Mr. Andy Hero Cheong
Nature’s Mark
2835 E. Walnut Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92831

RE: The classification and country of origin of artificial stone stepping stones.

Dear Mr. Cheong:

In your letter dated July 31, 2020, you requested a classification and country of origin ruling determination on behalf of your client, Walgreen Boots Alliance, Inc. The merchandise under consideration is described as a Butterfly Stepping Stone, item number 581824, and a Sunflower Stepping Stone, item number 581757. From the information you provided, the stepping stones measure approximately 9.92 inches in diameter by .78 inches thick. The face of the Butterfly Stepping stepping stone features the stylized image of a butterfly, while the face of the Sunflower Stepping Stone features a stylized image of a sunflower. You state that both stepping stones are comprised of 42% by weight crushed natural granite uniformly agglomerated with 35% by weight of polyresin. The applicable subheading for the Butterfly Stepping Stone, item number 581824, and the Sunflower Stepping Stone, item number 581757, will be 6810.99.0080, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “Articles of cement, of concrete or of artificial stone, whether or not reinforced: Other articles: Other: Other.” The general rate of duty will be 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 the World Wide Web at With regards to the country of origin, you state that the polyresin, paint, sticker, and epoxy resin components are manufactured in China, while the natural granite component is mined and ground into powder in Cambodia. From the information you provided, the polyresin, stone powder, pain, sticker, and epoxy resin are manufactured into the stepping stone in Cambodia. The "country of origin" is defined in 19 CFR 134.1(b) 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. 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). However, if the manufacturing or combining process is merely a minor one that leaves the identity of the article intact, a substantial transformation has not occurred. Uniroyal, Inc. v. United States, 3 CIT 220, 542 F. Supp. 1026, 1029 (1982), aff’d, 702 F.2d 1022 (Fed. Cir. 1983). Substantial transformation determinations are based on the totality of the evidence. See Headquarters Ruling (HQ) W968434, date January 17, 2007, citing Ferrostaal Metals Corp. v. United States, 11 CIT 470, 478, 664 F. Supp. 535, 541 (1987). With respect to the Butterfly and Sunflower Stepping Stones, we find that the natural granite powder, polyresin, paint, sticker, and epoxy resin lose their individual identities and are substantially transformed into a new and different article in Cambodia. Thus, the country of origin of the the Butterfly Stepping Stone, item number 581824, and the Sunflower Stepping Stone, item number 581757, will be Cambodia. The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise description as identified in the ruling request.  This position is clearly set forth in Title 19, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 177.9(b)(1).  This section states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in the ruling letter, whether directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect.  In the event that the facts are modified in any way, or if the goods do not conform to these facts at time of importation, you should bring this to the attention of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and submit a request for a new ruling in accordance with 19 CFR 177.2.  You should also be aware that the material facts described in the foregoing ruling may be subject to periodic verification by CBP.

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 Nicole Sullivan at [email protected].


Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division