Notice of Issuance of Final Determination Concerning Vantage Electric Vehicles, 73039-73041 [2012-29633]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 236 / Friday, December 7, 2012 / Notices As part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, CBP invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on an information collection requirement concerning the Application for Allowance in Duties (CBP Form 4315). This request for comment is being made pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–13). DATES: Written comments should be received on or before February 5, 2013, to be assured of consideration. ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Attn: Tracey Denning, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, 799 9th Street NW., 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20229–1177. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information should be directed to Tracey Denning, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade, 799 9th Street NW., 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20229–1177, at 202–325–0265. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: CBP invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L.104–13). The comments should address: (a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimates of the burden of the collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (d) ways to minimize the burden including the use of automated collection techniques or the use of other forms of information technology; and (e) the annual cost burden to respondents or record keepers from the collection of information (total capital/startup costs and operations and maintenance costs). The comments that are submitted will be summarized and included in the CBP request for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval. All comments will become a matter of public record. In this document CBP is soliciting comments concerning the following information collection: Title: Application for Allowance in Duties. OMB Number: 1651–0007. Form Number: CBP Form 4315. Abstract: CBP Form 4315, ‘‘Application for Allowance in Duties,’’ is submitted to CBP in instances of claims of damaged or defective imported merchandise on which an tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:05 Dec 06, 2012 Jkt 229001 allowance in duty is made in the liquidation of the entry. The information on this form is used to substantiate an importer’s claim for such duty allowances. CBP Form 4315 is authorized by 19 U.S.C. 1506 and provided for by 19 CFR part 158, and authorized by 19 U.S.C. 1506, Tariff Act of 1930. This form is accessible at: http://forms.cbp.gov/pdf/ CBP_Form_4315.pdf. Action: CBP proposes to extend the expiration date of this information collection with no change to the estimated burden hours or to CBP Form 4315. Type of Review: Extension (without change). Affected Public: Businesses. Estimated Number of Respondents: 12,000. Estimated Number of Total Annual Responses: 12,000. Estimated Time per Response: 8 minutes. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 1,600. Dated: December 3, 2012. Tracey Denning, Agency Clearance Officer, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. [FR Doc. 2012–29555 Filed 12–6–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9111–14–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY U.S. Customs and Border Protection Notice of Issuance of Final Determination Concerning Vantage Electric Vehicles U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security. ACTION: Notice of final determination. AGENCY: This document provides notice that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (‘‘CBP’’) has issued a final determination concerning the country of origin of Vantage Vehicle electric trucks and vans. Based upon the facts presented, CBP has concluded in the final determination that the United States is the country of origin of the Vantage Vehicle EVX1000 and EVR1000 models of electric trucks and the EVC1000 and EVP1000 models of electric vans for purposes of U.S. Government procurement. DATES: The final determination was issued on November 16, 2012. A copy of the final determination is attached. Any party-at-interest, as defined in 19 CFR 177.22(d), may seek judicial review SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 73039 of this final determination on or before January 7, 2013. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heather K. Pinnock, Valuation and Special Programs Branch: (202) 325– 0034. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice is hereby given that on, November 16, 2012, pursuant to subpart B of part 177, Customs and Border Protection Regulations (19 CFR part 177, subpart B), CBP issued a final determination concerning the country of origin of the Vantage Vehicle EVX1000 and EVR1000 models of electric trucks and the EVC1000 and EVP1000 models of electric vans, which may be offered to the U.S. Government under an undesignated government procurement contract. This final determination, in HQ H229157, was issued at the request of Vantage Vehicle International, Inc., under procedures set forth at 19 CFR part 177, subpart B, which implements Title III of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2511–18). In the final determination, CBP concluded that, based upon the facts presented, the Vantage Vehicle EVX1000 and EVR1000 models of electric trucks and the EVC1000 and EVP1000 models of electric vans, assembled to completion in the United States from parts made in a non-TAA country, a TAA country and the United States, are substantially transformed in the United States, such that the United States is the country of origin of the finished electric vehicles for purposes of U.S. Government procurement. Section 177.29, CBP Regulations (19 CFR 177.29), provides that a notice of final determination shall be published in the Federal Register within 60 days of the date the final determination is issued. Section 177.30, CBP Regulations (19 CFR 177.30), provides that any party-at-interest, as defined in 19 CFR 177.22(d), may seek judicial review of a final determination within 30 days of publication of such determination in the Federal Register. Dated: November 16, 2012. Sandra L. Bell, Executive Director, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International Trade. Attachment HQ H229157 November 16, 2012 MAR–2 OT:RR:CTF:VS H229157 HkP CATEGORY: Marking Mr. Michael Pak CEO/President Vantage Vehicle International, Inc. 1740 N. Delilah Street E:\FR\FM\07DEN1.SGM 07DEN1 73040 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 236 / Friday, December 7, 2012 / Notices Corona, CA 92879 RE: Government Procurement; Country of Origin of Vantage Vehicle Electric Trucks and Vans; Substantial Transformation Dear Mr. Pak: This is in response to your letter dated May 23, 2012, requesting a final determination on behalf of Vantage Vehicle International, Inc. (‘‘VVI’’), pursuant to subpart B of part 177 of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (‘‘CBP’’) Regulations (19 C.F.R. Part 177). Under these regulations, which implement Title III of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (TAA), as amended (19 U.S.C. § 2511 et seq.), 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 final determination concerns the country of origin of VVI low speed electric trucks (models EVX1000 and EVR1000) and electric vans (models EVC1000 and EVP1000). We note that as a U.S. importer and manufacturer, VVI is a party-at-interest within the meaning of 19 C.F.R. § 177.22(d)(1) and is entitled to request this final determination. