Kelley Drye & Warren LLP
3050 K Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20007
RE: The country of origin and marking of a transistor
Dear Ms. McCadney:
In your letter dated September 4, 2020, you requested a country of origin and marking ruling on behalf of your client, Infineon Technologies Americas Corp.
The item concerned is referred to as the Infineon CoolMOS transistor.
The production process for the CoolMOS transistors is divided into two basic phases, the front-end production process, which occurs in either Austria or Malaysia, and the back-end packaging process, which occurs in China.
The front-end process determines all inherent electrical performance parameters of the CoolMOS transistor. This process begins with raw wafers or substrates and ends with structured wafers prepared for packaging.
The front-end manufacturing process that takes place within Austria or Malaysia consist of the following:
( Layer deposition.
( Lithography process.
( Ion implantation.
( Resist removal and cleaning.
( Thermal processing.
( Chemical mechanical polishing.
Next the wafers (or die) are shipped to China for this back-end assembly process. In some instances, wafer sawing occurs at the back-end site, while in some versions, it occurs at the front-end site.
The back-end manufacturing process that takes place within China includes the following:
( Attaching the die to the lead frame.
( Re-flow soldering.
( Wire bonding.
The package serves as a mechanical carrier of the silicon die, protects the die against environmental effects like shock and moisture, and allows for the connection of the die to the printed circuit board ("PCB").
A complete manufacturing process description and explanation has been provided.
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.
The "country of origin" is defined in 19 CFR 134.1(b) as "the country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the United States. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other country the 'country of origin' within the meaning of this part."
For tariff purposes, the courts have held that a substantial transformation occurs when an article emerges from a process with a new name, character or use different from that possessed by the article prior to processing. United States v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., Inc., 27 CCPA 267, C.A.D. 98 (1940); National Hand Tool Corp. v. United States, 16 CIT 308 (1992), aff'd, 989 F. 2d 1201 (Fed. Cir. 1993); Anheuser Busch Brewing Association v. The United States, 207 U.S. 556 (1908) and Uniroyal Inc. v. United States, 542 F. Supp. 1026 (1982).
However, if the manufacturing or combining process is merely a minor one that leaves the identity of the article intact, a substantial transformation has not occurred. Uniroyal, Inc. v. United States, 3 CIT 220, 542 F. Supp. 1026, 1029 (1982), aff'd, 702 F.2d 1022 (Fed. Cir. 1983). Substantial transformation determinations are based on the totality of the evidence. See Headquarters Ruling (HQ) W968434, date January 17, 2007, citing Ferrostaal Metals Corp. v. United States, 11 CIT 470, 478, 664 F. Supp. 535, 541 (1987).
Based upon the facts presented, it is the opinion of this office that wafers or die (which contain the completed Infineon CoolMOS transistor circuitry) manufactured within either Austria or Malaysia do not undergo a substantial transformation as a result of the manufacturing process that takes place in China. They retain their identity as transistors with a predetermined end use. Therefore, since a substantial transformation does not occur as a result of the Chinese manufacturing/assembly process, the country of origin of the finished Infineon CoolMOS transistor will be the country where the front end processing occurs. For origin and marking purposes the country of origin of the Infineon CoolMOS transistor will be either Austria or Malaysia at time of importation into the United States.
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 Steven Pollichino at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division