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CBP Identifies Country of Origin of LED Flashlights

Friday, May 03, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued a final determination concerning the country of origin of flashlights with light-emitting diodes that may be offered to the U.S. military 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 flashlight determination was issued April 29 and any party-at-interest may seek judicial review of it by June 3.

CBP concludes that the foreign-made components and parts in these flashlights do not undergo a substantial transformation when they are assembled together in the U.S. Virtually all of the components, including the most important component, the LED, are of Chinese origin. Only the assembly process is done in the U.S., and most of this work “seems to involve following a fairly straightforward routine and does not seem to be exceptionally complex.” While the flashlights are programmed with software written in the U.S., this programming is not essential to the basic operation of the flashlights and is not sufficiently complex to change their identity or character. Accordingly, CBP finds that the country of origin of the flashlights for government procurement purposes remains China.

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