Adrienne Braumiller
Braumiller Law Group, PLLC
5220 Spring Valley Road, Suite 200 Dallas, TX 75254

RE:  The classification & country of origin of chemical control pellets

Dear Ms. Braumiller:

In your letter dated November 21, 2023, on behalf of your client Freudenberg Filtration Technologies, LP, you requested a classification and country of origin ruling on chemical control pellets.  You stated that your client intends to import five different types of pellets, and that the pellets will be used as the filtration media in their propriety industrial filtration systems. The pellets will be spherical in shape, porous, and will have specified target diameters.  They are designed to sequester specific gaseous substances in an air flow through the process of adsorption.

Description of Goods: Raw Materials

The raw materials used in the production of the pellets will be activated alumina (aluminum oxide) along with several different inorganic compounds, and with an elemental material, in different combinations and concentrations, depending on the targeted gaseous substance.  The activated alumina is stated to have a country of origin of China, while the other raw materials are stated to come from China, India, Turkey, Belgium, and South Africa.

Manufacturing Process

The activated alumina and other substances would be combined together in South Africa. The activated alumina along with some of the other substances in a dry powdered form are fed into a pan at the same time as a liquid form of other combined substances (called a wet mix) are sprayed into the pan.  As the dry and wet mixes combine together in the pan, they take the form of spherical balls, which once they reach a predetermined diameter are then taken out of the pan. You state that the pellets must be produced to exact physical properties including uniform spherical size, and specific strength to enable them to be functional in your client’s industrial filtration systems. Country of Origin and Classification

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.

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 test for determining whether a substantial transformation will occur is whether an article emerges from a process with a new name, character or use, different from that possessed by the article prior to processing. See Texas Instruments Inc. v. United States, 69 C.C.P.A. 151 (1982).

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).

CBP has generally held that mere mixing of two substances in another country, not involving a chemical reaction and without additional processing, does not result in a product of such other country. See HQ 561986.  However, as discussed in HQ 562468, certain types of blending operations where the finished product could be considered to have a new name, character, or use over its constituent inputs could lead to a finding of substantial transformation.

Activated alumina has been shown to have a variety of uses: as a catalyst, in certain vacuum systems to prevent the backflow of oil, and as a biomaterial used with certain artificial body prothesis.  By itself, it does have certain adsorbent properties, in particular with the removal of fluoride from water, and as a desiccant to remove moisture from air.  However, in the instant case, the activated alumina is combined with specified substances in certain combinations  in order to create a finished product that is designed to trap and sequester certain specified targeted gases in an airflow, which is more than the activated alumina could do on its own.  The chemisorbing properties of the other specified substances are further enhanced when joined to the activated alumina, which serves as a supporting structure. Furthermore, the completed pellets appear to be designed for intended use in your client’s industrial filtration system machinery.  As there appears to be a change in character and use of the completed product, it is our opinion that there is a substantial transformation of the starting materials. Therefore, the chemical control pellets will have a country of origin identity of South Africa.

In your request, you suggested a classification of the chemical control pellets under subheading 3824.99.3900 Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). We concur.

The applicable subheading for the chemical control pellets will be 3824.99.3900, HTSUS, which provides for Prepared binders for foundry molds or cores; chemical products and preparations of the chemical or allied industries (including those consisting of mixtures of natural products), not elsewhere specified or included: Other: Other: Other: Mixtures of two or more inorganic compounds: Other. The rate of duty will be free.

This merchandise may be subject to the requirements of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which are administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Information on the TSCA can be obtained by contacting the EPA at Document Control Office (7407M), Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20460, by calling the Toxic Substances Control Act Hotline at 800-471-7127, by e-mailing to [email protected], or by visiting their website at

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. Additionally, we note 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 and Border Protection 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 John Bobel at [email protected].


Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division