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with FACTS: According to the information submitted, VVI imports gliders (or ‘‘rolling chassis’’) (bare chassis with bodies, axles, and wheels only) from China into the United States and converts them into low speed electric trucks and vans. VVI assembles the gliders with other components including motors, controllers, chargers, batteries, instrument clusters, converters, wire harnesses, battery boxes, heater cores, and miscellaneous items such as fasteners and wires, and modifies components of the gliders as necessary. Each vehicle assembled in the United States has approximately 67 components and assemblies and 146 miscellaneous items such as bolts, nuts, screws, fasteners and wires. All of the components and miscellaneous items are of U.S.-origin, except for the charger which is from Canada. Over 71 percent of the manufacturing cost of the vehicles is attributed to U.S. components and labor, approximately 26 percent to the Chinese glider, and approximately two percent to the Canadian charger. Information regarding the components, their cost and countries of origin as well VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:05 Dec 06, 2012 Jkt 229001 as a detailed description of the manufacturing process was submitted. The U.S. manufacturing operations are described as follows: Stage 1—Prepping Stage The truck bed is removed from the glider (this initial step is not applicable to gliders used to make vans). Tires and braking components are removed from the rear axle, which is then removed from the chassis and unnecessary brackets and clutch pedals are cut. The vehicle is painted. The battery housings are removed, holes are drilled into the vehicle frame, battery housings are fastened to the frame with bolts and washers, the batteries are installed, and cables are attached to the batteries. A relay box is bolted to the frame. Necessary adjustments are made to the rear axle, which is then reinstalled into the vehicle. The parking brakes are rerouted and vacuum lines are cut in the front of the vehicle. The prepping stage takes approximately five hours. Stage 2—Building The transducer is installed along the brake line. The main wire harness is installed inside the cab and fastened below the vehicle. The heater box with new heater core and a new cluster wire harness are installed and the heater box is connected to the main wire harness. Forward and reverse switches are cut and installed into the dashboard, connected and covered. The accelerator pedal is installed. The grill with logo is attached to the back of the vehicle. The main aluminum electronics plate and all electronic components are attached to the vehicle frame and fuses and the auxiliary battery are installed. The main drive motor is attached to the rear axle and the vehicle’s main electronics are installed. After the cab is cleaned of metal chips and dust, the middle console and back seats are installed. Air is removed from the brake lines. Backup alarms are installed and the electronic components are tested. The building stage takes approximately 16 hours. Stage 3—Finishing Rust-proof undercoating and spray bed liner coating are applied to the vehicle, as appropriate, by a California company. Stage 4—Pre-Delivery Inspection The vehicle is washed and dried, the vehicle identification number (VIN) is recorded, stickers are added to the vehicle and paper tags, plastic and tape are removed, the windows and interior are cleaned, the seat covers installed, and the steering boot is greased. The vehicle is inspected in accordance with a quality control checklist and deficiencies addressed as required. PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The inspection stage takes approximately 3 hours. ISSUE: What is the country of origin of the Vantage Vehicle low speed electric trucks (models EVX1000 and EVR1000) and electric vans (models EVC1000 and EVP1000) for purposes of U.S. Government procurement? LAW AND ANALYSIS: Pursuant to Subpart B of Part 177, 19 CFR § 177.21 et seq., which implements Title III of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, as amended (19 U.S.C. § 2511 et seq.), 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. Under the rule of origin set forth under 19 U.S.C. § 2518(4)(B): An article is a product of a country or instrumentality only if (i) it is wholly the growth, product, or manufacture of that country or instrumentality, or (ii) in the case of an article which consists in whole or in part of materials from another country or instrumentality, it has been substantially transformed into a new and different article of commerce with a name, character, or use distinct from that of the article or articles from which it was so transformed. See also 19 C.F.R. § 177.22(a). In rendering advisory rulings and final determinations for purposes of U.S. Government procurement, CBP applies the provisions of subpart B of Part 177 consistent with the Federal Procurement Regulations. See 19 C.F.R. § 177.21. In this regard, CBP recognizes that the Federal Procurement Regulations restrict the U.S. Government’s purchase of products to U.S.-made or designated country end products for acquisitions subject to the TAA. See 48 C.F.R. § 25.403(c)(1). The Federal Procurement Regulations define ‘‘U.S.-made end product’’ as: [A]n article that is mined, produces, or manufactured in the United States or that is substantially transformed in the United States into a new and different article of commerce with a name, character, or use distinct from that of the article or articles from which it was transformed. In determining whether the combining of parts or materials constitutes a substantial transformation, the determinative issue is the extent of operations performed and whether the parts lose their identity and become an integral part of the new article. Belcrest Linens v. United States, 573 F. Supp. E:\FR\FM\07DEN1.SGM 07DEN1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 236 / Friday, December 7, 2012 / Notices 1149 (Ct. Int’l Trade 1983), aff’d, 741 F.2d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 1984). Assembly operations that are minimal or simple, as opposed to complex or meaningful, will generally not result in a substantial transformation. See C.S.D. 80–111, C.S.D. 85–25, C.S.D. 89–110, C.S.D. 89– 118, C.S.D. 90–51, and C.S.D. 90–97. If the manufacturing or combining process is a minor one which leaves the identity of the article intact, a substantial transformation has not occurred. Uniroyal, Inc. v. United States, 3 Ct. Int’l Trade 220, 542 F. Supp. 1026 (1982), aff’d 702 F. 2d 1022 (Fed. Cir. 1983). In order to determine whether a substantial transformation occurs when components of various origins are assembled into completed products, CBP considers the totality of the circumstances and makes such determinations on a case-by-case basis. The country of origin of the item’s components, extent of the processing that occurs within a country, and whether such processing renders a product with a new name, character, and use are primary considerations in such cases. Additionally, factors such as the resources expended on product design and development, the extent and nature of post-assembly inspection and testing procedures, and worker skill required during the actual manufacturing process will be considered when determining whether a substantial transformation has occurred. No one factor is determinative. