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NY A85267

July 17, 1996

MAR-2 RR:NC:MA:109 A85267


Ms. Sally Lewek
77 Oriskany Dr.
Tonawanda, NY 14150


Dear Ms. Lewek:

This is in response to your letter dated June 2, 1996 requesting a ruling on the acceptable country of origin marking for imported integrated circuits. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review.

Your letter states that semiconductor wafers are manufactured by your company in Nepean, Ontario, Canada. These wafers are shipped to various Pacific Rim countries where they are separated into individual chips and assembled into integrated circuit packages. You ask what country of origin marking should be placed on the finished integrated circuits for importation into the United States.

The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article. Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134) implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

The country of origin marking requirements for a "good of a NAFTA country" are also determined in accordance with Annex 311 of the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA"), as implemented by section 207 of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat 2057) (December 8, 1993) and the interim amendments to the Customs Regulations published as T.D. 94-4 (59 Fed. Reg. 109, January 3, 1994) with corrections (59 Fed. Reg. 5082, February 3, 1994) and T.D. 94-1 (59 Fed. Reg. 69460, December 30, 1993). These interim amendments took effect on January 1, 1994 to coincide with the effective date of the NAFTA. The Marking Rules used for determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country are contained in T.D. 94-4 (adding a new Part 102, Customs Regulations). The marking requirements of these goods are set forth in T.D. 94-1 (interim amendments to various provisions of Part 134, Customs Regulations).

Section 134.45(a)(2) of the interim regulations, provides that "a good of a NAFTA country may be marked with the name of the country of origin in English, French or Spanish. Section 134.1(g) of the interim regulations, defines a "good of a NAFTA country" as an article for which the country of origin is Canada, Mexico or the United States as determined under the NAFTA Marking Rules.

The final NAFTA Marking Rules were published as T.D. 96-48 (61 Fed. Reg. 110, June 6, 1996). They are effective August 5, 1996.

As provided in section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), the country of origin marking is considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

With regard to the permanency of a marking, section 134.41(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(a)), provides that as a general rule marking requirements are best met by marking worked into the article at the time of manufacture. For example, it is suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be die sunk, molded in, or etched. However, section 134.44, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.44), generally provides that any marking that is sufficiently permanent so that it will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless deliberately removed is acceptable.

Pursuant to section 102.11(a)(3) of both the interim and final regulations, the country of origin of the imported integrated circuits would normally be the Pacific Rim country in which they underwent final assembly. However, they are considered originating within the meaning of 19 CFR 181.1(q), pursuant to the subheading rule set forth in GN 12(t)/85, HTSUS, covering goods provided for in subheadings 8541.10 through 8541.60 or 8542.12 through 8542.50. Therefore, in accordance with the NAFTA preference override, section 102.19 of the interim regulations and section 102.19(a) of the final regulations, the country of origin would be "...the last NAFTA country in which that good underwent production other than minor processing, provided that a Certificate of Origin...has been completed and signed for the good." Accordingly the country of origin of the integrated circuits would be Canada. Therefore, they should be marked "Made in Canada," "Product of Canada," or similar wording.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 181 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 181).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Eileen S. Kaplan at 212-466-5673.


Roger J. Silvestri

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