,” as described above, does not satisfy the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 and is not an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported air compressor accessory kit. The proper country of origin for this kit should read, “Products of Taiwan, packed in China.”
An article is excepted from marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a)(3)(D) and section 134.32(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(d)), if the marking of a container of such article will reasonably indicate the origin of such article. Accordingly, if the article will remain in its container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser and if the ultimate purchaser can tell the country of origin of the components by viewing the container in which it is packaged, the individual components may be excepted from marking under this provision. Accordingly, marking the "clam-shell" retail packaging in which the components are imported and sold to the ultimate purchaser in lieu of marking the article itself is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported components provided the port director is satisfied that the components of the kit will remain in the marked container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser.
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 Kenneth T. Brock at 646-733-3009.
Robert B. Swierupski