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NY N003811

December 26, 2006



TARIFF NO.: 8481.80.9050

Mr. Chinsoo Park
BioMedic Data Systems, Inc.
1 Silas Road
Seaford, Delaware 19973

RE: The tariff classification of a spring-operated valve from South Korea

Dear Mr. Park:

In your letter dated November 16, 2006 you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of BioMedic Data Systems.

The article in question is described as a “VX13” valve assembly. The VX13 valve has a spring-operated mechanism and is used to deliver quality water to bio-medical research animals housed in an environmentally controlled cage. The valve is designed to pierce a water storage bag and deliver water when manipulated by the research animals. You state that the valves are assembled in South Korea from parts made in the United States. Descriptive information was submitted.

You propose classification of the VX13 valve in subheading 9018.31.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) as syringes, with or without needles. However, within the context of the tariff, syringes are designed to inject, irrigate or suction the patient. Your item does not pierce the animal, but rather pierces a bag of water, which then enables the animal to drink water normally through its mouth via the valve. Further, unlike the range of articles provided for in HTSUS heading 9018, the valves are not used in professional practice to make a diagnosis, prevent or treat an illness, or perform surgery.

The applicable subheading for the VX13 valve will be 8481.80.9050, HTSUS, which provides for other taps, cocks, valves and similar appliances. The rate of duty will be 2 percent ad valorem.

  You also inquire as to applicability of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, to the imported valves.

Subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, provides a partial duty exemption for articles assembled abroad in whole or in part of fabricated components, the product of the United States, which were exported in condition ready for assembly without further fabrication, have not lost their physical identity in such articles by change in form, shape or otherwise, and have not been advanced in value or improved in condition abroad, except by being assembled and except by operations incidental to the assembly process, such as cleaning, lubrication, and painting.

All three requirements of subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, must be satisfied before an article may receive a duty allowance. An article entered under this tariff provision is subject to duty upon the full value of the imported assembled article, less the cost or value of such U.S. components, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of Section 10.24, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 10.24).

Section 10.14(a), Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 10.14(a)), states that the U.S. components must be in a condition ready for assembly without further fabrication at the time of their exportation from the United States to qualify for the exemption. Components will not lose their entitlement to the exemption by being subjected to operations incidental to the assembly, either before, during, or after their assembly with other components. Section 10.16(a) Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 10.16(a)) provides that the assembly operation performed abroad may consist of any method used to join or fit together solid components, such as welding, soldering, riveting, force fitting, gluing, laminating, sewing, or the use of fastener.

  Based on the information you have provided, the assembly of the U.S. made valve parts in South Korea meets the standard for reduced duty treatment in HTSUS heading 9802. Therefore, the valves may enter under subheading 9802.00.8068, HTSUS, with allowances in duty for the cost or value of the U.S. components, upon compliance with the documentary requirements of 19 C.F.R. 10.24.

In your request you inquire as to the proper marking of the imported valves. You indicate that the valves are imported packed in a corrugated carton, each carton containing 60 sealed trays, each sealed tray containing 100 valve assemblies. The corrugated cartons are then palletized, 30 cartons to a pallet. You also indicate that the after importation the imported corrugated cartons are subjected to a sterilization process and re-palletized for delivery to your customers. A marked sample container was not submitted with your letter for review.

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. If an imported article is to be sold at retail in its imported form, the purchaser at retail is the ultimate purchaser. In this case, it appears that the ultimate purchaser of the valves is your customer.

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. Accordingly, if Customs is satisfied that the article will remain in its container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser and if the ultimate purchaser can tell the country of origin of the valve by viewing the container in which it is packaged, the individual valve would be excepted from marking under this provision.

Accordingly, if the individual sealed trays of 100 valve assemblies are always sold in a corrugated carton of 60 trays, then marking the corrugated carton in which the sealed trays are imported and sold to the ultimate purchaser, in lieu of marking the valve itself, is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported valves, provided the port director is satisfied that the valve will remain in the marked container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser. The corrugated carton must be marked to indicate that the valves are assembled in South Korea. The markings “Made in USA” and “Manufactured in the USA” are not acceptable markings.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

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 ruling, contact National Import Specialist Kenneth Brock at 646-733-3009.


Robert B. Swierupski

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