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HQ 559931

July 11, 1996

MAR-2-05 RR:TC:SM 559931 DEC


Scott L. Berggren
Olde Port Trading Corporation
230 Western Avenue, Suite 102
Boston, Massachusetts 02134

RE: Country of origin marking; Russian Federation; T.D. 92-38; 19 CFR 134.45;
HRL 731799; HRL 733104; HRL 731760; HRL 734443; HRL 735281

Dear Mr. Berggren:

This is in response to your letter dated June 27, 1996, in which you seek a ruling with respect to the appropriate country of origin marking requirements for merchandise from the Russian Federation.


On June 14, 1996, your company imported aluminum alloy into the port of Baltimore. The aluminum is from the Russian Federation and is produced in ingot form that is stacked in bundles. You submitted a certificate of origin indicating the Russian Federation as the country of origin. You state that a metal tag is attached to each bundle which is marked with the country of origin. The metal tag contains the words "Made in the RF" which you indicated in your letter refers to the Russian Federation. You also state that you have been using these tags for the last three years and that the factory recently produced 10,000 tags to be used in upcoming shipments. On June 18, 1996, Customs issued a Customs Form (CF) 4647 citing the shipment as improperly marked. More specifically, Customs stated in the CF 4647 that the articles were required to be marked "Made in Russia."


Are articles (or their containers) imported into the United States marked with the abbreviation "Made in the RF" in compliance with 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR 134.45?


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. Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

On April 9, 1992, Customs issued a notice setting forth the acceptable names of the former republics of the Soviet Union for purposes of country of origin marking. The Russian Federation is an acceptable long form name. The short form name for the Russian Federation is Russia. T.D. 92-38.

Pursuant to section 134.45(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.45(b)), an article may be properly marked using an abbreviation for the country if it unmistakably indicates the name of a country. Section 134.45(b) provides "Gt. Britain" for "Great Britain" or "Luxemb" and "Luxembg" for "Luxembourg" as examples of acceptable abbreviations that clearly indicate the country of origin.

Customs has permitted the use of abbreviations instead of the entire name of the country of origin in limited circumstances. We have stated that "It is our view that most abbreviations do not 'unmistakably' identify the country of origin and are therefore unacceptable. The ultimate purchaser should be able to ascertain the country of origin at a glance without any guesswork...." Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 731799, dated May 15, 1989 (rejected the abbreviations "VZLA" or VENZLA"). The following are additional examples of abbreviations which Customs has previously rejected: (1) the abbreviations "Arg" or "Argtin" and "Hun" or "Hung" did not unmistakably indicate the country names of Argentina and Hungary and therefore did not comply with 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR 134.45(b) (HRL 733104, dated March 15, 1990); (2) the abbreviations "CAN" and "CDN" were not acceptable because they did not unmistakably designate the country of origin to the ultimate purchaser (HRL 731760, dated December 27, 1989); (3) the abbreviation "IN" was deemed unacceptable for purposes of marking encapsulated integrated circuits as products of Indonesia (HRL 734443, dated June 3, 1992); (4) "H.K." was deemed an unacceptable abbreviation for Hong Kong (HRL 735281, dated February 24, 1994).

Consistent with the rulings cited above, it is our finding that the abbreviation "RF" does not unmistakably identify the Russian Federation as the country of origin of an article. An ultimate purchaser examining the articles at issue would not be able to ascertain the country of origin at a glance without any guesswork. Accordingly, we believe that the CF 4647 was properly issued against the imported aluminum alloy.


The abbreviation "RF" is not an acceptable abbreviation for the Russian Federation for purposes of country of origin marking requirements because it does not unmistakably identify the Russian Federation as the country of origin of the article.


John Durant

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