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HQ 734648

July 14, 1992

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 734648 RC


Mr. Gerard J. Roerty, Jr.
Mays & Valentine
NationsBank Center
1111 East Main Street
P.O. Box 1122
Richmond, Virginia 23208-1122

RE: Country of Origin Marking of Appliances. 19 CFR 134.32(d); Article Exempt; Conspicuous; Container Marking.

Dear Mr. Roerty:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of May 18, 1992, requesting a ruling as to whether Hamilton Beach/Proctor-Silex Inc.'s proposed appliance packaging complies with the United States Customs marking statute.


Your client, Hamilton Beach/Proctor-Silex, Inc., imports various small appliances. The majority of the components, 80-95%, are made in the United States. They are assembled in Mexico. Then the packaged appliances are exported to the United States for retail sale.

You have submitted a sample packaging label to be ruled upon. An actual box was not submitted. The appliance is a "Proctor- Silex Full Size Adjustable Steam Iron." The markings are printed onto the labels and permanently attached to the boxes in Mexico prior to importation. For purposes of this ruling, we assume that Mexico is the country of origin.

The submitted sample reveals the marking "Made in Mexico" in two locations. One such place is on the square-shaped right end of the box. The marking appears with additional information including a small photograph of an iron, portions of printed text and a close-up photo of detailing. Near the lower portion of the box end, the words, "Hamilton Beach/Proctor-Silex, Inc. * Washington, NC * Made in Mexico," appear in approximately 9-point type. (A point is a unit of type measurement equal to 0.01384 inch or nearly 1/72 inch, and all type sizes are multiples of this unit.)n
The other "Made in Mexico" marking is located on a rectangular-shaped side of the box. It appears along with printed text concerning warranty, patent, and technical information. In addition, there are a code bar and a recycling symbol. The design format of the information is divided into two columns. Near the middle of the first column, the words, "Hamilton Beach/Proctor- Silex, Inc. Washington, NC 27889" appear in approximately 9-point type. Then, proceeding to look diagonally down one inch to the right the words "Made in Mexico" appear in approximately the same size type as the United States address on said side. You state that the marking does not appear on the bottom of the box.


1) Whether the marking is sufficiently conspicuous.

2) Whether marking the container instead of the article itself is sufficient.

3) Whether the requirements in section 134.46, Customs Regulations, are satisfied.


Conspicuous Marking

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 will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin. Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR part 134) implements the regulations of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(b) states that a marking should be at least sufficiently permanent to insure that in any reasonably foreseeable circumstance the marking shall remain on the article or its container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser . . . The ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

A conspicuous marking has various characteristics, two of which are (1) visibility, that is, it must be readily apparent, and (2) legibility, that is, it must be readable without strain. Another quality of a conspicuous marking is format, that is, the ultimate purchaser must be able to readily ascertain where the goods were produced.

You advise us that the rectangular-shaped side of the box where one of the markings appears is not the bottom of the container. However, the rectangular side, with the large picture of the iron, appears adjacent thereto. Usually, when a boxed article is shelved for retail sale, the box side with the largest picture of the product faces the ultimate purchaser. Applying this norm to the submitted sample, it is clear that the rectangular side where the marking appears is indeed the bottom.

Generally, Customs does not consider marking the bottom of an article as being sufficiently conspicuous, especially as here where no information about the product appears on the bottom. Merely marking the bottom in the instant case would be insufficient. However, since the end of the box is also marked "Made in Mexico," the ultimate purchaser can readily ascertain the country of origin.

Regarding the submitted sample, one notes that the "Made in Mexico" markings are permanent, legible, and indelible. Therefore, the requirements of section 134.41 are satisfied.

The Article Marking Exception

According to section 134.32(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(d)), an article is excepted from marking if the marking of the article's container will reasonably indicate the origin of such article. Additionally, Customs must be satisfied that in all reasonably foreseeable circumstances the article will reach the ultimate purchaser in said properly marked box.

Here, the marking is printed on the box. Said marking appears to reasonably indicate the country of origin. As discussed above, it is conspicuous, legible, and permanent. Another concern is whether the appliance will reach the ultimate purchaser in said properly marked box. If so, then, it would be proper to mark the container in lieu of the article itself.

It is reasonable to assume that the iron will remain in the box because the label gives all the product information. The pictures on the box clearly show that the container was designed for retail sale.

Section 134.46: Use of U.S. Address and Foreign Marking

Your decision to include U.S. addresses on the boxes invokes the provisions of section 134.46. Under section 134.46, any case in which the words "U.S." or "American," or 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 or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced, appear 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.

Applying the requirements of section 134.46, the foreign marking and the U.S. address are printed clearly, in equivalent dimension on the box. The permanence requirement is satisfied by printing the markings directly on the box.

Regarding the close proximity requirement, if one looks on the right square end of the package (using the large photo of the iron as the shelf "front"), the U.S. address and the "Made in Mexico" markings are adjacent, thus the close proximity is sufficient.

On the bottom side of the package, the foreign marking and the U.S. address are not adjacent. However, both the foreign marking and the U.S. address can be seen in plain view on the same side of the box. There is no need for the ultimate purchaser to strain or to turn the box to see both the foreign marking and the U.S. address at the same time.

Regarding the submitted sample, the printed foreign marking and the domestic address are in close proximity and in comparable size. In addition, they are legible and permanent Therefore all the requirements of section 134.46 are satisfied.


The words "Made in Mexico" are sufficiently conspicuous as to give the ultimate purchaser notice of the country of origin. In the circumstances described above, marking the retail box instead of the appliance itself is sufficient. The regulations governing the use of a U.S. address along with a foreign marking are satisfied. This ruling is limited to appliances in which the packaging complies with the packaging submitted.


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