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (‘‘HQ’’) H118435 (Oct. 13, 2010), CBP found that Chinese-origin chassis, plastic body parts and plastic pieces of trim were substantially transformed by assembly operations performed in the United States to produce electric vehicles. Under the described assembly process, the imported parts lost their individual identities and became integral parts of a new article possessing a new name, character and use. Further, components crucial to the making of an electric vehicle (the battery pack, motor, electronics, wiring assemblies, and charger) were of U.S. origin. Based upon these facts, we found that the country of origin of the electric vehicles was the United States. In HQ H022169 (May 2, 2008), CBP found that an imported mini-truck glider was substantially transformed as a result of assembly operations performed in the United States to produce an electric mini-truck. Our decision was based on the fact that, under the described assembly process, the imported glider lost its individual identity and became an integral part of a new article possessing a new name, character and use. In addition, a VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:05 Dec 06, 2012 Jkt 229001 substantial number of the components added to the imported glider were of U.S. origin. In HQ 558919 (Mar. 20, 1995), a country of origin marking case relied upon in HQ H022169, U.S. Customs (now CBP) held that an extruder assembly manufactured in England was substantially transformed in the United States when it was wired and combined with U.S. components (motor, electric controls and extruder screw) to create a vertical extruder. In reaching that decision, Customs emphasized that the imported extruder subassembly and the U.S. components each had important attributes that were necessary to the operation of the extruder. Consequently, we found that the imported subassemblies should be excepted from individual marking, provided that the cartons in which the U.S. manufacturer received them were properly marked with their country of origin. In the rulings cited above, CBP found that assembly of the imported parts together with the U.S.-made components was necessary to the operation of the finished product. The same is true in this situation. None of the imported parts, on their own, can operate as an electric vehicle but must be assembled with other necessary components, such as batteries, motors, instrument clusters, and wiring assemblies, which are all of U.S. origin. Moreover, given the complexity and duration of the U.S. manufacturing process, we consider those operations to be more than mere assembly. Based on the information before us, and consistent with the CBP rulings cited above, we find that the Chineseorigin glider and Canadian charger are substantially transformed by the assembly operations performed in the United States to produce electric vehicles. Under the described assembly process, the imported articles lose their individual identities and become integral parts of new articles possessing new names, characters and uses. Further, components crucial to the making of an electric vehicle (the batteries, motor, instrument cluster, wiring assemblies, and heater core) are of U.S. origin. We conclude, based upon these specific facts, that the country of origin of the VVI electric trucks and vans for purposes of U.S. Government procurement is the United States. HOLDING: The Chinese glider and Canadian charger are substantially transformed when they are assembled in the United States with domestic components. As a result, the country of origin of VVI’s line of electric vehicles, specifically the PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 73041 EVX1000 and EVR1000 Green Trucks and the EVC1000 and EVP1000 Green Vans, for purposes of U.S. Government procurement is the United States. Notice of this final determination will be given in the Federal Register, as required by 19 C.F.R. § 177.29. Any party-at-interest other than the party which requested this final determination may request, pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 177.31, that CBP reexamine the matter anew and issue a new final determination. Pursuant to 19 C.F.R. § 177.30, any party-at-interest may, within 30 days of publication of the Federal Register Notice referenced above, seek judicial review of this final determination before the Court of International Trade. Sincerely, Sandra L. Bell, Executive Director Regulations and Rulings Office of International Trade. [FR Doc. 2012–29633 Filed 12–6–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT [Docket No. FR–5604 -N–13] Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Comment Request; Border Community Capital Initiative Office of Community Planning and Development, HUD. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The proposed information collection requirement described below will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act. The Department is soliciting public comments on the subject proposal. The purpose of this submission is for the application for the Border community Capital Initiative grant process. Information is required to rate and rank competitive applications and to ensure eligibility of applicants for funding. Semi-annual reporting is required to monitor grant management. DATES: Comments Due Date: February 5, 2013. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this proposal. Comments should refer to the proposal by name and/or OMB Control Number and should be sent to: Reports Liaison Officer, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Washington, DC 20410, Room 9120 or the number for the Federal Information Relay Service (1–800–877–8339). SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\07DEN1.SGM 07DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 236 (Friday, December 7, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 73039-73041]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-29633]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. Customs and Border Protection


