Mr. Brendan LaCorte
Top Notch Merchandise LLC
247 Skyline Lake Drive
Ringwood, New Jersey 07456
RE: The tariff classification and country of origin marking of a Wraptor Claw from China
Dear Mr. LaCorte:
In your letter dated August 19, 2020, you requested a tariff classification ruling for a Wraptor Claw. Photographs of the subject articles in use and the retail packaging were submitted for our review.
The article under consideration is identified as the Wraptor Claw. The Wraptor Claw is described as a lifting device to help the user with carrying heavy items which include drywall, buckets, plywood, propane tanks, gas cans, cement boards, construction material and farming material. You stated that "The product attaches to your wrist and has metal bars that protrude out to help the user pick up the objects. The part of the product that wraps around your wrist is made of nylon and the metal bars are made of carbon steel."
The Wraptor Claw consists of a nylon wrist band/strap and a steel bar/handle. The nylon and steel components are classified in different headings. Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Since no one heading in the tariff schedules covers the nylon and steel components of the Wraptor Claw in combination, GRI 1 cannot be used as a basis for classification. GRI 3(b) provides that mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character.
As the Wraptor Claw is a composite good, we must apply rule GRI 3(b), which provides that composite goods are to be classified according to the component that gives the goods their essential character. EN VIII to GRI 3(b) explains that "the factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or the use of the goods." We must determine whether the nylon or steel component imparts the essential character to the Wraptor Claw under consideration. It is the role of the constituent materials or components in relation to the use of the good that imparts the essential character. In this case, the function of the steel bar is to help the user pick up/lift heavy objects and to act as a handle for the purpose of carrying a heavy object. Therefore, it is the opinion of this office that the steel component imparts the essential character to the Wraptor Claw. In accordance with GRI 3 (b), the Wraptor Claw will be classified as an other article of steel classifiable in heading 7326, HTSUS, which provides for other articles of iron or steel.
The applicable subheading for the Wraptor Claw will be 7326.90.8688, HTSUS, which provides for other articles of iron or steel, other, other...other. The rate of duty will be 2.9 percent ad valorem.
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.
Pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, products of China classified under subheading 7326.90.8688, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 25 percent ad valorem rate of duty. At the time of importation, you must report the Chapter 99 subheading, i.e., 9903.88.03, in addition to subheading 7326.90.8688, HTSUS, listed above.
The HTSUS is subject to periodic amendment so you should exercise reasonable care in monitoring the status of goods covered by the Note cited above and the applicable Chapter 99 subheading. For background information regarding the trade remedy initiated pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, you may refer to the relevant parts of the USTR and CBP websites, which are available at https://ustr.gov/issue-areas/enforcement/section-301-investigations/tariff-actions and https://www.cbp.gov/trade/remedies/301-certain-products-china, respectively.
You also inquired about the country of origin marking for the Wraptor Claw. You indicated in your letter that you have attached an image of your packaging and asked that we inform you of any issues with your proposed country of origin labeling on the product packaging.
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 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46), deals with cases 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, 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. 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.
In the picture of the packaging of the Wraptor Claw submitted with your ruling request, the words "Made in China" are printed below the UPC label in the lower right hand corner. The words "Distributed by Top Notch Merchandise LLC Ringwood, NJ, 07456" are printed in the center of the same lower line of the packaging as the words "Made in China". We note that the letter size of the country of origin ("Made in China") is relatively smaller than the letter size of the U.S. locality "Ringwood, NJ".
As indicated above, section 134.46 requires that in any case where a U.S. locality appears on an imported article or its container, there shall appear in at least comparable size, the name of the country of origin. However, the letter size of the words "Made in China" is relatively smaller than letter size of the U.S. locality "Ringwood, NJ".
Therefore, marking the subject packaging with the country of origin ("Made in China") in close proximity to the name of the U.S. locality "Ringwood, NJ" using letters that are relatively smaller does not satisfy the comparable size requirement of the marking regulation at section 19 CFR 134.46. In this case, the country of origin marking must be enlarged so that the difference between the two markings is comparable. In the opinion of our office, the proposed marking of the imported Wraptor Claw does not satisfy the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 and is therefore, not an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported Wraptor Claw.
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 Ann Taub at email@example.com.
Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division