In ruling NY N325409 (May 5, 2022), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discussed the country of origin of stucco netting. The merchandise is identified as roles of 1.5” 17 gauge and 1” 20 gauge zinc plated round single-strand iron stucco netting. The netting is used on wall surfaces as an underlayment for plastering, cementing, stuccoing, and other forms of wall construction. In addition, the netting has galvanized woven hexagonal wire mesh that is “self-furred” (or “furred”), meaning that the wire is crimped throughout the netting. This crimping keeps the netting from lying directly on the wall and allows the netting to be embedded within the stucco, providing better reinforcement.

The manufacturing process begins in Canada where single-strand round galvanized iron wire from China and other countries (typically Vietnam and Turkey) is imported in bulk. The wire then undergoes specialized machining in order to produce the stucco netting. While this process is the same for the 17 and 20 gauge nettings, different machines are used depending on the diameter of the wire. First, coils of single-strand round wire are placed vertically onto stands. The stands are placed into the “Take-Up” of the netter, with the beginning of the coil welded to the end of the previous. As the netter runs, it pulls the wires to it. Afterwards, the netter weaves the wire into netting by twisting the wire with its mates on each side. Lastly, the “Furr Unit” places the crimps across the netting. The stucco netting is then exported to the U.S. after it is packaged and labeled.

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CBP noted that, as defined under 19 CFR 134.1(b), the country of origin is the “country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the United States.  Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation” in order to change the country of origin of the article. CBP also established that substantial transformation “occurs when an article emerges from a process with a new name, character or use different from that possessed by the article prior to processing.” For its determination, CBP noted that the machining operations that took place in Canada – which involved the furring, weaving, and twisting of the zinc plated round single-strand wire manufactured in either China, Vietnam, or Turkey into netting – result in a new name, a new character, and a new use from that of the original wire. As such, the country of origin of the subject stucco netting is Canada.