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HQ 560629

September 5, 1997

MAR-02 RR:TC:SM 560629 MLR


Robert C. Beasley, Esq.
Paws Incorporated
5440 E. County Road 450 N.
Albany, Indiana 47320-9728

RE: Country of Origin Marking; garments; 19 CFR 134.32(f)

Dear Mr. Beasley:

This is in reference to your letter dated August 27, 1997, concerning the country of origin marking requirements of certain t-shirts and sweatshirts.


As indicated on the Notice to Mark form provided to you by Customs at JFK, 72 t-shirts and 12 sweatshirts were imported without country of origin marking or fiber content labeling. You also state that the garments may be imported at another port. You state that the garments were manufactured abroad by your licensee (in this case Elms Marketing) and that the garments will not be sold in the U.S. You also state that the garments are imported as pre-production samples for Paws' verification which is required pursuant to the "Garfield Licensing Agreement--International" (submitted for our review). You have also submitted a letter from Elms Marketing stating that the goods are made in the U.K. and are 100 percent cotton, and that they are not for resale but are design approvals only. A proforma statement is also enclosed indicating that the "adult cotton t-shirts" are "samples for approval and/or showroom use not for resale" and are of British origin.


Whether the garments may be excepted from country of origin marking pursuant ot 19 CFR 134.32(f).


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 imported in 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. Inc., 27 CCPA 297, 302, C.A.D. 104 (1940). Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

In T.D. 54640(6) (July 15, 1958), Customs ruled that shirts, blouses, coats, sweaters and similar wearing apparel must be legibly and conspicuously marked with the name of the country of origin by means of a fabric label or label made from natural or synthetic film sewn or otherwise permanently affixed on the inside center of the neck midway between the shoulder seams or in that immediate area or otherwise permanently marked in that area in some other manner. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission requires a label with the country of origin and fiber content to be located at the neckline.

Section 134.1, 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.
Section 134.32, Customs Regulations, lists the general exceptions to the marking requirements, providing, in pertinent part:

(f) Articles imported for use by the importer and not intended for sale in their imported or any other form; and

(h) Articles for which the ultimate purchaser must necessarily know the country of origin by reason of the circumstances of their importation or by reason of the character of the articles even though they are not marked to indicate their origin.

Before we can determine whether any of the above exceptions apply, we must decide who is the ultimate purchaser. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 732082 of March 14, 1989, Customs ruled on the country of origin requirements of imported articles to be used by the importer as samples to be shown to prospective customers to solicit sales of similar articles. Customs determined that the ultimate purchaser was the importer who uses the samples in his business, and not the prospective customer. As such, the imported samples could be excepted from marking under 19 CFR 134.32(f).

In this case, the information submitted indicates that Paws is the importer who will verify that the garments have been produced according to the terms of their licensing agreement, and it is stated that the garments will not be sold in the U.S. Furthermore, information has been submitted from Elms Marketing, the licensee, that the fiber content is 100 percent cotton and that the garments are of British origin. Accordingly, we find that under these circumstances Paws is the ultimate purchaser and the garments may be excepted from country of origin marking pursuant to 19 CFR 134.32(f).

Additionally, we have contacted Mr. Bret Smart at the Federal Trade Commission and he informs us that the garments may be excepted from the fiber content labeling requirements as the garments will not be offered for retail sale in the U.S.


Based upon the information submitted and pursuant to 19 CFR 134.32(f), we find that since the garments are not offered for retail sale in the U.S., that the garments may be excepted from the country of origin marking requirements.

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

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