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HQ 563209

April 5, 2005

MAR-05 RR:CR:SM 563209 KSG


Layne McNaughton
KCE America Inc.
761 University Ave. Suite A
Los Gatos CA 95032

RE: Country of origin marking of imported circuit boards; 134.46

Dear Mr. McNaughton:

This is in response to your letter dated February 24, 200, requesting a country of origin marking ruling regarding imported circuit boards from Thailand.


KCE America Inc. imports bare double-sided and multi-layer printed circuit boards that are manufactured in Thailand. At the time of importation, KCE wishes to mark the circuit boards in permanent ink with either of the two following markings “To Be Assembled in USA,” or “For Assembly in USA.” As a third option, the marking “PCB made in Thailand” could be added to the options above. You state that your customer processes the bare circuit boards in the U.S. so that they are substantially transformed.


Whether the proposed marking of the imported bare circuit boards as described above satisfies the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304?


Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1304), as amended, provides that unless excepted, every article of foreign origin 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.

Congressional intent in enacting 19 U.S.C. 1304 was "that the ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of the marking on the imported goods the country of which the goods is the product. The evident purpose is to mark the goods so that at the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were produced, be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will." United States v. Friedlaender & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297, 302 (1940).

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

Section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46), as revised by T.D. 97-72, dated August 20, 1997, provides:

In any case in which the words “United States,” or “American,” the letters “U.S.A.,” any variation of such words or letters, or the name of any city or location in the United States, or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the country or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced appear on an imported article or its container, and those words, letters or names may mislead or deceive the ultimate purchaser as to the actual country of origin of the article, there shall appear legibly and permanently in close proximity to such words, letters or name, and in at least a comparable size, the name of the country of origin preceded by “Made in,” “Product of,” or other words of similar meaning.

Section 134.46 provides that its special marking requirements are triggered only when Customs determines that the non-origin marking may mislead or deceive the ultimate purchaser as to the actual country of origin of the article. Customs has ruled that in order to satisfy the “close proximity” requirement, the country of origin marking must appear on the same sides(s) or surface(s) in which the name of the locality other than the country of origin appears. See HRL 708994, dated April 24, 1978.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (“HRL”) 561331, dated July 9, 1999, Customs ruled that an imported casing made in Taiwan that was going to be assembled into a product in the U.S. could not be marked “Made in the U.S.” or “Product of the U.S.” in raised letters molded in Taiwan, even if imported in a container marked as a product of Taiwan. However, in HRL 559627, dated June 27, 1996, CBP ruled that finished down comforters made from Chinese shells could be marked “Comforter Filled, Sewn and Finished in the U.S. with Shell Made in China.” In this case, all the information contained in the marking was factually correct. The article which reached the ultimate purchaser was marked to indicate that the shell was made in China and the marking satisfied the special marking requirements set forth in 19 CFR 134.46. The proposed markings “To Be Assembled in USA” and “For Assembly in USA” would trigger the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 because they are potentially confusing or misleading as to the origin of the imported bare PCB. If the phrase “PCB made in Thailand” appears in close proximity to the proposed markings set forth above, the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 134.46 would be satisfied.


The proposed markings “To Be Assembled in USA” or “For Assembly in USA” are acceptable only if the phrase “PCB made in Thailand” appears in close proximity and otherwise satisfies the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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