Notice of Issuance of Final Determination Concerning Vantage 
Electric Vehicles

AGENCY: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland 
Security.

ACTION: Notice of final determination.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This document provides notice that U.S. Customs and Border 
Protection (``CBP'') has issued a final determination concerning the 
country of origin of Vantage Vehicle electric trucks and vans. Based 
upon the facts presented, CBP has concluded in the final determination 
that the United States is the country of origin of the Vantage Vehicle 
EVX1000 and EVR1000 models of electric trucks and the EVC1000 and 
EVP1000 models of electric vans for purposes of U.S. Government 
procurement.

DATES: The final determination was issued on November 16, 2012. A copy 
of the final determination is attached. Any party-at-interest, as 
defined in 19 CFR 177.22(d), may seek judicial review of this final 
determination on or before January 7, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heather K. Pinnock, Valuation and 
Special Programs Branch: (202) 325-0034.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice is hereby given that on, November 16, 
2012, pursuant to subpart B of part 177, Customs and Border Protection 
Regulations (19 CFR part 177, subpart B), CBP issued a final 
determination concerning the country of origin of the Vantage Vehicle 
EVX1000 and EVR1000 models of electric trucks and the EVC1000 and 
EVP1000 models of electric vans, which may be offered to the U.S. 
Government under an undesignated government procurement contract. This 
final determination, in HQ H229157, was issued at the request of 
Vantage Vehicle International, Inc., under procedures set forth at 19 
CFR part 177, subpart B, which implements Title III of the Trade 
Agreements Act of 1979, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2511-18). In the final 
determination, CBP concluded that, based upon the facts presented, the 
Vantage Vehicle EVX1000 and EVR1000 models of electric trucks and the 
EVC1000 and EVP1000 models of electric vans, assembled to completion in 
the United States from parts made in a non-TAA country, a TAA country 
and the United States, are substantially transformed in the United 
States, such that the United States is the country of origin of the 
finished electric vehicles for purposes of U.S. Government procurement.
    Section 177.29, CBP Regulations (19 CFR 177.29), provides that a 
notice of final determination shall be published in the Federal 
Register within 60 days of the date the final determination is issued. 
Section 177.30, CBP Regulations (19 CFR 177.30), provides that any 
party-at-interest, as defined in 19 CFR 177.22(d), may seek judicial 
review of a final determination within 30 days of publication of such 
determination in the Federal Register.

    Dated: November 16, 2012.
Sandra L. Bell,
Executive Director, Regulations and Rulings, Office of International 
Trade.

Attachment

HQ H229157
November 16, 2012
MAR-2 OT:RR:CTF:VS H229157 HkP
CATEGORY: Marking
Mr. Michael Pak
CEO/President
Vantage Vehicle International, Inc.
1740 N. Delilah Street

[[Page 73040]]

Corona, CA 92879

RE: Government Procurement; Country of Origin of Vantage Vehicle 
Electric Trucks and Vans; Substantial Transformation

Dear Mr. Pak:

    This is in response to your letter dated May 23, 2012, requesting a 
final determination on behalf of Vantage Vehicle International, Inc. 
(``VVI''), pursuant to subpart B of part 177 of the U.S. Customs and 
Border Protection (``CBP'') Regulations (19 C.F.R. Part 177).
    Under these regulations, which implement Title III of the Trade 
Agreements Act of 1979 (TAA), as amended (19 U.S.C. Sec.  2511 et 
seq.), 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 final determination concerns the country of origin of VVI low 
speed electric trucks (models EVX1000 and EVR1000) and electric vans 
(models EVC1000 and EVP1000). We note that as a U.S. importer and 
manufacturer, VVI is a party-at-interest within the meaning of 19 
C.F.R. Sec.  177.22(d)(1) and is entitled to request this final 
determination.
FACTS:
    According to the information submitted, VVI imports gliders (or 
