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HQ 734668

September 12, 1992

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 734668 RC


Gary F. Hamakawa
John C. Stowe & Co.
521 Ala Moana Boulevard, Suite 219
Post Office Box 3745
Honolulu, Hawaii 96812

RE: Country of Origin Marking of Package Headers; Customs Regulations (19 CFR part 134); Section 134.26, Repackaging; Section 134.46, U.S. Locality.

Dear Mr. Hamakawa:

This is in response to your letter of May 20, 1992, requesting a ruling regarding acceptable country of origin markings on package headers for hula skirt sets. A sample was submitted for examination.


The sample package contains an outfit for infants one to five years old which consists of a dried grass (100% raffia) skirt, a bikini top, a shell necklace, a plastic hair flower, and an instruction pamphlet. These items are manufactured in the Philippines, with the exception of the flower which is made in Taiwan. These items are imported separately and packaged for retail sale as a set in Hawaii. Each set is packaged in a clear plastic bag with a cardboard header. Although each item is marked with the country of origin at the time of importation, the markings are not clearly visible through the plastic bag.

A package header is a sheet of cardboard folded over the top of packaged merchandise used to hang the item on a rack or post from a hole punched through the top of the header. On the front sides of the headers the words "Souvenir of HAWAII" are printed with the word "Hawaii" in a size of approximately 13.5 points. (A point is a unit of type measurement equal to 0.01384 inch or nearly 1/72 in., and all type sizes are multiples of this unit) On the back sides of the headers "PACKAGED IN HAWAII" is printed in a size of approximately 9 points. The headers may be printed in the Philippines or Hong Kong.


1) Whether the use of a composite marking is sufficient.

2) Whether the requirements of section 134.26 are satisfied.

3) Whether the requirements of section 134.46 are satisfied.


The Marking Statute

The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) 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 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.

The primary purpose of the country of origin marking statute is to require that the goods be marked so that at the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were produced, be able to decide whether to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will. United States v. Friedlaender & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297, 302 C.A.D. 104 (1940).

Section 134.1(d) defines the "ultimate purchaser" generally as the last person in the United States who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. The marking must be conspicuous to the ultimate purchaser.

The country of origin for marking purposes is defined by section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(b)), to mean the country of manufacture, production, or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the U.S. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other country the "country of origin" within the meaning of the above-mentioned definition.

Under the marking statute, each item in a set must be separately marked. However, according to T.D. 91-7, in certain circumstances, marking every item in a collection of goods may not be consistent with the purpose of the (marking) statute, or may be impractical or undesirable. This may be because one or more items in the collection are relatively insignificant and would have no influence on the purchasing decision, because the items in the collection are too numerous, making it impractical to specify the country of origin of each item, or for various other reasons. Therefore, Customs will continue to employ a "common sense" approach to determine the marking requirements applicable to articles which comprise a collection of goods. See T.D. 91-7 dated January 8, 1991, and HRL 555365 dated September 7, 1990.

Here, the items of the hula skirt set are made in the Philippines, with the exception of the plastic flowers. The flowers, instead, are produced in Taiwan. We do not have information concerning the value of the component flower vis-a- vis the other components of the set to justify excluding the country of origin of the flowers. Therefore, the headers must be marked to indicate the country of origin of all the components (i.e. "Contents Made in the Philippines, Flower Made in Taiwan." However, we will not require that the headers, if printed in Hong Kong or the Philippines, be marked "Printed in ," because the header is disposable packaging which will be discarded shortly after the set is opened by the purchaser.

Section 134.26: Imported Articles Repacked

When articles properly marked with the country of origin are imported, but later repacked or manipulated, they are subject to the requirements of section 134.26, Customs Regulations. The duties of the importer under this provision include: (1) certifying to the district director that the marking of the repacked article will not be obscured or that the new container will be marked with the country of origin of the article in accordance with Part 134; and (2) notifying subsequent purchasers or transferees of their obligations under Part 134. It is our opinion that the procedures set forth in section 134.26 are applicable to the instant case, because the marked items are imported separately, then packaged as a set in Hawaii.

Therefore, the importer must provide certification to assure Customs that, as described above, the imported items would be repackaged into sets, and that the sets would bear properly marked headers. Such required markings must be visible to the ultimate purchasers of the sets.

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

Your decision to include a U.S. location, such as Hawaii, on the headers invokes the provisions of section 134.46, Customs Regulations. 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.

The purpose of this regulation is to prevent the possibility of misleading or deceiving the ultimate purchaser as to the origin of the imported article. See, 19 CFR 134.36(b); C.S.D. 88-24.

Here, none of the requirements of section 134.46 are satisfied. The submitted sample header is not marked with any country of origin. Therefore, the requirements of legibility and permanence are not met. With regard to the close proximity requirement, Customs has consistently ruled that the country of origin marking must appear on the same sides or surfaces where the name of the locality other than the country of origin appears. See, C.S.D. 86-19, and Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRLs) 708994 dated April 24, 1978, 733084 dated March 19, 1990, 732191 dated April 27, 1990, C.S.D.s 79-371, HRL 733864 dated November 5, 1990, and HQ 733736 dated June 19, 1991 (concerning headers on hula skirt sets). Thus, for the submitted sample package header to comply with the close proximity requirement, the required country of origin marking must appear on the same side of the package header as the as the word "Hawaii." Being that "Hawaii" appears on both sides of the package headers, both sides must contain the country of origin marking.

Additionally, the country of origin marking must be printed in a size type at least comparable in size as the type used to print the U.S. location. Therefore, it must appear on the headers in a type size at least comparable in size as the type used to print "Souvenir of HAWAII" and "PACKAGED IN HAWAII" respectively.

We cannot approve the sufficiency of a particular marking because the submitted sample lacks a country of origin marking on either side of the header. Each side of the headers must be properly marked, so that the ultimate purchaser will be able to read both the foreign and the domestic markings at the same time without having to turn the headers.


The hula skirt sets must be conspicuously marked to indicate the country of origin of the contents (i.e. "Contents Made in the Philippines, Flower Made in Taiwan" on both sides of the headers. The country of origin marking and the U.S. locality must both be legible without having to turn the headers. The country of origin marking must be in at least comparable size type as the type used for the U.S. location. The headers need not be marked "Printed in ." The submitted sample is not properly marked.

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