CBP Adopts Changes to Country of Origin Rules Applicable to Certain Commodities

On September 2, 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) posted a final rule in the Federal Register amending the country of origin rules applicable to pipe fittings and flanges, greeting cards, glass optical fiber, rice preparations, and certain textile and apparel products, as codified in part 102 of the CBP regulations. The changes take effect October 3, 2011. 

Proposed changes to the country of origin rules were first published in the Federal Register on July 25, 2008. The notice proposed to adopt part 102 rules for country of origin determination not only for the specific merchandise listed above, but also to all imported merchandise. However, CBP withdrew the proposal of uniform country of origin rules for all imported merchandise at this time to permit further consideration of relevant issues. 

Thus, at this time, part 102 rules of country of origin determination are adopted only for the following merchandise:

    ·    Pipe fitting and Flanges

 The tariff shift rule in CBP regulations has been amended for commodities classified in headings 7301 through 7307, HTSUS, and now provides for a change within heading 7307 from fitting forgings or flange forgings to fittings or flanges made ready for commercial use by certain processing, including beveling, bore threading, center or step  boring, face machining, heat treating, recoining or resizing, taper  boring, machining ends or surfaces other than a gasket face, drilling  bolt holes, and burring or shot blasting. 

    ·    Greeting Cards     

The tariff shift rule for merchandise classified in headings 4901 through 4911, HTSUS, has been amended to include a specific rule for heading 4909, providing for a change to that heading from any other heading except from heading 4911 when the change is a result of adding text. According to CBP, the effect of this change will enable the country of origin of all printed greeting cards to be determined according to the country of initial printing of literary text, photographs, graphic designs, or illustrations. This change is also consistent with CBP practice in applying the substantial transformation standard to printed materials, as reflected in CBP's administrative rulings. 

    ·    Glass Optical Fiber     

The tariff shift rule for subheading 9001.10, HTSUS, which encompasses optical fibers and optical fiber bundles and cables, has been amended to provide for a change to 9001.10 from any other subheading, except from subheading 8544.70, HTSUS, or glass preforms of heading 7002, HTSUS. 

    ·    Rice Preparations     

Tariff shift rule for subheading 1904.90, HTSUS, which encompasses certain rice preparations, has been amended to provide for a change to subheading 1904.90 from any other heading, except from heading 1006, HTSUS, or wild rice of subheading 1008.90, HTSUS. 

    ·    Certain Textile and Apparel Products     

With respect to the rules of origin for textile and apparel products, to properly align the country of origin rules with the language of the underlying statute (19.U.S.C. 3592(b)(1)(C)), Sec. 102.21(c)(3)(ii) has been amended to add the words "fabrics of chapter 59 and" so that the amended text now reads "Except for fabrics of chapter 59 and goods of heading * * *." The proposed rule explained that this change would have the effect of ensuring that fabrics of chapter 59, HTSUS, derive their country of origin from where the fabric is formed, consistent with the statute. 

In addition, the tariff shift rule for goods classified in headings 6210 through 6212, HTSUS, has been amended by creating a separate rule for heading 6212, which encompasses "brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted." In the proposed rule, CBP noted that the existing tariff shift rule for headings 6210 through 6212 does not provide for the possibility of knit-to-shape goods, even though the body-supporting garments of heading 6212 may be knot to shape. As amended, the rule ensures that a knit-to-shape good of heading 6212 is found to derive its origin from where the good is knit to shape.