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HQ 558001

November 7, 1994

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:S 558001 DEC


Mr. Herb Wolfarth
Radix Group International
745 Dillon Drive
Wood Lake, Illinois 60191

RE: Country of origin marking for three inch loose leaf ring packages;
19 CFR 134.46; Close proximity

Dear Sir:

This is in response to your letter dated July 7, 1994, concerning the acceptability of the proposed country of origin marking on the imported packages of three inch loose leaf rings.


Acco USA, Incorporated (Acco) plans to import three inch loose leaf rings in packages for retail sale. The rings will be imported in the boxes which they will be sold at retail. The back of the box will have Acco's United States address and the mark "Made in China" directly underneath in the same size lettering. On the side panel of the box, Acco plans to include an advertisement for other Acco products. The words "Made in the USA", which refer to other Acco products pictured on the side panel, will appear on this side of the box.


Whether the "Made in the USA" reference with respect to other Acco products that will be advertised on the side panel is deceptive or otherwise not acceptable pursuant to section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46).

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 United States 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 United States the English name of the country of origin of the article. Congressional intent in enacting 19 U.S.C. ?1304 was "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." United States v. Friedlaender & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297, 302 (1940).

Part 134 of the Customs Regulations implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(b), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the United States must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

Section 134.46 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46) provides that

In any case in which the words "United States," or "American," the letters "U.S.A.," any variation of such words or letters, or the name of any city or locality in the United States, or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the country or locality in which the article was manu- factured 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.

Even though the "Made in the USA" reference pertains to the products that will be advertised, it is the position of the Customs Service that this reference is likely to confuse the ultimate purchaser of the origin of the loose leaf rings since both the article and the items advertised are fasteners. More importantly, the requirements of section 134.46 are not met. There is no clear indication in close proximity to the United States reference that the articles contained in the box are of Chinese origin. Customs has held that to be deemed "in close proximity", the country of origin information must be visible simultaneously with the reference to the place other than the country of origin, without any manipulation of the article or container. Headquarters Ruling Letter 730945, dated August 11, 1988.

Two alternative methods are available to bring the country of origin marking of the imported product's packaging into compliance with the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304. First, the "Made in U.S.A." marking on the side panel of the box could be removed so that the ultimate purchaser of the loose leaf rings would be provided with a clear and unambiguous indication as to the country of origin of the contents of the retail package. Alternatively, an additional explanation could be placed on the same panel as the advertisement for the fasteners on which the "Made in U.S.A." reference is made to clarify that the rings are made in China and that the United States reference on the side panel of the retail package refers only to the country of origin of the fasteners being advertised. Under this alternative method, a marking such as "loose-leaf rings made in China - advertised fasteners made in U.S.A." is required.


Consequently, the proposed United States reference, "Made in the USA", that appears on the side panel of the boxes containing the three inch loose leaf rings should either be removed so that the ultimate purchaser is not confused as to the country of origin of the imported articles, or an additional clarifying explanation should be included on the side panel clearly indicating that the rings are made in China and that the "Made in U.S.A." refers only to the advertised fasteners.


John Durant
Director, Commercial Rulings Division

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