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CBP Says US Quartz Slabs Made Into Countertops in China Remain US-Origin

Quartz countertops imported from China and cut from quartz slabs from the U.S. are considered to be of U.S. origin, CBP said in a April 25 ruling. The ruling comes at the request of idX Corporation, which imports the cut and polished countertops into the U.S. Both the unfinished slabs and the finished countertops are classified under subheading 6810.99.00, as “Articles of … artificial stone, whether or not reinforced: Other: Other.” That subheading is included in the third tranche of Section 301 tariffs on goods from China.

CBP said a substantial transformation analysis is applicable for "determining the country of origin for purposes of applying current trade remedies under Section 301." Here, the quartz slabs "have a predetermined end use as kitchen and bathroom countertops," CBP said. The "thickness, strength and aesthetic appearance" of the countertops were all also true in slab form, CBP said. "In China, the workshop merely cuts the slabs to size, cuts holes for fixtures, and then polishes them," the agency said.

Previous court rulings have said that "when the properties and uses of a product are predetermined by the material from which it was made, no substantial transformation occurs," CBP said. For the quartz slabs, "based upon the information provided, the production processes performed upon the instant agglomerated quartz slabs in China do not constitute a substantial transformation," CBP ruled. "As the processing in China does not result in a substantial transformation, the imported countertops remain products of the United States. Accordingly, the countertops are not products of China, and the Section 301 measures will not apply."

CBP also warns that antidumping or countervailing duties could still apply despite the agency's ruling. "We note that the U.S. International Trade Administration is not necessarily bound by a country of origin or classification determination issued by CBP, with regard to the scope of AD/CVD orders," it said. Commerce in May issued an AD duty final determination (see 1905220024) and a CV duty final determination (see 1905220015) on quartz surface products from China.