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HQ 560312

July 10, 1997

MAR-05 RR:TC:SM 560312 KSG


Laura Proctor
JCPenney Purchasing Corporation
P.O. Box 10001
Dallas, Texas 75301-0001

RE: Country of origin marking; container marking; 19 CFR 134.32(d); curtain rods

Dear Ms. Proctor:

This is in reference to your letter of February 11, 1997, requesting a ruling on behalf of JCPenney Purchasing Corporation concerning the country of origin marking requirements for curtain rods. We regret the delay in responding to your request.


JCPenney Purchasing Corporation is anticipating purchasing this merchandise from a Taiwan company. The product, when assembled, is a completed curtain rod. The product is sold unassembled. The box in which the product is packaged includes: 1) Two rods measuring 27 inches each; 2) Two brackets: 3) Two spear shaped ends for the rod; and 4) a package of screws. The rods, brackets and spear shaped ends are all made in Taiwan. The merchandise will be packaged together in a box overseas and sold to JCPenney customers through the catalog and in retail stores in that original box. You propose to mark the box in which the customer will receive the product with the legend "Spear Curtain Rod Made in Taiwan'" and not mark the country of origin on each individual part. You state that it is doubtful that the customer would unpack the box to determine the country of origin of the article inside prior to purchase. JCPenney will also provide the country of origin of the merchandise in the catalog.


Whether the curtain rod parts may be excepted from individual country of origin marking. A sample was submitted with your request.


Section 304 of the 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. 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 at 302; C.A.D. 104 (1940). Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

Section 134.1(d), Customs Regulations, defines "ultimate purchaser" as generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported.

Pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1304(a)(3)(D) and 19 CFR 134.32(d), an exception from individual marking is applicable where the marking of a container of such article will reasonably indicate the origin of the article. This exception is normally applied in cases where the article is imported in a properly marked container and Customs officials at the port of entry are satisfied that the ultimate purchaser will receive it in the original unopened marked container. Relevant factors regarding whether an article is likely to remain in its original container include the chain of distribution, the type of container, and the nature of the article.

Based on the facts presented, the customer that orders the merchandise from the catalog or goes into the retail store and purchases the unassembled curtain rod is the ultimate purchaser. Therefore, the person that will have to be informed of the country of origin of the pieces of the unassembled curtain rod is the retail customer.

You state that each piece within the box will be packaged together and will reach the customer in the original box properly marked with the country of origin. If the ultimate purchaser is concerned about the country of origin of the merchandise, he or she can look on the box and find that information. Therefore, if the Port Director at the port of entry is satisfied that the ultimate purchaser will receive the merchandise in that container, the pieces may be excepted from individual country of origin marking pursuant to 19 CFR 134.32(d).

You propose to mark the box "Spear Curtain Rod Made in Taiwan". This marking is acceptable, although JCPenney could simply mark the box "Made in Taiwan", "Product of Taiwan", or "Taiwan".


Based upon the information and sample presented, the ultimate purchaser of the unassembled curtain rods will be the retail customer. Therefore, the pieces will be excepted from individual country of origin marking, provided the container is legibly and conspicuously marked with the country of origin and the port director is satisfied that the unassembled curtain rods will reach the retail customer in these marked containers.
A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time the goods are entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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