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CBP Identifies Country of Origin for Storage Solutions for Government Procurement

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

CBP has issued a final determination concerning the country of origin of certain storage infrastructure solution systems that may be offered to the U.S. government under an undesignated government procurement contract. CBP issues country of origin advisory rulings and final determinations as to whether an article is or would be a product of a designated country or instrumentality for the purposes of granting waivers of certain “Buy American” restrictions in U.S. law or practice for products offered for sale to the U.S. government. This determination was issued July 16 and any party-at-interest may seek judicial review of it by Aug. 21.

The product at issue is a record imaging, storage and data retrieval system that contains a 24 TeraByte storage system. It includes two servers produced in the U.S. that provide the computing platform for the system, one or more storage arrays produced in the U.S. that provide the data storage capability for the system, and two network switches produced in the U.S. or China that provide network connectivity. The servers, storage arrays and network switches are interconnected by cables, mounted on a rack, and supplied electricity through power strips. The cables, racks and power strips originate in various countries. The servers are loaded with three types of software, two developed in the U.S. and one developed in Canada. Finally, the storage solutions are assembled in the U.S.

CBP states that the storage solutions contain six essential components, four from the U.S., one from China and one from Canada. At their basic levels all six components provide essential qualities to support the purposes of the storage solution, that is, the server will provide a computer operating structural function, the storage array will provide a storage structural function, the network switch will provide a connectivity structural function, the VMware software will provide the system with “virtual machine” capability, the Novell software will provide the system with an operating system, and the StorageGRID software will provide the system with capabilities that enhance its virtual functions and ensure data protection.

CBP notes, however, that the underlying basis of this product is the ability to store electronic health records for their later use. Therefore, given that four of the six components in the storage solution are from the U.S. and taking into account the particular importance of the U.S.-origin NetApp storage array, CBP believes that the evidence weighs towards a U.S. country of origin determination. Also weighing towards a U.S. country of origin determination is the fact that the entire assembly and configuration process takes place in the U.S. Given these facts, CBP finds that the country of origin of the storage solution is the U.S. for purposes of U.S. government procurement.

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