``rolling chassis'') (bare chassis with bodies, axles, and wheels only) 
from China into the United States and converts them into low speed 
electric trucks and vans. VVI assembles the gliders with other 
components including motors, controllers, chargers, batteries, 
instrument clusters, converters, wire harnesses, battery boxes, heater 
cores, and miscellaneous items such as fasteners and wires, and 
modifies components of the gliders as necessary. Each vehicle assembled 
in the United States has approximately 67 components and assemblies and 
146 miscellaneous items such as bolts, nuts, screws, fasteners and 
wires. All of the components and miscellaneous items are of U.S.-
origin, except for the charger which is from Canada. Over 71 percent of 
the manufacturing cost of the vehicles is attributed to U.S. components 
and labor, approximately 26 percent to the Chinese glider, and 
approximately two percent to the Canadian charger. Information 
regarding the components, their cost and countries of origin as well as 
a detailed description of the manufacturing process was submitted.
    The U.S. manufacturing operations are described as follows:
    Stage 1--Prepping Stage
    The truck bed is removed from the glider (this initial step is not 
applicable to gliders used to make vans). Tires and braking components 
are removed from the rear axle, which is then removed from the chassis 
and unnecessary brackets and clutch pedals are cut. The vehicle is 
painted. The battery housings are removed, holes are drilled into the 
vehicle frame, battery housings are fastened to the frame with bolts 
and washers, the batteries are installed, and cables are attached to 
the batteries. A relay box is bolted to the frame. Necessary 
adjustments are made to the rear axle, which is then reinstalled into 
the vehicle. The parking brakes are rerouted and vacuum lines are cut 
in the front of the vehicle.
    The prepping stage takes approximately five hours.
    Stage 2--Building
    The transducer is installed along the brake line. The main wire 
harness is installed inside the cab and fastened below the vehicle. The 
heater box with new heater core and a new cluster wire harness are 
installed and the heater box is connected to the main wire harness. 
Forward and reverse switches are cut and installed into the dashboard, 
connected and covered. The accelerator pedal is installed. The grill 
with logo is attached to the back of the vehicle. The main aluminum 
electronics plate and all electronic components are attached to the 
vehicle frame and fuses and the auxiliary battery are installed. The 
main drive motor is attached to the rear axle and the vehicle's main 
electronics are installed. After the cab is cleaned of metal chips and 
dust, the middle console and back seats are installed. Air is removed 
from the brake lines. Backup alarms are installed and the electronic 
components are tested.
    The building stage takes approximately 16 hours.
    Stage 3--Finishing
    Rust-proof undercoating and spray bed liner coating are applied to 
the vehicle, as appropriate, by a California company.
    Stage 4--Pre-Delivery Inspection
    The vehicle is washed and dried, the vehicle identification number 
(VIN) is recorded, stickers are added to the vehicle and paper tags, 
plastic and tape are removed, the windows and interior are cleaned, the 
seat covers installed, and the steering boot is greased. The vehicle is 
inspected in accordance with a quality control checklist and 
deficiencies addressed as required.
    The inspection stage takes approximately 3 hours.
ISSUE:
    What is the country of origin of the Vantage Vehicle low speed 
electric trucks (models EVX1000 and EVR1000) and electric vans (models 
EVC1000 and EVP1000) for purposes of U.S. Government procurement?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
    Pursuant to Subpart B of Part 177, 19 CFR Sec.  177.21 et seq., 
which implements Title III of the Trade Agreements Act of 1979, as 
amended (19 U.S.C. Sec.  2511 et seq.), 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.
    Under the rule of origin set forth under 19 U.S.C. Sec.  
2518(4)(B):

