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 > 1991 HQ Rulings > HQ 0732986 - HQ 0733301 > HQ 0733098

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 733098

April 16, 1990

MAR-2-05 CO:R:V:C 733098 RSD


Michael O'Neill
O'Neill and Whitaker, Inc.
1809 Baltimore Avenue
Kansas City, Missouri 64108

RE: Country of origin marking of imported binoculars

Dear Mr. O'Neill:

This is in response to your letter of December 8, 1989, requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking of imported binoculars.


Your client, Jason Empire, Inc., (Jason) is an importer of binoculars. You have submitted a copy of a retail blister card used by one of Jason's competitors which indicates the country of origin of its imported binoculars. This retail blister card does not clearly define the country of origin. Instead, it states "Made in the Far East (Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan or China)." You request a clarification as to whether this country of origin marking is acceptable. In addition, you also want to know whether it would be acceptable for Jason to indicate that the product contains components made in the U.S. on its country of origin marking.


Is a country of origin marking which states that the product is made in the Far East and lists Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, or China acceptable under 19 U.S.C. 1304?

May the importer include information on its country of origin marking indicating that the product contains U.S. components?


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 will permit "in such a manner as to indicate to an ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin of the article." The purpose of the marking statute is outlined in United States
v. Friedlaedner & Co., 277 CCPA 297, 302, C.A.D. 104 (1940), in which the court stated: "Congress intended that the ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of the marking of 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. Country of origin is defined by section 134.1(b) of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(b)), as "the country of manufacture, production or growth of any article of foreign entering the U.S. 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'."

Upon examination of the copy of the retail blister card submitted, we find that the country of origin marking on it is unacceptable. Both 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 require that an article be marked with a specific country of origin. On the blister card no specific country of origin is indicated. Instead, the blister card indicates that the product is made in the "Far East" followed by a list of five countries. "Far East" is not a specific country name and the listing of several countries does not comply with the marking requirements because no one country is mentioned as the country of origin of the product. Accordingly, in order for the country of origin marking to be acceptable, a single country of origin must be indicated on the marking.

Jason may include the fact that its product contains U.S. components in addition to the country of origin marking. However, the marking must still clearly indicate, to the ultimate purchaser, without confusion, the country of origin of the product. Furthermore, the marking should not mislead the ultimate purchaser to believe that there are more U.S. components in the product than it actually contains. If reference is made to the U.S. components, the requirements of section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46), would apply (i.e., the county of origin must be preceded by the words "made in", "product of" or words of similar meaning and must appear in close proximity and in comparable size letters to the U.S. reference.


The country of origin marking on the submitted sample blister card is unacceptable because it indicates the product is made in the Far East followed by a list of countries rather than indicating the specific country of origin. Information that the product contains U.S. components may be included along with the country of origin marking as long as it is accurate.


Marvin M. Amernick

Previous Ruling Next Ruling