Osmium-Institut zur Inverkehrbringung
und Zertifizierung von Osmium GmbH
Hllriegelskreuther Weg 3
RE: The tariff classification, country of origin, and marking of crystallized osmium articles from Switzerland.
Dear Mr. Saxler:
On January 31, 2021, you submitted a ruling request on behalf of your client, Osmium-Institut zur Inverkehrbringung und Zertifizierung von Osmium GmbH. Images and descriptive information were provided.
The items under consideration are made of 99.99995% Osmium created through a crystallization of raw osmium to wafer or cylindrical shape with a thickness between approximately 0.2 to 2.5 mm. They include the following items:
Articles Q1-Q9, "Square," are described as have a shape of a quadrangle. They are comprised of osmium that is crystallized on cylindrical substrates, resulting in a cylindrical, or ring shape. They are 2 mm thick, 1 mm to 10 mm in diameter, and weigh between .002 to 1.198 grams.
Articles A, "Bespoke," have a bespoke shape with maximum lateral dimensions of approximately 55 mm. The shape can be any shape which can be cut out from the "wafer" shape after crystallization with the wire cutting process. Examples of bespoke shapes include but are not limited to letters, numbers and zodiac signs. The weight of bespoke shapes varies with the geometry. Assuming maximum lateral dimensions of 55 mm, the weight does not exceed approximately 100 grams.
In your ruling request, you suggested a classification of 7110.49.00.50, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for "Platinum, unwrought or in semimanufactured forms, or in powder form: Other, Other." However, these are articles of precious metals (of osmium), and not semi-manufactured per Chapter 71, Additional U.S. Note 1(b), and are therefore precluded from classification in subheading 7110.49.
The applicable subheading for articles articles Q1-Q9, "Square," and articles A, "Bespoke," will be 7115.90.6000, HTSUS, which provides for "Other articles of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metal: other; other; other." The rate of duty will be 4 percent ad valorem.
Based on the information provided, the process of manufacturing commences with the crystallization of raw osmium to wafer" or cylindrical shape in Switzerland. The crystallized osmium is then wire-cut, certified and packaged in Germany. You state that the wire cutting is a minor and relatively inexpensive step compared to the complex and expensive crystallization process for osmium. Therefore, you suggest that the country of origin should be Switzerland.
Pursuant to Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 134) implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 134.1(b)), 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' within the meaning of this part." 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. A substantial transformation will not result from a minor manufacturing or combining process that leaves the identity of the article intact. See United States v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (1940); and National Juice Products Association v. United States, 628 F. Supp. 978 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1986).
Based on the facts provided, it is evident that a substantial transformation occurs when, the raw osmium is crystallized in Switzerland. Therefore, the country of origin for Customs marking purposes is Switzerland.
Section 134.32(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(a)), provides an exception from individual marking of articles that are incapable of being marked. Based on the information provided, the crystallized osmium is incapable of being marked because of its nature and properties. However, under 19 CFR 134.22 when an article is excepted from the marking requirements, the outermost container or holder in which the article ordinarily reaches the ultimate purchaser shall be marked to indicate the country origin of the article.
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 134.41(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.
Your proposed marking of the merchandise concerned, Made in Switzerland, is acceptable in accordance with 19 CFR 134.46, Code of Federal Regulations.
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, please contact National Import Specialist Sandra Sary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division