United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1990 HQ Rulings > HQ 0732331 - HQ 0732810 > HQ 0732575

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 732575

July 12, 1990

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 732575 KG


Beth C. Ring, Esq.
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg. P.A.
505 Park Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10022-1106

RE: Country of origin marking of imported videocassette cartons

Dear Ms. Ring:

This is in response to your letter of July 5, 1989, requesting a country of origin ruling regarding imported videocassette cartons. We regret the delay in responding to your inquiry.


Your client proposes to import empty cardboard videocassette containers from Canada. A U.S. videocassette producer will fill the cartons with videocassettes. The containers will be pre- glued and shipped flat.


Whether the imported videocassette cartons must be individually marked to indicate their country of origin.


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. The Court of International Trade stated in Koru North America v. United States, 701 F.Supp. 229, 12 CIT (CIT 1988), that: "In ascertaining what constitutes the country of origin under the marking statute, a court must look at the sense in which the term is used in the statute, giving reference to the purpose of the particular legislation involved. The purpose of the marking statute is outlined in United States v. Friedlaender & Co., 27 CCPA 297 at 302, C.A.D. 104 (1940), where the court stated that: "Congress intended 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."

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.24(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.24(c)(1)), provides that when disposable containers or holders are imported by persons or firms who fill or package them with various products which they sell, these persons or firms are the ultimate purchasers of these containers or holders and they may be excepted from individual marking pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1304(a)(3)(D). The outside wrappings or packages containing the containers shall be clearly marked to indicate the country of origin.

In HQ 731863 (February 14, 1990), cosmetic compacts were held to be disposable containers and pursuant to 19 CFR 134.24(c)(1), the compacts were not required to be individually marked. This ruling modified HQ 722170 (July 18, 1983), HQ 722547 (August 30, 1983), and HQ 723905 (March 20, 1984), in which Customs ruled that plastic cosmetic compacts were required to be individually marked. In HQ 723905 Customs affirmed its view that plastic compacts imported empty to be filled in the U.S. with U.S. made cosmetics were not disposable containers subject to 19 CFR 134.24(c)(1) because compacts are not merely containers, but rather are substantial, functional articles in their own right. As support for this position, Customs cited rulings classifying compacts as "flat goods" under item 706.60 (706.61) of the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), rather than "containers ... chiefly used for the packing, transporting or marketing of merchandise" under item 772.70, TSUS.

Customs ruled in HQ 731863 that currently it does not regard the empty plastic cosmetic compact as a substantial, functional article in its own right. Further, Customs considered the classification of the sample under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ("HTSUS") which superseded and replaced the TSUS. Plastic cosmetic compacts are now classified under subheading 3923.10.0000, HTSUS, which provides for plastic articles for the conveyance or packing of goods, of plastics, boxes, cases, crates and similar articles. See HQ 084714 (July 19, 1989). Since plastic compacts are now classified as containers, the justification for Customs prior position that cosmetic compacts are not disposable containers was considered no longer valid.

This case is similar to HQ 731863. Videocassette containers are not designed for or capable of reuse after the contents have been consumed. Like the cosmetic compacts, the videocassette containers are used to store the product which was purchased and are discarded at the end of the life of the product. These containers are sold at retail with their contents and are otherwise not available on the retail market. These containers are disposable containers within the meaning of 19 CFR 134.24(c)(1) and only the outside wrapping or packaging of the containers must be marked to indicate their country of origin.

You noted in your letter that Customs had previously ruled in HQ 729224 (January 14, 1987), that imported record jackets were not disposable containers but rather separate and distinct articles of commerce with their own practical and commercial uses. This was in accordance with HQ 702026 (July 6, 1973), which concluded that a record album was considered a separate article from the album cover for country of origin marking purposes. The conclusion reached in HQ 729224 was based in part on the classification of the record jackets under the TSUS. As you noted, record jackets are now classified under the HTSUS with other containers. Further, HQ 729224 cited to the ruling on cosmetic compacts in support of its position. This ruling on cosmetic compacts, HQ 723905 (March 20, 1984), has been overruled by HQ 731863 (February 14, 1990). For these reasons, HQ 729224 is no longer in conformity with Customs position on disposable containers and it is hereby overruled. HQ 702026 (July 6, 1973) and HQ 732426 (April 9, 1990) regarding Any rulings that are inconsistent with this ruling are modified accordingly.


The imported videocassette containers are disposable containers and in accordance with 19 CFR 134.24(c)(1), only the outside wrappings or packages containing the containers must be marked with the country of origin of the videocassette containers.


John Durant

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: