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August 20, 1999

CLA-2-84:RR:NC:1:103 E85347


TARIFF NO.: 8443.90.5000

Mr. Craig M. Schau
Emery Customs Brokers
6940A Engle Road
Middleburg Heights, OH 44130

RE: The tariff classification of printer components from China

Dear Mr. Schau:

In your letter dated July 28, 1999 on behalf of Loveshaw Corp. you requested a tariff classification ruling.

Your client imports components used in the assembly of the MicroJet 5X5 and MicroJet Multi II industrial ink jet printers. Literature submitted with your inquiry indicates these printers are designed to be attached to a box sealing machine. As the box moves along the sealing machine the printer produces alphanumeric characters formed by a matrix of ink dots on the box, thus allowing the box to be marked with various information. These printers are self-contained units incorporating a keypad to allow the operator to produce the desired message, a built-in controller, and a small LCD screen which displays the message as it will appear on the box. The MicroJet 5X5 can produce a single line message up to 39 characters long, can store up to 41 different messages, and can print at rates up to 100 feet per minute. The MicroJet Multi II is similar in configuration, but can produce two lines of print and store up to 177 messages. Neither machine is connected to a computer.

The particular components which are imported for these printers are the outermost housing, a housing handle (used to open the housing and reveal the keypad and LCD screen), an ink valve, and an adjustable arm bracket which allows the printer to be attached to the case sealing machine. All the other components of these model printers, including the printheads and the disposable ink supply containers, are made in the United States. Your client assembles the foreign and domestic components to produce the complete printer.

The applicable subheading for the housing, housing handle, and adjustable arm bracket will be 8443.90.5000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for parts of printing machinery, including ink-jet printing machines, other than those of heading 8471. The duty rate will be free.

Your inquiry does not provide enough information for us to give a classification ruling on the ink valve. Your request for a classification ruling should include a complete description of this article, including its use and method of operation.

When this information is available, you may wish to consider resubmission of your request. We are returning any related samples, exhibits, etc. If you decide to resubmit your request, please include all of the material that we have returned to you.

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

You also asked whether the imported parts may be exempted from country of origin marking requirements because Loveshaw Corp. assembles them with other parts to produce complete printers. 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. 19 CFR 134.1(d)(1) states that if an imported article will be used in manufacture, the manufacturer may be the ultimate purchaser if he subjects the imported article to a process which results in a substantial transformation of the article. The case of U.S. v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., Inc., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (C.A.D. 98) (1940), provides that an article used in manufacture which results in an article having a name, character or use differing from that of the constituent article will be considered substantially transformed and that the manufacturer or processor will be considered the ultimate purchaser of the constituent materials. In such circumstances, the imported article is excepted from marking and only the outermost container is required to be marked. See, 19 CFR 134.35.

If the imported components undergo a substantial transformation, they may be exempted from individual country of origin marking provided their outermost container is properly marked. You state your client is aware that, for those imported components which are occasionally sold to customers as spare parts, each part must be individually marked to indicate its country of origin.

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 Alan Horowitz at 212-637-7027.


Robert B. Swierupski

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