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NY J89230

October 15, 2003

CLA-2-90:RR:NC:N1:105 J89230


TARIFF NO.: 9018.39.0040

Mr. Gerardo Montemayor
Rafael A. Morales, Inc.
8404 Killam Industrial Blvd.
Killam Industrial Park
Laredo, Texas 78045

RE: The tariff classification of urinary catheters Assembled in Mexico From USA Components

Dear Mr. Montemayor:

In your letter dated September 21, 2003, for Rusch, Inc., you requested a tariff classification and marking ruling.

You state: “Our client, Rusch Inc., will be importing from Mexico assembled urinary catheters from their Nuevo Laredo Mexico facility. The catheters will be assembled from U.S. manufactured components, with the exception of the vinyl or latex examination gloves, which are imported from various vendors in China, Malaysia or Indochina. The catheter kits are packaged at this facility, and imported for sterilization at a U.S. designated site.

The assembly of the catheters consists of a simple process whereby the various components are put together, with very minimal cutting, and then packaged for exportation. Some catheter assemblies will be added a kit, which contains antiseptic swabs, gloves, and a drape. These kits will contain the imported examination gloves.

The assembly process, as outlined by Rusch Inc., consists of the following operations:

Cutting: an incision is made on the wall of the catheters and is the only cutting involved in the assembly process. This can be observed at the far and of the catheter and is done to facilitate removal from the bag. The catheter is then forwarded for a lubricant application.

Kits: antiseptic swabs, gloves and a drape are folded into a neat package for incision into some products. This kit will contain the imported examination gloves mentioned.

Cap/Tip fill: components to aid insertion are assembled and lubricant is placed inside the assembly.

Stands: the catheters with lubricant are inserted into a special plastic bag and the cap/tip assembly is fitted on top.

Sealer: the bags with the catheter are sealed.

Packaging: the assembled catheter is placed in a packaging machine along with the kit, if applicable, and sealed in a breathable pouch to be sterilized in the U.S.

You ask that based on the above scenario, are the catheter assemblies classifiable under HTS 9018.39.0040, and since the catheters are assembled in Mexico, based under Section 134.43(e), can the following marking be applied to the finished product, ’Assembled in Mexico from U.S. Components’?”

You have included samples of both finished products, catheters with the kits, product codes #RLA-142-3 and SONK-142-3, and the catheters by themselves, product codes #ONC-8 and SONC-14F, for our review.

It is clear that the catheter provides the essential character to the two kits with additional items.

We agree that the applicable subheading for the four urinary catheter items will be 9018.39.0040, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for, inter alia, catheters, other than rubber catheters. The rate of duty will be free.

Regarding the country of origin marking, we must first determine the country of origin of the items.

Since you have not provided samples of the components of the catheters as they leave the United States, we are not able to able to fully apply the test in CR 102.20-q.

However, for the two samples without non-Nafta gloves, the ONC-8 and SONC-14F, they are clearly eligible for NAFTA preference based on your statement that all the components are made in the USA. Therefore, per CR 102.19, their country of origin is Mexico regardless of the tests in CR 102.20-q. Thus, it would be acceptable to mark them as Assembled in Mexico.

The marking you suggest uses the name of the United States. However, whether any reference can be made on the labels to the U.S. components in the kits is an issue under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You may contact the FTC, Division of Enforcement, 6th & Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20508, telephone number 202-326-2222, on the propriety of any indication that components of the article are made in the U.S.

Regarding the two kits including non-Nafta gloves, the RLA-142-3 and SONK-142-3, we are returning your request for a marking ruling, and any related samples, exhibits, etc., because we need additional information in order to issue a ruling. Please submit the additional information indicated below:

The cost of the gloves relative to the whole imported set.

Supply the samples of and approximate cost for all components exactly as they leave the US for Mexico and explain in greater detail the assembly of the catheters. Also state the source country of the fibers for the textile items.

Also include a statement as to whether marking advice has been sought from a Customs officer; and if so, from whom, and what advice was rendered, if any.

When this information is available, you may wish to consider resubmission of your request. If you decide to resubmit your request, please include all of the material that we have returned to you and mail your request to U.S. Customs, Customs Information Exchange, 10th Floor, One Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10119, attn: Binding Rulings Section.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 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 above, contact National Import Specialist J. Sheridan at 646-733-3012.


Robert B. Swierupski

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