James Lee
Ebang Holdings International Inc.
12 Marina View, #20-02B
Singapore 018961

RE: Tariff Classification and Country of Origin of Monocrystalline Silicon Ingots; Substantial Transformation; Section 301 Trade Remedy Duties

Dear Mr. Lee:

This is in response to your inquiry, dated November 30, 2023, requesting a binding ruling with respect to the country of origin and tariff classification of monocrystalline silicon ingots. Your request, submitted as an electronic ruling request, was forwarded to this office from the National Commodity Specialist Division for response. Along with your ruling request, you submitted illustrations of the ingots, documents detailing the manufacturing process, as well as a composition breakdown of the merchandise.


The merchandise at issue is a monocrystalline silicon ingot. This ingot will be imported into the United States and used in the production of solar cells. Electronic-grade polysilicon sourced from China (either from Sichuan, Yunnan, or Inner Mongolia) is used to produce monocrystalline silicon ingots, either in China or Malaysia. The ingot production process is described as the Czochralski method.

You state the process is similar to that in New York Ruling Letter ("NY") N328489, dated October 17, 2022, which describes the following: 1. Preparing the electronic-grade polysilicon for ingot formation: The removal of surface impurities using chemical treatments. The electronic-grade polysilicon is placed in cascading acid baths of nitric acid (HNO3) and hydrofluoric acid (HF), which act to etch and remove the outside surface of the EGS to a depth of about 300 - 400um. The acids are removed by rinsing the EGS in deionized water. The electronic-grade polysilicon crystals are dried in air-free furnaces and packed into polyethylene bags to await further processing. 2. Preparation of High Purity Polysilicon: The electronic-grade polysilicon crystals are placed into a quartz crucible for heating. The crucible is heated until the polysilicon crystals are molten (at 1425 C) in the presence of an inert gas, such as argon, which prevents the reintroduction of contaminants. The creation of a wafer with a positive or negative current imparts the essential character of a semiconductor wafer. These positive or negative currents are made by doping, which is the intentional introduction of contaminants. P-doping creates a positive current. The opposite occurs in N-doping, which creates a negative current. 3. Growing or "Pulling" the Ingot: A seed crystal is a small piece of single crystal material from which a larger desired crystal of identical structure is to be grown. The specifically designed seed crystal (undoped, B, P or other doping agent) is precisely oriented on a rod and dipped into the saturated molten solution. The seed crystal that is attached to the rod is dipped to just below the surface of the molten silicon. The rod is then drawn or "pulled" upwards very slowly, at a rate of 30 - 40mm per hour and simultaneously rotated as the crucible rotates in the opposite direction. By controlling the temperature gradient, rate of pulling, and speed of rotations, it is possible to extract a large, single crystal. The molten semiconductor material will slowly solidify into a crystal based on the lattice structure of the seed, resulting in a rod of single or monocrystalline semiconductor material. The ingot, or "boule", can vary in size from 2 inches (50.8mm) to 8 inches (200mm) in diameter and up to a meter long. 4. Testing the Semiconductor Ingot: Test wafers/disks are cut using a water cooled saw from the semiconductor ingot. The disks are then tested to determine and evaluate their physical and electrical properties. Each wafer is then measured for specific electromechanical parameters. In order to eliminate the resistivity influence of thermal donors, the ingots are annealed in a special furnace, ranging from 100C to 740C. 5. Mechanical Treatment of Ingots: After all the necessary measurements and annealing is completed, the silicon ingot is subjected to mechanical processing to give it the required geometric parameters, such as diameter, length, and primary and secondary flat. However, you state that the process in this case will differ from NY N328489, in that the final outputs will be larger and longer in size, ranging from 6 inches to 12 inches in diameter, and from 32 inches to 60 inches in length; and the silicon ingots will be cut into square rods. After cutting, the four corners of the square rod will appear as arcs.

