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NY C86815

May 26, 1998

MAR-2 RR:NC:MM:109 C86815


Mr. Dale Shimane
Director Assembly and Test Operations
Semiconductor Division
3236 Scott Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA 95054


Dear Mr. Shimane:

This is in response to your letter dated April 24, 1998, requesting a ruling on whether the proposed method of marking the containers in which the integrated circuits (ICs) are imported with the country of origin in lieu of marking the article itself is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported integrated circuits. Marked sample containers (tubes and reels) was submitted with your letter for review.

According to your letter, the semiconductor die, and the IC packages (IC housings) will be sent from the United States to the Philippines or other Asian country for assembly. The tubes and reels (containers) will also be sent from the United States. In a telephone conversation of May 22, 1998, you stated that the IC die are manufactured by your company in the United States. You indicate that the small size of the IC, as assembled abroad, does not allow it to be marked with its country of origin. However, the first letter of the country of origin will appear in front of the date code (e.g. P for Philippines). The ICs will be packed in tubes or on tape and reels for shipment to the United States. You propose marking the shipping tubes and reels:

Assembled in the Philippines.

In your telephone conversation, you indicated that presently testing will be done in the United States, but you expect that this will move to the country of assembly in the future. The ICs will be removed from the tubes and reels in the United States for testing, and repacked on the same tubes and reels, marked with the aforementioned marking, for delivery to the ultimate purchaser. In this case, the ultimate purchasers are your customers who incorporate these ICs onto printed circuit boards for the assembly of telephones and other types of equipment.

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 to 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. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. Section 134.1(d), defines the ultimate purchaser as generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported.

An article is excepted from marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a)(3)(D) and section 134.32(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(d)), if the marking of a container of such article will reasonably indicate the origin of such article. T.D. 75-187 addresses the country of origin marking requirements for semiconductors. In T.D. 75-187, Customs stated that semiconductor devices are excepted from individual marking if their containers are properly marked and Customs officials at the port of entry are satisfied that the devices will reach the ultimate purchaser in the marked containers. In T.D. 75-187, it was stated that the ultimate purchaser of the devices, within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. 1304(a), may be a manufacturer who uses the devices in the manufacture of new and different articles such as television sets, radios, or other electronic equipment, or a hobbyist, experimenter, or repairman who purchases the devices in their original imported condition for use in his hobby or profession. Accordingly, where a manufacturer uses the devices to produce other products, if the devices reach the manufacturer in a properly marked container, the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 will be satisfied.

In HRL 560024, dated December 20, 1996, Customs stated that for the repacking of semiconductor devices, the procedures of 19 C.F.R. 134.26 may be applied to articles properly marked at the time of importation that will be repackaged in retail containers after their release from Customs custody. In HRL 559244, dated March 12, 1996, Customs stated that it is clear that 19 C.F.R. 134.26 "covers situations where the containers and not the articles are marked (as an exception to the marking requirements) and the articles will be repacked."

Accordingly, the certification requirements provided at 19 C.F.R. 134.26 will apply to those articles marked with their country of origin, or to those articles which are imported in properly marked containers. Celeritek has indicated that the imported devices will not be individually marked, but will be imported in properly marked containers (tubes and reels). Therefore, the requirements of 19 C.F.R. 134.26 may be used.

Section 134.26, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 134.26), provides in pertinent part that:

If an imported article subject to these requirements is intended to be repacked in retail containers ... after its release from Customs custody, or if the port director having custody of the article, has reason to believe such article will be repacked after its release, the importer shall certify to the port director that: (1) If the importer does the repacking, he shall not obscure or conceal the country of origin marking appearing on the article, or else the new container shall be marked to indicate the country of origin of the article in accordance with the requirements of this part; or (2) if the article is intended to be sold or transferred to a subsequent purchaser or repacker, the importer shall notify such purchaser or transferee, in writing, at the time of sale or transfer, that any repacking of the article must conform to these requirements...

Therefore, this procedure may be used if the container in which the devices are packed is properly marked with the device's country of origin, and if Celeritek repackages the ICs in tubes or on reels which are marked with their country of origin. 19 C.F.R. 134.26(a) also provides that the certification statement may be submitted in blanket form to cover all importations of a particular product for a given period.

Section 134.43(e), Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 134.43(e)), provides:

(e) Assembled articles. Where an article is produced as a result of an assembly operation and the country of origin of such article is determined under this chapter to be the country in which the article was finally assembled, such article may be marked, as appropriate, in a manner such as the following:

(1) Assembled in (country of final assembly);

(2) Assembled in (country of final assembly) from components of (name of country or countries of origin of all components); or

(3) Made in, or product of, (country of final assembly).

Based on the facts presented, the devices may be excepted from marking pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1304(a)(3)(D) and 19 C.F.R. 134.32(d) and only the outer container in which the devices are packed must be marked with the country of origin of the devices. In accordance with T.D. 75-187 and 19 C.F.R. 134.43(e), the proposed marking as stated above of the containers meets the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Furthermore, the devices may be repackaged after their release from Customs custody if the requirements of 19 C.F.R. 134.26 are satisfied. The requirements of 19 C.F.R. 134.26 will be satisfied if the devices are imported in properly marked containers, Celeritek repackages the ICs in tubes or on reels which are marked with their country of origin, and submits the required certification to the port director.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 177).

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.


Robert B. Swierupski

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