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Complex Assembly Process Substantially Transforms Imported Parts, CBP Says

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued a final determination concerning the country of origin of gearmotors that may be offered to the U.S. government under an undesignated government procurement contract. Any party-at-interest may seek judicial review of this determination by April 21. 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.

Gearmotors are used in various applications in the automotive, building materials, and metal processing industries, among others. CBP states that the gearmotors at issue consist of more than 100 separate parts, many of which are produced in Brazil, China, France, Germany, and the U.S. (among other countries), shipped to Germany as inventory, and then redistributed according to need. Other parts are acquired from third-party vendors. Parts are ultimately assembled in the U.S. into the motor and gear box subassemblies that comprise the final product.

CBP concludes that the imported parts are substantially transformed as a result of the complex assembly operations in the U.S., which involve numerous parts, dozens of steps, and workers that have achieved a certain degree of proficiency. As a result, the country of origin of the gearmotors for government procurement purposes is the U.S.

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