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HQ 734665

January 17, 1993

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 734665 KR


Mr. M. Barry Levy
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt, P.C. Sixty Seven Broad Street
New York, NY 10004

RE: Country of origin marking of stuffed plush baby balls; conspicuous marking; 19 CFR 134.46; 19 CFR ?134.41(b).

Dear Mr. Levy:

This is in response to your letter dated May 26, 1992, on behalf of Dan-Dee International Limited, requesting a country of origin ruling on plush stuffed baby balls which Dan-Dee International Limited wishes to import from China. A sample was submitted for examination.


Dan-Dee International Limited plans to import stuffed plush baby balls from China. A white fabric label approximately 1 and 5/8 inch by 3/4 inch is sewn into one of the side seams of the ball. You state that the label in letters approximately 1/16 inch in size in red, black, blue, orange, or other contrasting color will read:

REG. NO. PA381 MAINE 234

On May 5, 1992, a shipment of 5376 plush toys from Dan-Dee International Limited was seized by Customs Dallas, Texas. The District determined that the country of origin marking on those plush toys and two prior shipments of toys was not in a conspicuous place, but was hidden inside the block of text naming four locations other than the country of origin. This ruling will apply prospectively to the stuffed plush baby balls as described above, and will not apply to the prior seized toys as no ruling request or request for internal advice was submitted for those products.


Whether the proposed marking on the stuffed plush baby ball as described above satisfies the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304.


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. 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 HQ 733940 (October 24, 1991), Customs set forth some factors to be considered in determining if the country of origin marking on imported pens was conspicuous within the meaning of 19 CFR 134.41 and 19 U.S.C. 1304. Customs stated that among the factors to be considered was the size of the marking, the location of the marking, whether the marking stands out, and the legibility of the marking. Customs also stated that the size of the marking should be large enough so that the ultimate purchaser can easily see the marking without strain. The location of the marking should be in a place where the ultimate purchaser could expect to find the marking or where he/she could easily notice it from a casual inspection. Whether the marking stands out is dependent on where it appears in relationship to other print on the article and whether it is in contrasting letters to the background. The legibility of the marking is determined by the clarity of the letters and whether the ultimate purchaser could read the letters of the marking without strain. Customs said that no single factor should be considered conclusive by itself in determining whether a marking satisfies 19 CFR 134.41(b) and 19 U.S.C. 1304. Instead, it is the combination of these factors which determines whether the marking is acceptable.

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 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" (emphasis added). 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.

In applying the factors to the stuffed plush baby ball, it is our opinion that the marking satisfies the requirements of 19 CFR 134.41, 19 CFR ?134.46 and 19 U.S.C. 1304. The country of origin marking is easily found on a label which is the usual location for such marking, and the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 are met.

As in HQ 733068, supra, while we find that the country of origin marking is acceptable and appears in a conspicuous location and in close proximity to the locations other than the country of origin, we suggest that it would aid the ultimate purchaser if the country of origin lettering was enlarged or slightly removed from the other printed material.


The proposed country of origin marking for the imported stuffed plush baby balls satisfies the requirements of 19 CFR 134.41, 19 CFR ?134.46 and 19 U.S.C. 1304. This ruling applies only to the stuffed plush baby balls and does not apply to any prior shipments of stuffed toys.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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