You state that polycrystalline is composed of countless small single crystals of silicon with an incomplete crystal structure. Due to this structure, the polysilicon is relatively inhomogeneous with high surface roughness and grain boundary density. Additionally, polycrystalline silicon has higher optical scattering and lower electric properties.

In contrast, you state the monocrystalline silicon has a complete crystal structure and the entire silicon wafer is composed of a large single crystal resulting in the monocrystalline silicon possessing more uniform physical properties with a smoother surface and lower grain boundary density. Moreover, monocrystalline silicon has lower optical scattering and higher electronic properties, making it widely used in integrated circuits, photovoltaic cells, and optical devices.

You state chemical composition of the monocrystalline silicon ingots after production is 99.99% Silicon (Si). The corresponding Chemical Abstracts Service ("CAS") number is 7440-21-3. The rest are impurities containing Carbon, Tellurium, and Aluminum.


1. What is the country of origin of monocrystalline silicon ingots produced in Malaysia?

2. What is the tariff classification of the monocrystalline silicon ingots?


1. Country of Origin

When determining the country of origin for purposes of applying current trade remedies under Section 301, the substantial transformation analysis is applicable. See, e.g., Headquarters Ruling ("HQ") H301619, dated November 6, 2018. The test for determining whether a substantial transformation will occur is whether an article emerges from a process with a new name, character, or use, different from that possessed by the article prior to processing. See Texas Instruments, Inc. v. United States, 681 F.2d 778 (C.C.P.A. 1982). This determination is based on the totality of the evidence. See Nat'l Hand Tool Corp. v. United States, 16 CIT 308 (1992), aff'd, 989 F.2d 1201 (Fed. Cir. 1993). If the manufacturing or combining process is a minor one which leaves the identity of the article intact, a substantial transformation has not occurred. See United States v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (1940). To determine whether a substantial transformation occurs, CBP considers the totality of the circumstances and makes such determinations on a case-by-case basis. The country of origin of the item's components, extent of the processing that occurs within a country, and whether such processing renders a product with a new name, character, and use are primary considerations in such cases. Additionally, factors such as the resources expended on product design and development, the extent and nature of post-assembly inspection and testing procedures, and worker skill required during the actual manufacturing process will be considered when determining whether a substantial transformation has occurred. No one factor is determinative.

In NY N328489, dated October 17, 2022, CBP held that monocrystalline silicon ingots were substantially transformed into polysilicon wafers after the production process in the Ukraine using the Czochralski method. The Czochralski method is a process of crystal growth in which a seed crystal, mounted on a rod, is dipped into a crucible of molten material (polycrystalline silicon), and shaped into cylindrical silicon boules from the molten material. See also NY061759 (May 27, 2009). In Ukraine, CBP determined that the U.S. originating polysilicon underwent a "pulling" process that changed the physical and electrical properties of the final product that were distinct and different due to its usefulness for integrated circuit production. CBP found that the manufacturing process that took place in Ukraine imparted the essence of the monocrystalline silicon wafers.

We find that although the lengths are different, this case is similar to NY N328489, where the nature of the processing resulted in a new and different product, with a new name, character and use. As a result of the processing, the polysilicon will undergo a change in character, from an incomplete crystal structure with high surface roughness and high grain boundary density to a complete crystal structure with a smoother surface and a low grain boundary density. It also undergoes a change in use, from having higher optical scattering to lower optical scattering. Additionally, the final product has higher electronic properties and the ability to be used in integrated circuits, optical devices, and photovoltaic cells. The removal of the non-silicon impurities changes the semi-conducting properties of the material. As such, we find that the polysilicon will have been substantially transformed into a new and different product. Therefore, in accordance with the ruling cited, we find that the country of origin of the monocrystalline silicon ingots will be Malaysia and Section 301 measures will not apply.

