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HQ 733170

October 12, 1990

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 733170 NL


Lawrence D. Blume, Esq.
Graham & James
2000 M Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Country of Origin Marking - Thermal Transfer Ribbons for Facsimile Machines; Ribbon Cartridges; Combining in Kits; 19 CFR 134.14; 19 CFR 134.26

Dear Mr. Blume:

This is in response to your letter of March 1, 1990, forwarding a copy of a letter dated November 22, 1989, in which you request a ruling regarding the country of origin marking of certain paper replacement kits for facsimile machines.

import thermal transfer ribbons from one or more countries. Each ribbon will be marked with its country of origin. After importation the ribbons will be modified for use in thermal facsimile machines and sealed in protective bags. The bagged ribbon cartridges are then matched with paper rolls of U.S. origin to form replacement kits each consisting of one roll and one cartridge. It is stated that the kits are sold by the carton only (each carton containing six replacement kits) to owners of facsimile machines or to distributors of facsimile supplies and equipment.

The container for each kit bears a paper label which states: "Ribbons Made in ______". The carton containing six kits bears a label stating the same. In general, you ask our opinion concerning the country of origin marking requirements applicable to these circumstances. More specifically you have asked whether, as the ribbon cartridges are to be sourced from more than one country, the kits and cartons could be marked, "Made in ___, or ___, or ___", the method approved for the marking of fruit juice concentrate in T.D. 89-66.


What is the acceptable country of origin marking for the
ribbons, kits, and cartons containing the kits?


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.

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

Regarding imported articles which are combined with other articles after importation but before delivery to an ultimate purchaser, 19 CFR 134.14 requires that the marking "shall clearly show that the origin indicated is that of the imported article only and not that of any other article with which the imported article may be combined." The proposed marking of the packaging of the kit and the carton containing multiple kits, "Ribbons made in Japan" satisfies this requirement.

Imported articles properly marked with their country of origin are subject upon repacking or manipulation to the requirements of 19 CFR 134.26. The duties of the importer under this provision include: 1) certifying to the district director that the marking of the repacked article will not be obscured or that the new container will be marked with the country of origin of the article in accordance with Part 134; and 2) notifying subsequent purchasers or transferees of their obligations under Part 134. It is our opinion that the procedures set forth in 19 CFR 134.26 are applicable to the imported ribbons. The importer's certification would provide Customs with assurance that, as described above, the adapted ribbons (ribbon cartridges) would be packaged in marked kits, and that the cartons containing the kits would in turn bear the label previously described. Such marking would thus be visible to the ultimate purchaser of the kit whether he was the purchaser of a single kit or whether the kits were purchased by the carton.

You have also asked for approval of a label which would indicate that the ribbon may originate in one of several countries. Approval of such a multiple listing label was indicated in HLR 725578 (July 10, 1984), although subject to the proviso that local Customs officials must find that containers in which the articles (auto brake parts) were to be repacked adequately indicated the country(ies) of origin to ultimate purchasers. You have noted that Customs approved similar methods of marking for fruit juice concentrate in T.D. 89-66. Under this

"major supplier" method of compliance with the country of origin marking requirements, the label on containers of blended juice concentrate must account for the sources of at least 75 percent of the volume of the product. We note that in permitting this type of marking Customs required that the labels state accurately the sources of each lot of frozen concentrate; a generic label based upon historical patterns of importation and blending was not permitted. In any case, it is our opinion that neither multiple alternate origins nor "major supplier marking" are acceptable with respect to the ribbons. In general, Customs has required imported articles to be marked with their actual countries of origin, and we see no reason to treat the instant situation as an exception. Accordingly, the containers holding each kit and the cartons containing each set of six kits must be marked with the actual country of origin of the imported ribbon cartridges.


Imported facsimile machine ribbons which are modified and repackaged after importation are subject to the requirements of 19 CFR 134.26. The containers of each kit and the containers for the sets of kits must be marked with the actual country of origin of the imported ribbon, and must be marked in accordance with 19 CFR 134.14 to clearly indicate that the country of origin marking refers to the imported ribbon only, and not to the other constituent articles of the kit. The marking, "Ribbon made in Japan" satisfies this requirement.


Marvin M. Amernick
Chief, Value, Special Programs

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