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HQ 730915

July 26, 1989

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 730915


John Stillman
Blue Bell, Inc.
P.O. Box 21488
Greensboro, NC 27420

RE: Country of origin marking of cotton jacket

Dear Mr. Stillman:

This is in response to your letter requesting a ruling on whether your proposed method of marking a cotton jacket satisfies section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304). We regret the delay in responding to your inquiry.


You submitted a sample cotton jacket containing four labels attached at the neck of the garment. The top label is approximately two and one-half inches by one and one-fourth inches, is made of fabric, and contains the words "Marithe & Francois Girbaud". The three smaller labels are sewn one on top of the other to the large label. The bottom label is approximately one inch square, is made of paper and is marked first with several numbers, then the RN number, the words "100% cotton" and "Assembled in Mexico". The second label is approximately one inch by three-fourth of an inch, is made of fabric and contains the washing instructions. The third label is approximately one-half inch square, is made of fabric, and indicates the size of the garment. Because of the placement and size of the three labels, the only wording on the bottom label that is visible without lifting the second label is the word "Mexico".


Whether the proposed method of marking the country of origin described above satisfies 19 U.S.C. 1304.


Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), 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 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 at 302 (1940).

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, Customs Regulatons (19 CFR 134.41), requires that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. A marking that is not fully visible cannot be read without strain. In this instance, the country of origin marking is partially obscured by the fabric tag containing the washing instructions. Therefore, the country of origin marking on the sample submitted would not satisfy 19 CFR 134.41.

Furthermore, the country of origin marking "Assembled in Mexico" may be used improperly. Section 10.22, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.22), allows the use of the language "assembled in ___ of U.S. components" for country of origin marking where the imported article is made of American-made components, assembled abroad and imported under subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (formerly item 807.00 of the Tariff Schedules of the United States). Customs allowed the use of the country of origin marking "Assembled in Mexico" for a pen assembled in Mexico of U.S. components. HQ 723430(October 21, 1983). Customs also allowed in HQ 729938 (May 13, 1987), the use of either "Made in Mexico" or "Assembled in Mexico" for wearing apparel assembled in Mexico and imported under item 807.00, Tariff Schedules of the United States. The wearing apparel was made either entirely of U.S. components or primarily of U.S. components. In this instance, there is no indication in your letter that the cotton jacket is made of U.S. components. Unless the jacket is made of U.S. components, it is deceptive to use the phrase "Assembled in" when in fact the merchandise is made in that country. The phrase "Assembled in" has a specific meaning within the context of country of origin marking and should not be used as a synonym of "Made in" or "Product of".

In addition, the country of origin marking label is made of paper. By a Customs Circular letter published as T.D. 54640(6), we held that on and after October 1, 1958, wearing apparel such as shirts, blouses, coats, sweaters, etc. must be legibly and conspicuously marked with the name of the country of origin by means of a fabric label sewn or otherwise permanently affixed on the inside center of the neck midway between the shoulder seams or in that immediate area or otherwise permanently marked in that area in some other manner. The paper label on the sample does not comply with T.D. 54640(6) and is not acceptable for marking purposes.

If the importer attached a sewn-in country of origin marking on a fabric label with the legend "Made in" and the country of origin marking was fully visible to the ultimate purchaser, the labeling would satisfy 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR 134.41 if the ultimate purchaser could otherwise read it without strain.


The sample submitted, in which the country of origin marking on a cotton jacket is partially obscured by another label, is made of paper, and reads "Assembled in Mexico", does not satisfy 19 U.S.C. 1304 or 19 CFR 134.41. As requested, the sample is being returned under separate cover.


Marvin M. Amernick
Chief, Value, Special Programs

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