An article is a product of a country or instrumentality only if (i) 
it is wholly the growth, product, or manufacture of that country or 
instrumentality, or (ii) in the case of an article which consists in 
whole or in part of materials from another country or 
instrumentality, it has been substantially transformed into a new 
and different article of commerce with a name, character, or use 
distinct from that of the article or articles from which it was so 
transformed.

See also 19 C.F.R. Sec.  177.22(a).

    In rendering advisory rulings and final determinations for purposes 
of U.S. Government procurement, CBP applies the provisions of subpart B 
of Part 177 consistent with the Federal Procurement Regulations. See 19 
C.F.R. Sec.  177.21. In this regard, CBP recognizes that the Federal 
Procurement Regulations restrict the U.S. Government's purchase of 
products to U.S.-made or designated country end products for 
acquisitions subject to the TAA. See 48 C.F.R. Sec.  25.403(c)(1). The 
Federal Procurement Regulations define ``U.S.-made end product'' as:

[A]n article that is mined, produces, or manufactured in the United 
States or that is substantially transformed in the United States 
into a new and different article of commerce with a name, character, 
or use distinct from that of the article or articles from which it 
was transformed.

    In determining whether the combining of parts or materials 
constitutes a substantial transformation, the determinative issue is 
the extent of operations performed and whether the parts lose their 
identity and become an integral part of the new article. Belcrest 
Linens v. United States, 573 F. Supp.

[[Page 73041]]

