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NY H89852

April 16, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:1:117 H89852


Ms. Judith L. Haggin
Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services, Inc. 1100 SW Sixth Avenue, Suite 1212
Portland, Oregon 97204


Dear Ms. Haggin:

This is in response to your letter dated March 19, 2002 on behalf of API International, Inc. (API) requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements for pipe, tube or pipe fittings of iron or steel. A representative sample was submitted with your letter for review.

The product at issue is a stainless steel 3-inch 45-degree elbow fitting with a nominal diameter of 1 inch and a wall thickness of 0.0625 inch. This fitting, referred to as a sanitary fitting, is made of Type 304 stainless steel and is polished. You state that this fitting will be sold primarily to the food, dairy and wine industry for use in product flow lines. These fittings are finished to conform to the “3-A” standards, which are Sanitary Standards for Sanitary Fittings for Milk and Milk Products. This sanitary standard requires that the product’s contact surfaces shall be free of imperfections such as pits, folds and crevices in the final fabricated form.

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.

19 U.S.C. 1304(c)(1), requires that all pipe (iron, steel, stainless steel), tube and pipe fittings (steel, stainless steel, chrome-moly steel or cast or malleable iron) shall be marked to indicate the proper country of origin by one of five methods, die stamping, cast-in-mold lettering, etching, engraving, or continuous paint stenciling.

19 U.S.C. 1304(c)(2), provides that if, because of the nature of an article, it is technically or commercially infeasible to mark by one of the five prescribed methods, the article may be marked by an equally permanent method of marking or in the case of small diameter pipe, tube or pipe fittings, by tagging the containers or bundles.

You state that die-stamping or engraving would create crevices and pockets, which would violate the “3-A” sanitary standard. Additionally, engraving would not be conspicuous. Cast-in-mold lettering is not a feasible method of marking because these fittings are not produced by a casting method. Since the fittings at issue will be sold to the food, dairy and wine industry, you state that, for health and sanitary reasons, it is preferable to not have paint in the form of stenciling or any other manner on the product. You therefore request that we consider the following alternative methods of marking the stainless bends: (1) affixing a sticker to the packaging (hermetically sealed plastic wrap container) or (2) where the “3-A”is required to be marked on the fitting itself, a sticker reading “Made in Taiwan” be affixed to the fitting or the packaging.

The representative sample that was submitted with your ruling request is marked with the “A-3” symbol and “304” (the type of stainless steel) by what appears to be permanent ink stenciling. Since this information can be stenciled onto the surface of the subject fitting, there appears to be no reason why the country of origin cannot also be marked on the fitting by permanent stenciling.

Marking the subject stainless steel fittings by permanent stenciling such as ink stenciling satisfies the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304(c).

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 Paula Ilardi at 646-733-3020.


Robert B. Swierupski

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