Lydia Pardini
1133 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 1201
Washington, DC 20036

RE: The country of origin of an articulating boom lift.

Dear Ms. Pardini:

In your letter dated November 14, 2022, you requested a country of origin ruling determination on an articulating boom lift on behalf of your client, Sinoboom Poland Sp. z o.o.

The merchandise under consideration is the Sinoboom electric articulating boom lift, model numbers AB14EJ and AB16EJ. Both models are similar in design but differ in specifications such as working height, loadbearing capacity, and overall dimensions. The self-propelled articulating boom lift is battery powered and features a multi-stage folding boom. The articulating and rotating boom allows the lift to maneuver around various obstacles and access different points without having to reposition the base. Each lift is also equipped with a rotating turntable as well as a rotating and extendable platform.

Each articulating boom lift is assembled using subassemblies and components sourced from China, India, Italy, Poland, and Vietnam. Four major structural subassemblies: the chassis, platform, boom tube, and turntable are sourced from Poland. The control module is sourced from China, the components for the driving system are sourced from India, and components for the hydraulic system are sourced from China and Italy. The motor, switch, and sensors for the electrical system are sourced from Italy and China. The counterweight, brackets, and assembly pins are sourced from either China or India. All of the subassemblies and components are sent to Sinoboom’s facility in Poland for final assembly.

The chassis, platform, boom tube, and turntable structural assemblies are manufactured in Poland from raw materials. The machining process involves transforming raw materials by laser cutting, drilling, tapping, pressing, bending, and sawing to form structural component parts. The structural component parts are then joined and welded to form the boom tube, chassis, platform, and turntable subassemblies. This involves fitting, tack welding, and finish welding. To prevent rust and corrosion, the components must undergo a coating process that involves primer coating, shot blasting, top coating, and curing.

At Sinoboom in Poland, the structural components, together with additional components, are pre-assembled prior to final assembly. For the chassis sub-assembly, this involves installing the worm gear rotary reducer, battery tray, knuckle assembly, steering cylinder, and tires. A worker also completes cabling for the motor control assembly, relay, power-off switch, DC/DC converter, and walking drive motor. Pre-assembly of the tube subassembly involves partially assembling the telescopic arm. During this process, the riser arm, connecting rod, upper coupling frame, main luffing cylinder, chain roller, various valves, brackets, hoses, piston rods, and cables are affixed and bolted into place.

The final assembly begins with installing the turntable to the chassis and attaching the counterweight. Next, the gear pump, control box, warning light, lampshade, tilt sensor, and various hoses are installed. Afterwards, the folding arms are assembled to the turntable together with its cylinder and joined using assembly pins. To that assembly, the telescopic arm assembly and its cylinder are added and joined using assembly pins. Components for the hydraulic system are set up, connected, and filled. Cabling is also completed which consist of connecting the electric control box, main valve, limit switch, balance valve, warning light, and sensors. Then workers install the hood and complete the platform assembly, which involves adding the platform, link supports, upper jib, lower jib, bracket support, and the control box. Lastly, each unit is tested and inspected.

With regard to your request for the appropriate country of origin of the articulating boom lift, 19 C.F.R. § 134.1(b) provides in pertinent part 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.

As stated in HQ 735009, dated July 30, 1993, “The country of origin is the country where the article last underwent a ‘substantial transformation’, that is, processing which results in a change in the article's name, character, or use.” In addition, the court has held that “A substantial transformation occurs when an article emerges from a manufacturing process with a name, character, and use that differs from the original material subjected to the processing.” This determination is based on the totality of the evidence. See National Hand Tool Corp. v. United States, 16 C.I.T. 308 (1992), aff’d, 989 F.2d 1201 (Fed. Cir. 1993).

In Energizer Battery, Inc. v. United States, 190 F. Supp. 3d 1308 (2016), the Court of International Trade 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 that “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.

Based upon your description of the manufacturing operations, the nature of the processing performed in Poland is not a simple one. In addition to the final assembly occurring in Poland, all of the major structural subassemblies (i.e., the chassis, platform, boom tube, and turntable) are manufactured from steel material and transformed into integral subassemblies in Poland. The complex operations results in the individual parts losing their separate identities to become a new article. Thus, based on the totality of the circumstances, the country of origin of the articulating boom lift will be Poland.

Please note the merchandise in question may be subject to antidumping duties and countervailing duties (“AD/CVD”). Written decisions regarding the scope of AD/CVD orders are issued by the Enforcement and Compliance office in the International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce and are separate from tariff classification and origin rulings issued by Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”). You can contact them at https://trade.gov/enforcement/ (click on “Contact Us”). For your information, you can view a list of current AD/CVD cases at the Department of Commerce ITA website at https://www.trade.gov/data-visualization/adcvd-proceedings, and you can search AD/CVD deposit and liquidation messages using CBP’s AD/CVD Search tool at https://aceservices.cbp.dhs.gov/adcvdweb.

Please note that 19 C.F.R. 177.9(b)(1) provides that "[e]ach ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in connection with the ruling request and incorporated in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect. The application of a ruling letter by a Customs Service field office to the transaction to which it is purported to relate is subject to the verification of the facts incorporated in the ruling letter, a comparison of the transaction described therein to the actual transaction, and the satisfaction of any conditions on which the ruling was based."

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 Paul Huang at [email protected].


Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division