1149 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1983), aff'd, 741 F.2d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 1984). 
Assembly operations that are minimal or simple, as opposed to complex 
or meaningful, will generally not result in a substantial 
transformation. See C.S.D. 80-111, C.S.D. 85-25, C.S.D. 89-110, C.S.D. 
89-118, C.S.D. 90-51, and C.S.D. 90-97. If the manufacturing or 
combining process is a minor one which leaves the identity of the 
article intact, a substantial transformation has not occurred. 
Uniroyal, Inc. v. United States, 3 Ct. Int'l Trade 220, 542 F. Supp. 
1026 (1982), aff'd 702 F. 2d 1022 (Fed. Cir. 1983).
    In order to determine whether a substantial transformation occurs 
when components of various origins are assembled into completed 
products, CBP considers the totality of the circumstances and makes 
such determinations on a case-by-case basis. The country of origin of 
the item's components, extent of the processing that occurs within a 
country, and whether such processing renders a product with a new name, 
character, and use are primary considerations in such cases. 
Additionally, factors such as the resources expended on product design 
and development, the extent and nature of post-assembly inspection and 
testing procedures, and worker skill required during the actual 
manufacturing process will be considered when determining whether a 
substantial transformation has occurred. No one factor is 
determinative.
    In Headquarters Ruling Letter (``HQ'') H118435 (Oct. 13, 2010), CBP 
found that Chinese-origin chassis, plastic body parts and plastic 
pieces of trim were substantially transformed by assembly operations 
performed in the United States to produce electric vehicles. Under the 
described assembly process, the imported parts lost their individual 
identities and became integral parts of a new article possessing a new 
name, character and use. Further, components crucial to the making of 
an electric vehicle (the battery pack, motor, electronics, wiring 
assemblies, and charger) were of U.S. origin. Based upon these facts, 
we found that the country of origin of the electric vehicles was the 
United States.
    In HQ H022169 (May 2, 2008), CBP found that an imported mini-truck 
glider was substantially transformed as a result of assembly operations 
performed in the United States to produce an electric mini-truck. Our 
decision was based on the fact that, under the described assembly 
process, the imported glider lost its individual identity and became an 
integral part of a new article possessing a new name, character and 
use. In addition, a substantial number of the components added to the 
imported glider were of U.S. origin.
    In HQ 558919 (Mar. 20, 1995), a country of origin marking case 
relied upon in HQ H022169, U.S. Customs (now CBP) held that an extruder 
assembly manufactured in England was substantially transformed in the 
United States when it was wired and combined with U.S. components 
(motor, electric controls and extruder screw) to create a vertical 
extruder. In reaching that decision, Customs emphasized that the 
imported extruder subassembly and the U.S. components each had 
important attributes that were necessary to the operation of the 
extruder. Consequently, we found that the imported subassemblies should 
be excepted from individual marking, provided that the cartons in which 
the U.S. manufacturer received them were properly marked with their 
country of origin.
    In the rulings cited above, CBP found that assembly of the imported 
parts together with the U.S.-made components was necessary to the 
operation of the finished product. The same is true in this situation. 
None of the imported parts, on their own, can operate as an electric 
vehicle but must be assembled with other necessary components, such as 
batteries, motors, instrument clusters, and wiring assemblies, which 
are all of U.S. origin. Moreover, given the complexity and duration of 
the U.S. manufacturing process, we consider those operations to be more 
than mere assembly.
    Based on the information before us, and consistent with the CBP 
rulings cited above, we find that the Chinese-origin glider and 
Canadian charger are substantially transformed by the assembly 
operations performed in the United States to produce electric vehicles. 
Under the described assembly process, the imported articles lose their 
individual identities and become integral parts of new articles 
possessing new names, characters and uses. Further, components crucial 
to the making of an electric vehicle (the batteries, motor, instrument 
cluster, wiring assemblies, and heater core) are of U.S. origin. We 
conclude, based upon these specific facts, that the country of origin 
of the VVI electric trucks and vans for purposes of U.S. Government 
procurement is the United States.
HOLDING:
    The Chinese glider and Canadian charger are substantially 
transformed when they are assembled in the United States with domestic 
components. As a result, the country of origin of VVI's line of 
electric vehicles, specifically the EVX1000 and EVR1000 Green Trucks 
and the EVC1000 and EVP1000 Green Vans, for purposes of U.S. Government 
procurement is the United States.
    Notice of this final determination will be given in the Federal 
Register, as required by 19 C.F.R. Sec.  177.29. Any party-at-interest 
other than the party which requested this final determination may 
request, pursuant to 19 C.F.R. Sec.  177.31, that CBP reexamine the 
matter anew and issue a new final determination. Pursuant to 19 C.F.R. 
Sec.  177.30, any party-at-interest may, within 30 days of publication 
of the Federal Register Notice referenced above, seek judicial review 
of this final determination before the Court of International Trade.

Sincerely,

Sandra L. Bell,

Executive Director Regulations and Rulings Office of International 
Trade.

[FR Doc. 2012-29633 Filed 12-6-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P