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HQ 734955

May 27, 1993

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 734955 RC


Mr. Gerry R. Korver
Industrial Air Park
Orange City, Iowa 51041-9987

RE: Country of Origin Marking for Baseball Cap; Legible; Non-Contrasting Letters.

Dear Mr. Korver:

This is in response to your request, dated January 20, 1993, for a ruling on the acceptability of the country of origin marking on a submitted sample baseball cap.


You manufacture caps for a promotional market and have manufacturing facilities in both the U.S. and Canada. You intend to import caps from your Canadian operation for distribution in the U.S. The sample cap has an adjustable black plastic strap on the back. Inside the strap the designation "Made in USA" appears for demonstrative purposes. The imported caps will bear the marking "Made in Canada" in raised lettering imparted by injection molding during manufacture. The sample lettering is approximately 4.5 points. (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.) You are not adverse to increasing the point size.


Whether the marking as described above is legible within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134.


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 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), (19 CFR 134.41(b)), Customs Regulations, specifies 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 and that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

In HQ 734662 (October 8, 1992), Customs considered the relevance of contrasting color to a country of origin marking's readability acknowledging no specific requirement of color contrast. It was determined that legibility be determined based on all the elements: the relief of the letters, the size and style of print, the location, the format, etc. There, a ski boot marking on the sole was legible because of its particular relief, and because the nine point lettering was large enough to be read without strain. The marking was found to be permanent because it was injection molded. Another marking on the side of the boot was not legible because the relief was slight. The country of origin marking of ski boots on the sole of the boot satisfied the requirements of conspicuousness, permanence, and legibility.

Here, the marking on the submitted sample appears on the inside of the back strap. Although this is an acceptable location, the method of marking is in non-contrasting colors. Because of the small size (4.5 points) and non-contrasting lettering, the country of origin marking is difficult to read. The size of the lettering should be increased to at least 9 points, or another contrasting method of marking should be used.


The country of origin marking for the submitted cap does not satisfy the legibility requirement of 19 USC 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134.


John Durant, Director

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