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HQ 734548

July 17, 1992
MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 734548 KR


Mr. Thomas J. O'Donnell
Sonnenberg, Anderson, O'Donnell & Rodriguez 200 West Adams Street
Suite 2625
Chicago, IL 60606

RE: Country of origin marking of Omnifilter faucet water filter; 19 CFR 134.46; 19 CFR 134.26.

Dear Mr. O'Donnell:

This is in response to your letter dated March 19, 1992, requesting a country of origin ruling on Omnifilter, faucet water filter which you wish to import from Italy. A sample of the water filter and retail carton were submitted for examination.


You state that you wish to import the Omnifilter faucet water filter. The filter is made of components from the United States and Italy. You state that the filter unit is entirely manufactured in Italy and the replaceable cartridge is manufactured in the U.S. The filter unit has "Italy" molded in bas-relief on a darker grey raised bar on the underside of the unit near the bypass out-pour valve. The cartridge is not marked with the country of origin. The side panel of the retail carton contains the U.S. address of the importer in approximately 7 point print (a point is approximately .01384 inch or 1/72 of an inch). Directly below in equal size print appears the country of origin of the product. This printing appears as:

Hammond, Indiana 46320

Filter unit made in Italy
Filter cartridge made in USA

After importation the filter unit is shipped to Hammond, Indiana. The cartridge is then inserted into the filter unit and the assembled filter is packaged for retail sale in the U.S.


Whether the country of origin marking molded into the filter unit and the country of origin marking printed on the side of the retail carton where the importer's address also appears, meets Customs marking requirements?


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. The Court of International Trade stated in Koru North America v. United States, 701 F. Supp. 229, 12 CIT 1120 (CIT 1988), that "in ascertaining what constitutes the country of origin under the marking statute, a court must look at the sense in which the term is used in the statute, giving reference to the purpose of the particular legislation involved." The purpose of the marking statute is outlined in United States v. Frielaender & Co., 27 CCPA 297 at 302, C.A.D. 104 (1940), where the court stated that: "Congress intended 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."

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(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.

Section 134.1(d), Customs Regulations, (19 CFR 134.1(d)), defines the 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 instance, the ultimate purchaser of the filter is the retail consumer because the retail consumer is the last person in the U.S. to receive the imported merchandise in the form in which it is imported.

The filter is packaged for retail sale in the U.S. Because of this the importer must comply with the requirements of 19 CFR 134.26, and file a certification (the form is included in the regulation) with the District Director. 19 CFR 134.26 states that:

If an article subject to these requirements is intended to be repacked in retail containers ... after its release from Customs custody, or if the district director having custody of the article, has reason to believe such article will be repacked after its release, the importer shall certify to the district director that: (1) If the importer does the repacking, he shall not obscure or conceal the country of origin marking appearing on the article, or else the new container shall be marked to indicate the country of origin of the article in accordance with the requirements of this part....

In this case both the carton and the product itself are marked with the country of origin of the filter. We find that this meets the 19 U.S.C. 1304 requirement that the country of origin marking be "conspicuous", and the 19 CFR 134.41(b) requirement that the ultimate purchaser "must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain."

19 CFR 134.46 requires that when the name of any city or locality in the U.S., or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the name of the country or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced, appear on a 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. Customs has ruled that in order to satisfy the close proximity requirement, the country of origin marking must appear on the same side(s) or surface(s) in which the name of the locality other than the country of origin appears. HQ 708994 (April 24, 1978). The purpose of 19 CFR 134.46 is to prevent the possibility of misleading or deceiving the ultimate purchaser as to the origin of the imported article.

The retail carton has the U.S. address of the importer on the side panel. Directly below the U.S. address appears the country of origin of the filter unit, Italy, and the country of origin of the cartridge, U.S.A. Both country of origin markings are preceded by the words "made in". We find this satisfies the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46. The sample packaging contains the words, "Filter cartridge made in USA". The determination of marking an item as "Made in USA" is under the primary jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission and not this service. We, therefore, recommend that you contact the Federal Trade Commission, Division of Enforcement, located at 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580, in this regard.


The country of origin markings molded on the Omnifilter, faucet water filter itself and printed on its packaging are sufficient to meet the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134. The certification requirements of 19 CFR 134.26 are applicable.


John Durant, Director

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