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HQ 734491

April 13, 1992

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 734491 NL


Mr. Eric Inman
Corporate Packaging Manager
Balcamp, Inc.
2601 South Holt Road
Indianapolis, IN 46241

RE: Country of Origin Marking - Repackaged Auto Parts; 19 CFR 134.46; 19 CFR 134.26; 19 CFR 134.24(c).

Dear Mr. Inman:

This is in response to your letter dated January 24, 1992, in which you request guidance concerning the country of origin marking requirements for automotive replacement parts.


Balkamp is a distributor and repackager of automotive replacement parts, including some which are imported. Your letter advises that the imported parts enter the U.S. in bulk for repackaging in cartons. The parts are marked as to their origin either on the parts themselves or on their inner packaging. We assume for purposes of this ruling that these two types of marking satisfy the requirements of permanence, legibility, and conspicuousness. We also assume that the inner packaging consists of a plastic bag or the like which is not suitable by itself as packaging for retail sales. You further indicate that Balcamp's U.S. address is printed on the outside of the cartons which will be used to package the parts for retail sale.

You believe that the marking of the parts themselves or their inner packaging is sufficient to comply with the country of origin marking requirements, notwithstanding the fact that they are sold to the ultimate purchaser in a carton upon which is printed Balcamp's U.S. address. The above-described marking would, in your opinion, be sufficient to allow the ultimate purchaser to make a purchasing decision based on the country of origin of the automotive part.


Is additional or different marking required for the above- referenced auto parts repackaged in cartons?


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 exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

Inasmuch as Balkamp conducts repacking operations for its imported parts, the requirements of 19 CFR 134.26 would be applicable. In brief, these requirements are that the importer must supply Customs with a certificate to the effect that the new packaging will not obscure or conceal the country of origin marking on the article, and that the packaging otherwise will satisfy the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and Part 134, Customs Regulations. In addition, the importer must certify that he will provide notice to subsequent purchasers or repackers of their obligations under 19 U.S.C. 1304 and Part 134, Customs Regulations.

With respect to replacement auto parts it is Customs position that the ultimate purchaser of such articles is the owner of the automobile into which the parts will be installed. See HRL 733241 (August 27, 1989). In practice, sometimes the owner is shown the part by the installer, sometimes the retail box is shown either before or after, and sometimes not at all. The marking requirements for auto parts must be tailored to account for these possibilities. Bearing in mind that the fundamental marking principle is that the article be marked in such a manner as to indicate its origin to the ultimate purchaser, we are of the opinion that the placement of properly marked auto parts in unmarked containers would tend to obscure the marking from the ultimate purchaser. Applying the marking requirements for sealed and unsealed containers set forth at 19 CFR 134.24(c), we cannot find that the marking on the article would be visible through the container. Nor can we find, for the reasons stated above, that the box containing an auto part would normally be opened by the ultimate purchaser for examination (including examination for country of origin marking) prior to purchase. If the box were to be sealed, the regulation plainly requires that it be marked as to the origin of its contents. Accordingly, whether the boxes for the repacked imported auto parts are sealed or unsealed, they must be marked to indicate that their contents are articles of foreign origin.

In this instance we regard as sufficient marking a statement on the retail box stating, "Contents Imported/See Article for Country of Origin.", or words to similar effect. Such words would be sufficient to advise the ultimate purchaser of the foreign origin of the auto part. See HQ 732099 (November 3, 1989)("see bulb for country of origin" is acceptable on resale carton of marked bulb); HQ 732374 (July 9, 1989)("refer to neck label" acceptable on polybag containing shirt).

A second reason for requiring marking of the box is that a reference to the U.S. appears on the box in the form of Balcamp's U.S. address. This triggers the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46. As provided by that section, in any case in which a reference to the U.S. or any geographic location other than the country of origin appears on an imported article or its container, the name of the actual country of origin must appear, in close proximity and in lettering of comparable size, preceded by "Made in", "Product of", or other similar words. In the instant context we regard the words previously described, i.e., "Contents Imported/See Article for Country of Origin" as similar in meaning for country of origin marking purposes. Such words, if rendered in close proximity to the U.S. address, generally on the same side of the box and in lettering of comparable size, would satisfy the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46.


Replacement auto parts imported for repacking are subject to the certification and notice requirements of 19 CFR 134.26. Marking of the retail boxes is required, notwithstanding that the parts themselves are marked, pursuant to 19 CFR 134.24(c) and 19 CFR 134.46. Marking stating, "Contents Imported, See Article for Country of Origin" satisfies the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and Part 134, Customs Regulations.


John Durant
Director Commercial

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