Mr. Robert Doyle
411, des Recollets
Montreal, QC, H2Y 1W3
RE: The tariff classification and country of origin of plastic backed aluminum foil
Dear Mr. Doyle:
In your letter dated May 18, 2018, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client, Winpak Heat Seal Packaging, Inc.
A sample and technical information was included with your inquiry. The sample was submitted to the U.S. Customs Laboratory for analysis. The product to be imported is described as aluminum alloy foil, not printed, backed with multiple plastic resins including polyethylene on one side and coated with printing primer on the other side. The imported product is produced in Canada from foil originating in France or Luxembourg. It is identified as DF 13TC-474 and will be imported in coil form. Following the first step of the backing of the raw aluminum foil with plastic and coating with printer primer, the second step is the slitting of the coils to the widths required for printing presses. The purpose of the foil after importation is to be further produced into printed foil top lids for individual coffee cup products.
The applicable subheading for the unprinted backed aluminum foil will be 7607.20.5000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for aluminum foil (whether or not printed, or backed with paper, paperboard, plastics or similar backing materials) of a thickness (excluding any backing) not exceeding 0.2 mm: Backed: Other. The rate of duty will be free.
In addition to classification, your request includes references to country of origin marking of the backed aluminum.
Section 304 of the 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 container) will permit in such a manner as to indicate to an ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin of the article. The regulations implementing the requirements and exception to 19 U.S.C. 1304 are set forth in Part 134, Customs and Border Protection Regulations (19 C.F.R. Part 134).
19 C.F.R. 134.1(b) provides as follows:
Country of origin means 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; however, for a good of a NAFTA country, the NAFTA Marking Rules will determine the country of origin.
Since Canada is a NAFTA country, the NAFTA Marking Rules must be applied in this case for purposes of determining the country of origin for purposes of marking.
Part 102, Customs and Border Protection Regulations (19 C.F.R. Part 102), sets forth the NAFTA Marking Rules. Section 102.11 provides a required hierarchy for determining the country of origin of a good for marking purposes. See 19 C.F.R. 102.11. Applied in sequential order, the required hierarchy establishes that the country of origin of a good is the country in which:
(a)(1) The good is wholly obtained or produced;
(a)(2) The good is produced exclusively from domestic materials; or
(a)(3) Each foreign material incorporated in that good undergoes an applicable change in tariff classification set out in Section 102.20 and satisfies any other applicable requirements of that section, and all other applicable requirements of these rules are satisfied.
Sections 102.11(a)(1) and 102.11(a)(2) do not apply to the facts presented in this case because the imported bare aluminum foil is neither wholly obtained nor produced exclusively from "domestic" (Canadian, in this case) materials. Because the analysis of sections 102.11(a)(1) and 102.11(a)(2) does not yield a country of origin determination, we look to section 102.11(a)(3). "Foreign material" is defined in 19 C.F.R. 102.1(e) as "a material whose country of origin as determined under these rules is not the same country as the country in which the good is produced." The applicable rule for subheading 7607.20.5000, HTSUS, in section 102.20 requires: a change to heading 7606 through 7615 from any other heading including another heading within that group.
The bare aluminum foil from France or Luxembourg is classified in heading 7607 and therefore the 102 rule is not satisfied. The single material which imparts the essential character to the product to be imported would be the aluminum foil produced in France or Luxembourg. The country of origin for marking purposes would then be France or Luxembourg. Therefore your reference to a marking of "Produced in Canada" or "Assembled in Canada from components of France" would not be correct.
On March 8, 2018, Presidential proclamations 9704 and 9705 imposed additional tariffs and quotas on a number of steel and aluminum mill products. Exemptions have been made on a temporary basis for some countries. Quantitative limitations or quotas may apply for certain exempted countries and can also be found in Chapter 99. Additional duties for steel of 25 percent and for aluminum of 10 percent are reflected in Chapter 99, subheading 9903.80.01 for steel and subheading 9903.85.01 for aluminum. Products classified under subheading 7607.20.5000, HTSUS, may be subject to additional duties or quota. At the time of importation, you must report the Chapter 99 subheading applicable to your product classification in addition to the Chapter 72, 73 or 76 subheading listed above. The Proclamations are subject to periodic amendment of the exclusions, so you should exercise reasonable care in monitoring the status of goods covered by the Proclamations and the applicable Chapter 99 subheadings.
The 19 C.F.R. 102 rules are not used to determine origin for purposes of the Presidential Proclamation. The 102 marking rules do however continue to be applicable for purposes of country of origin marking of NAFTA goods, as defined in 19 C.F.R. 134.1.
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 the World Wide Web at https://hts.usitc.gov/current. 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 Mary Ellen Laker at email@example.com.
Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division