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HQ 732659

January 26, 1990

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 732659 KG


Salvatore E. Caramagno
Ross & Hardies
888 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006-4103

RE: Country of origin marking of advertising material & envelopes

Dear Mr. Caramagno:

This is in response to your letters of August 11, and December 18, 1989, requesting a country of origin ruling on behalf of Texcom Marketing, Inc., regarding imported printed advertising material and addressed envelopes.


Your client is a Canadian company that prints advertising material, places the advertisements in envelopes, addresses the envelopes with a U.S. mailing address and a U.S. return address and places U.S. postage on the envelopes. The envelopes are then imported into the U.S. by the U.S. company or organization that is doing the advertising. The outer containers in which the franked envelopes are imported are marked to indicate Canada is the country of origin. However, neither the individual envelopes nor its contents are marked to indicate the country of origin.


What is the proper country of origin marking for imported advertising material placed in U.S. addressed and stamped envelopes.


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), "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, 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 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. The ultimate purchaser is defined in section 134.1(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(d)), as "generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported." If the imported article is distributed as a gift, section 134.1(d)(4), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(d)(4)), provides that the recipient is the ultimate purchaser.

Customs has held in a ruling on this point that imported advertising brochures and flyers, to be distributed without charge by the importer to prospective customers of the importer's business, are subject to country of origin marking requirements under 19 U.S.C. 1304. HQ 723488 (October 31, 1983). In that ruling, Customs rejected the argument that the importer was the ultimate purchaser. Also see HQ 728335 (August 2, 1985), in which Customs held that recipients of a brochure used for self- promotion were the ultimate purchaser and therefore, the brochure would have to be individually marked with the country of origin marking. Customs held in HQ 731543 (May 17, 1989), that imported return mailers were required to be individually marked with the country of origin because the recipient of the mailer is the ultimate purchaser.

Based upon these rulings, Customs is of the opinion that the recipient is the ultimate purchaser of the printed advertising mail and not the U.S. company or organization ordering the printed material. Therefore, the recipient must be informed of the country of origin of the imported advertising material and addressed envelope.

Section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46), requires that when a U.S. address appears on an imported article or its container, the country of origin must be printed in close proximity, legibly, permanently and in comparable size. A U.S. address on an envelope does not connote the country of origin of an article and would not mislead an ultimate purchaser. Further, we are concerned that marking the country of origin just below the U.S. address could confuse the U.S. Postal Service or interfere in their function of efficiently delivering the U.S. mail. For these reasons, the printed envelopes with the U.S. addresses do not trigger the special marking requirements of 19 CFR 134.46.

However, these imported articles are not excepted from the provisions of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and therefore, must be marked with the country of origin in a place which would be visible to the ultimate purchaser, either on the envelope or on the printed material. The country of origin marking must be easily found and readable without strain as required by 19 CFR 134.41.

You argue that mail has always been subject to special treatment and cite 19 CFR Part 145. The special provisions of 19 CFR Part 145 applicable to mail apply to articles transmitted through the U.S. mail and not to articles which will be imported with the future intent of transmitting them through the mail. Therefore, 19 CFR Part 145 does not apply to this case. You also argue that although the imported articles involved here are not posted, they should be treated as first class mail. No authority or precedent is cited for this proposition. Section 145.0, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 145.0), states that the provisions of Part 145- Mail Importations pertains specifically to the importation of merchandise through the mails. The definition of mail article contained in 19 CFR 145.1(a) is limited to posted articles. In this instance, Customs cannot treat imported advertising, which has not been mailed, as if it were posted in the mail.

Further, even if the letters were posted in Canada, the advertising material would be required by 19 CFR 145.14 to be marked with the country of origin. If posted materials are not properly marked, pursuant to 19 CFR 145.14(c), the mail article will be treated as undeliverable.


The recipient of advertising material and envelopes is the ultimate purchaser. For the reasons stated above, imported printed material containing a U.S. address, which is placed there for mailing instructions, is excepted from the special marking requirements of 19 CFR 134.46. Either the envelope or the printed material may be marked with the country of origin as long as the marking can be easily found and read without strain.


John Durant

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