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HQ 734312

April 3, 1992

MAR-2-05 CO:R:V:C 734312 AT


Ms. Carol Reignier
Manager, Customs Planning
Timex Corporation
Walterbury, Connecticut 06722

RE: Country of origin marking of wristwatches; 19 CFR 134.46; 19 CFR 134.41; conspicuous; close proximity; permanent

Dear Ms. Reignier:

This is in response to your letters of August 15, 1991, February 6 and 26, 1992, requesting a country of origin ruling regarding imported wristwatches from South Korea marked with the word "Nassau" on the wristband. Although a sample of the watch was not submitted for examination a copy of your art work plan illustrating the imported watch was submitted for review.


Your company intends to import wristwatches (Model No. 705) from South Korea. You state that the wristwatch is to be battery-powered with an optical display only and will, by activating the proper push buttons, display time and date and will contain a chronograph function. The watch will also keep golf scores for one or two players. You also state that the module and watch will be assembled in South Korea and the case, battery and strap will be manufactured in South Korea or other column 1 countries. You further state that each watch will be stamped on the outside of the back of the case "Assembled in Korea".

Examination of the submitted illustration reveals that the wristband is printed with the word "Nassau" in the same color as the wristband. You state that a metalized paper label will be placed around the wristband directly underneath the word "Nassau". A sample of the metalized paper label was submitted. The label is printed with the words "Made in Korea" in blue lettering approximately 5 point (a point is a unit of measurement equal to 0.01384 inch or nearly 1/72 in., and all types are multiples of this unit). Although other options were presented, the metalized paper label is your preferred method of marking. You also state that the watches are intended to be sold primarily in sporting goods stores and in pro shops at golf courses. You claim that the watch will be packaged in a clear plastic box which will not be sealed and that the watch is visible inside the box, so the metalized paper label will be clearly visible to the consumer. A sample of the clear plastic box in which the watch is packaged was not submitted for examination.


Whether the country of origin marking on the imported watches described above satisfies the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134?


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 its 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. Congressional intent in enacting 19 U.S.C. 1304 was "that the ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of the marking on 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." United States v. Friedlander & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297 at 302; C.A.D. 104 (1940).

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.1(d) Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(d) defines ultimate purchaser as "generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported." In this case the ultimate purchaser is the person who purchases the wristwatch at the sporting goods store or golf proshop. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

In determining whether the marking is acceptable, Customs will take into account the presence of words or symbols on an article which may mislead the ultimate purchaser as to the country of origin. Consequently, if the words "United States," or "America," the letters "U.S.A.," any variation of such words or letters, or the name of any city or locality in the U.S., or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the country of origin appear on an imported article, special marking requirements are triggered.

Section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46), requires that when the name or city or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced, appears on an imported article or its container, there shall appear, legibly and permanently, in close proximity to such words, letters, or name, and in at least a comparable size, the name of the country of origin preceded by "Made in," Product of," or other words of similar meaning. The purpose of this section is to prevent the possibility of misleading or deceiving the ultimate purchaser as to the actual origin of the imported goods.

Assuming that the metalized paper label marked "Made in Korea" will be attached to the wristwatch directly below the word "Nassau" and can be clearly seen through the clear plastic package, we find that this marking could be easily found by an ultimate purchaser of the wristwatch. Examination of the submitted label reveals that the words "Made in Korea" are easy to read without strain since the letters are in 5 point and are in a contrasting color (blue) from the grey wristband which it is to be attached to. In addition, because the word "Nassau" appears on the wristband, the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 are triggered. In this instance if the "Made in Korea" metalized label is placed directly below the word "Nassau", as you state, then the close proximity requirement of section 134.46 would be satisfied. However, since neither a sample of the watch nor the proposed metalized label attached to the wristband were submitted for our examination, we can not determine at this time whether the marking is at least in a comparable size to the word "Nassau" or permanently placed on the article as required under section 134.46.
It should be noted that the marking "Assembled in Korea" is acceptable only if the watch is eligible for importation under subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the U.S. See, HRL 731507, October 17, 1989.


If the proposed metalized paper label marked "Made in Korea" is permanently placed on the wristband in close proximity to the word "Nassau" and the lettering "Made in Korea" is at least in a comparable size to the word "Nassau" then the marking requirements provided in 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 are satisfied.


John Durant, Director

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