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HQ 734294

March 20, 1992

MAR-2-05 734294 AT


Mr. Miguel Ruiz
Miami International Forwarders
P.O. Box 523730
Miami, Florida 33152-3730

RE: Country of origin marking of imported men's shorts; conspicuous; permanent; T.D. 71-264(3); 19 CFR 134.44; 19 CFR 134.41(b); HQ 733776; HQ 733701

Dear Mr. Ruiz:

This is in response to your letter of July 25, 1991, on behalf of the importer, Kellwood Company, requesting a country of origin ruling regarding imported men's shorts from Haiti. A sample pair of shorts was submitted for examination. Your letter was referred to this office for response.


The sample pair of shorts (Style No. 110095460) are woven polyester with a knit polyester lining. On the inside of the lining approximately two inches below the waistband the words "Assembled in Haiti of U.S.A. Components" have been heat transferred in red-colored lettering approximately 5 point type (a point is a unit of type measurement equal to 0.01384 inch or nearly 1/72 in., and all type sizes are multiples of this unit). The trademark "Nike" appears directly above these words. A fabric label is also sewn into the lining of the left leg of the short. On the front of the label the words "Of U.S. Components Made in Haiti" are printed in blue lettering approximately 4.5 point type. Other information such as washing instructions, size and style number are also printed on the label. On the opposite side of the label the fiber content and RN number are printed. ISSUE:

Whether the proposed marking on the submitted sample shorts satisfies the country of origin marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304?


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 U.S. 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 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 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), requires that the marking be conspicuous enough that an ultimate purchaser will be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. That section further provides that the degree of permanence should be at least sufficient to insure that in any reasonable foreseeable circumstance the marking shall remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless it is deliberately removed.

In T.D. 71-264(3) Customs ruled that "marking of trousers, slacks, jeans and similar wearing apparel must be marked by means of a permanent label affixed in a conspicuous location on the garment, such as the inside of the waistband." (Emphasis added). Customs, however, has not required the country of origin of trousers and similar wearing apparel to appear in one and only one specific location in order to be considered conspicuous within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

The first issue presented in this case is whether the heat transferred label is a "permanent label". With regard to the permanency of a marking, section 134.41(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(a)), provides that as a general rule marking requirements are best met by marking worked into the article at the time of manufacture. For example, its suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be die sunk, molded in or etched. However, section 134.44, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.44), provides that except for articles which are the subject of a ruling by the Commissioner of Customs or those articles classifiable in an item number specified in section 134.43, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.43), any marking that is sufficiently permanent so that it will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless deliberately removed is acceptable. Examination of the heat transferred label indicates that it is securely affixed to the shorts and that it will remain on the shorts until it reaches the ultimate purchaser. Although we have tried to pull or rub the label off we were not able to do so without destroying it. Accordingly, we find that the heat transferred label satisfies the permanency requirements of 19 CFR 134.44.

The second question presented in this case is whether the heat transferred label located approximately two inches below the waistband is in a conspicuous location.

In HQ 733776 (January 23, 1991), Customs ruled that the top of the inside of the inner fly panel of trousers is a conspicuous location within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. 1304, where the manufacturer included on one label the country of origin, care instructions, size and brand of the trousers. In HQ 733701 (October 9, 1990), Customs ruled that imported shorts marked with the country of origin by a label sewn into the material about 2 1/2 inches from the waistband and 2 1/2 inches from the zipper was an acceptable marking within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and T.D. 71-264(3).

In this case, although the heat transferred label is not affixed at the waistband, the label is permanently affixed in a conspicuous location, as in HQ 733701, and the country of origin marking is in red-colored lettering of adequate size (approximately 5 point).

It should be noted also that textile fiber products imported into the U.S. must be labeled in accordance with the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (15 U.S.C. 70 through 70k) and the rules promulgated thereunder by the Federal Trade Commission. Therefore, we suggest that you contact the Federal Trade Commission, Division of Enforcement, 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20508, as to whether the sample satisfies such requirements.

The sample shorts, marked with a heat transferred label, as described above, satisfies the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and T.D. 71-264(3).

You should contact the Federal Trade Commission as to whether the sample satisfies the requirements of the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act.


John Durant, Director

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