Aspire Group NA Ltd.
1-498 Markland Street
Markham, ON L6C1Z6
RE: The country of origin of jumper cables
Dear Mr. Carey:
In your letter dated November 9, 2022, you requested a country of origin ruling.
The merchandise under consideration, identified by part number JCBC1208B, is described as jumper cables. You state that the subject cables are 8-feet in length and comprised of insulated copper-clad aluminum wire affixed at each end with electrical clamps. The cables are used to connect automotive batteries in order to recharge those with low power.
In your request, you state that Chinese originating single-stranded .033mm copper-clad aluminum wire is imported into Indonesia. In Indonesia, 100 strands of wire are twisted together to create an 8-gauge cable. This cable is then insulated with Indonesian originating PVC before Chinese clamps are added to each end. The finished cables are then tested for functionality and packaged for retail sale.
We note that we have previously ruled on the origin of this model of jumper cable assembly, which you filed under Ruling N328140. In that case, the wire imported from China was twisted and bunched into a 14-gauge cable prior to importation into Indonesia. In Indonesia, only four complete, twisted 14-gauge wires were twisted together to create an 8-gauge cable. This differs significantly from the current case, in which over 100 individual wires are twisted together and insulated in Indonesia to fully create the 8-gauge cable.
The "country of origin" is defined in 19 CFR 134.1(b), in pertinent part, 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."
For tariff purposes, 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).
Further, in Energizer Battery, Inc. v. United States, 190 F. Supp. 3d 1308 (2016), the Court of International Trade ("CIT") interpreted the meaning of "substantial transformation" as used in the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 ("TAA") for purposes of government procurement. In Energizer, the court reviewed the "name, character and use" test in determining whether a substantial transformation had occurred in determining the origin of a flashlight and reviewed various court decisions involving substantial transformation determinations. The court noted, citing Uniroyal, Inc. v. United States, 3 C.I.T. 220, 226, 542 F. Supp. 1026, 1031, aff'd, 702 F.2d 1022 (Fed. Cir. 1983), that when "the post-importation processing consists of assembly, courts have been reluctant to find a change in character, particularly when the imported articles do not undergo a physical change." Energizer at 1318. In addition, the court noted, "when the end-use was pre-determined at the time of importation, courts have generally not found a change in use." Energizer at 1319, citing as an example, National Hand Tool Corp. v. United States, 16 C.I.T. 308, 310, aff'd 989 F.2d 1201 (Fed. Cir. 1993). Furthermore, courts have considered the nature of the assembly, i.e., whether it is a simple assembly or more complex, such that individual parts lose their separate identities and become integral parts of a new article.
Regarding the origin of the subject cables, in our view, the twisting and insulation of the individual wires in Indonesia effects a substantial transformation that changes the name, character, and use of the Chinese wires. This twisting and insulation process substantially changes the electrical properties and capabilities of the individual strands. We note Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 562581 states that the bunching and insulation of individual strands constitutes a substantial transformation. In our view, this case is distinguishable from N328140 as that case involved the twisting together of four complete 14-gauge cables with established electrical properties consistent with the use of the finished product. The current case involves the twisting of over 100 individual strands in conjunction with the addition of the insulation, which adds the complete electrical properties needed for the finished device to function as intended. This process is substantially similar to that which is described in HRL 562581. Therefore, the country of origin of the jumper cables, part number JCBC1208B, will be Indonesia.
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 Luke LePage at [email protected].
Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division