2. Tariff Classification

Merchandise imported into the United States is classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). The tariff classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is governed by the principles set forth in the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) and, in the absence of special language or context which otherwise requires, by the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. The GRIs and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation are part of the HTSUS and are to be considered statutory provision of law for all purposes. See Sections 1204(a) and 1204(c) of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (19 U.S.C. 1204(a) and 1204(c)).

GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRls 2 through 6 may then be applied in order. GRI 6 states:

For legal purposes, the classification of goods in the subheading of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related subheading notes, and mutatis mutandis, to the above rules, on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable. For the purposes of this rule, the relative section, chapter, and subchapter notes also apply, unless the context otherwise requires.

The 2024 HTSUS headings under consideration are as follows:

2804: Hydrogen, rare gases and other nonmetals:


2804.61.00: Containing by weight not less than 99.99 percent of silicon.

* * *

8541: Semiconductor devices (for example, diodes, transistors, semiconductor-based transducers); photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells whether or not assembled in modules or made up into panels; light-emitting diodes (LED), whether or not assembled with other light-emitting diodes (LED); mounted piezo-electric crystals; parts thereof:

8541.90.00: Parts.

* * *

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes ("EN") constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of [the] proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (Aug. 23, 1989).

EN 28.04 provides, in relevant part, that:

Very pure silicon, obtained by, for example, crystal pulling, may be in forms unworked as drawn, or in the form of cylinders or rods; when doped with boron, phosphorus, etc., it is used for the manufacture of, for example, diodes, transistors and other semi-conductor devices and solar cells.

The product at issue is monocrystalline silicon ingots. You state chemical composition of silicon ingots is 99.99% Silicon (Si). The corresponding Chemical Abstracts Service ("CAS") number is 7440-21-3. The rest are impurities with the main components being Carbon, Tellurium, and Aluminum. As such, we find that the monocrystalline silicon ingots are classified under heading subheading 2804.61.00, HTSUS.

The United States Trade Representative ("USTR") has determined that an additional ad valorem duty of 25% will be imposed on certain Chinese imports pursuant to USTR's authority under Section 301(b) of the Trade Act of 1974 ("Section 301 measures"). The relevant Section 301 measures apply to products of China enumerated in Section XXII, Chapter 99, Subchapter III, U.S. Note 20(e), which provides in pertinent part that for the purposes of subheading 9903.88.03, products of China that are classified in the subheadings enumerated in U.S. note 20(f), shall be subject to an additional 25 percent ad valorem rate of duty. Among the subheadings listed in U.S. Note 20(f) is subheading 2804.61.00, HTSUS.

Therefore, because the monocrystalline silicon ingots are a product of China, and classified under subheading 2804.61.00, HTSUS, they are subject to Section 301 measures. Accordingly, at the time of importation, you must report the Chapter 99 subheading, i.e., 9903.88.03, HTSUS, in addition to subheading 2804.61.00, HTSUS listed above, for the merchandise.


The country of origin of monocrystalline silicon ingots made from polysilicon from China in Malaysia will be Malaysia.

By application of GRIs 1 and 6, in scenario two, we find that the monocrystalline silicon ingots are classified under heading subheading 2804.61.00, HTSUS, which provides for "Hydrogen, rare gases and other nonmetals: Silicon: Containing by weight not less than 99.99 percent of silicon." Pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, products of China classified under subheading 2804.61.00, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 25 percent ad valorem rate of duty. At the time of importation, you must report the Chapter 99 subheading, i.e., 9903.88.03, in addition to subheading 2804.61.00, HTSUS, listed above.

Please note that 19 C.F.R. 177.9(b)(1) provides that "[e]ach ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in connection with the ruling request and incorporated in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect. The application of a ruling letter by a CBP field office to the transaction to which it is purported to relate is subject to the verification of the facts incorporated in the ruling letter, a comparison of the transaction described therein to the actual transaction, and the satisfaction of any conditions on which the ruling was based."

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


Monika R. Brenner, Chief
Valuation and Special Programs Branch