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HQ 733104

March 15, 1990

Mar-2-05 CO:R:C:V 733104 RSD


Jim Dick
Quality Assurance Manager
Indian Summer
247 West Ave
Lyndonville, New York 14098

RE: Abbreviations of Argentina and Hungary for country of origin marking purposes

Dear Mr. Dick:

This is in reply to your letter of January 31, 1990, and telephone conversation of February 9, 1990, concerning acceptable abbreviations to indicate countries of origin of imported apple juice.


You propose to mark the country of origin on containers of apple juice made from imported concentrate by using the abbreviations "Arg" or "Argtin" for Argentina and "Hun" or "Hung" for Hungary. You want to know if these abbreviations are acceptable.


Whether the abbreviations "Arg" or "Argtin" for Argentina and "Hun" or "Hung" for Hungary are in accordance with 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 name of the country of origin of the article (emphasis added). Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

The requirement of the marking law (19 U.S.C. 1304) at issue here is the necessity to indicate the English name of the country of articles imported into the U.S. Section 134.45 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.45), states that abbreviations which unmistakably indicate the name of a country ...are acceptable.

The purpose of the marking as explained in American Burtonizing v. United States, 13 Ct. Cust. Appls. 652 (1926) "[W]as to require a marking such as would be understood by purchasers of foreign-made goods as giving definite and reliable information as to the country of origin. It is not reasonable to suppose that Congress, by use of the word 'indicate' meant only that words used should hint at the country of origin. The object sought to be obtained by the legislature could best be obtained by an indication which was clear, plain, and unambiguous and which did more than merely hint at the country of origin. We do not think that Congress intended that American purchasers, consumers, or users of foreign-made goods should be required to speculate, investigate or interpret in order that they ascertain the county of origin."

In HQ 727693 (March 29, 1985), Customs stated its position on abbreviated country names and Venezuela in particular. Customs determined that the abbreviation "Venz" was not an acceptable abbreviation for Venezuela. The ruling noted that "the instances in which Customs has permitted the use of abbreviations instead of the entire name of the country of origin have been limited. It is our view that most abbreviations do not 'unmistakably' identify the country of origin and are therefore unacceptable. The ultimate purchaser should be able to ascertain the country of origin at a glance without any guesswork.... We can think of no abbreviation for Venezuela which would satisfy the statutory or regulatory requirements."

Similarly, the suggested abbreviations "Arg" or "Argtin" for Argentina and "Hun" or "Hung" for Hungary are not acceptable because they do not unmistakably identify the country of origin. We find that ultimate purchasers may not be able to ascertain at a glance without any guesswork the country of origin of the apple juice from these markings.

Although abbreviations are permissible under the marking law, we believe the statutory preference is that full English language names be used whenever possible, and it is the policy of this office to encourage such marking. Only in those instances where space limitations make abbreviations necessary, as few letters as necessary may be deleted from the full English language name of a country. The smaller the number of missing letters, the more likely it is the resulting abbreviation unmistakably identifies the proper country name. We suggest no abbreviations be used unless expressly approved by this office.


The abbreviations "Arg" or "Argtin" and "Hun" or "Hung" do not unmistakably indicate the country names of Argentina and Hungary and therefore do not comply with 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR 134.45(b).


Marvin M. Amernick

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