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HQ 734369

May 4, 1992

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 734369 GRV


Mr. F.X. Fabiano
Manager, International Marketing
Star Expansion Company
Pleasant Hill Road
Mountainville, N.Y. 10953

RE: Country of origin marking requirements applicable to adhesive labels affixed to individually repackaged sleeve-type stud bolt anchors. 19 CFR 134.32(d); article excepted; 19 CFR 134.34; package marking; 19 CFR 134.44(b); adhesive labels; 19 CFR 134.46; country other than the country of origin of imported article; words of similar meaning (Manufactured in ..."); C.S.D. 88- 29; 732900; C.S.D. 91-23

Dear Mr. Fabiano:

This is in response to your letter of October 1, 1991, requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements applicable to adhesive labels affixed to individually repackaged, multi-foreign-sourced, sleeve-type stud bolt anchors. In a telephone conversation with a member of my staff on February 20, 1992, you added and clarified certain information which was considered in this ruling. Samples of the subject adhesive stickers and a retail box showing the location where the labels would be affixed were submitted for examination, as were art works showing that various countries will be denoted on the proposed marking scheme; a uniform marking scheme being employed.


Following a repackaging operation, wherein, bulk imported sleeve-type stud bolt anchors are individually packaged in retail boxes, a 1, inch in diameter circular adhesive label will be affixed to the box's cover in a location that ensures that if the box is opened, the adhesive label seal will be broken. The label(s) uniformly contain the following information: "Star Laboratories" and "Quality Standards" are printed in circular fashion around the perimeter of the label, the particular country of origin of the bolt is denoted on the bottom part of the circle as "Manufactured IN (country spelled out in CAPITAL LETTERS) ," and your company's U.S. address are denoted on the top part of the circle as Designed and Engineered "STAR" "Mountainville, New York. The country of origin is printed in larger and bolder print than the U.S. reference, however, both are denoted in print sizes that are easy to read.

You inquire as to whether adhesive labels marked with both the country of origin of the imported bolt anchors and your company's U.S. address are acceptable for purposes of country of origin marking.

In the telephone conversation of February 20, 1992, you stated that you only wanted Customs to address the propriety of the marked adhesive label(s) and that you would be striking the "MADE IN USA" reference on the bottom of the retail carton.


Whether the adhesive labels to be affixed to the individu- ally repackaged stud bolts meet the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134.


The marking statute, 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 pur- chaser 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.

The primary purpose of the country of origin marking statute is to "mark the goods so that at the time of purchase the ulti- mate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were produced, be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influ- ence his will." United States v. Friedlaender & Co., 27 CCPA 297, 302, C.A.D. 104 (1940).

Where locations other than the country of origin of the merchandise appear on an imported article, in order to prevent confusion to the ultimate purchaser, 134.46 imposes certain location and conspicuousness requirements on the country of origin marking. These special marking requirements require that the foreign country of origin marking be denoted (1) in close proximity and (2) in at least comparable size lettering to the other country reference, and (3) preceded by "Made in," "Product of," or other words of similar meaning. We have twice before considered whether certain variations of the introductory phrase "Manufactured by/in/for " clearly indicate the country of origin of imported merchandise to the ultimate purchaser. In C.S.D. 88-29, we considered the phrase "Manufactured for Girling in Taiwan." We stated that if the introductory phrase was subject to various interpretations it would constitute unaccept- able marking, however, we found that the present marking phrase was not subject to various interpretations and, to the contrary, clearly indicated the country of origin. And within the context of 134.46, in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 732900 dated April 24, 1990 we stated that Customs has long held that the words "Manufactured by" to be "words of similar meaning" as "Made in" or "Product of." Given the findings in these rulings, we find in this case that the introductory phrase "Manufactured in " is not subject to various interpretations and clearly indicates the country of origin of the imported article.

The Conspicuous Marking Requirement

Country of origin marking is normally considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. 19 CFR 134.41(b). This section also provides that the degree of permanence should be at least sufficient to insure that in any reasonably foreseeable circumstance, the marking shall remain on the article (or its container) until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless it is deliberately removed. While as a general rule, marking requirements are best met by a marking that is worked into the article at the time of its manufacture, 19 CFR 134.41(a), 134.44(a) provides, in part, that any method of marking at any location insuring that the country of origin will conspicuously appear on the article shall be acceptable. Where adhesive labels are involved, the permanency requirement is such that the labels must be affixed so securely that unless deliberately removed they will remain on the article (or its container) while it is in storage or on display and until it is delivered to the ultimate purchaser. 19 CFR 134.44(b). Further, we have stated that the marking must be able to survive normal distribution and store handling. C.S.D. 87-9.

In a series of rulings (HRL 733888 dated October 9, 1991, and 733965 (published as C.S.D. 91-23)) we concluded that where various print sizes and types were employed to denote/convey various product/consumer information, that the country of origin marking should not, as a rule, be presented in the lightest-face type and/or the smallest print size, as this marking format generally renders the marking hard to find in the first instance. In this case, the country of origin marking is presented in bolder and larger type than some of the other information, and adequately meets the marking requirements of 134.41(b), the basis for the above rulings. The Article Marking Exception

Section 134.32(d) provides that if the marking of the containers will reasonably indicate the origin of the enclosed imported articles, then the articles themselves need not be individually marked. This exception is applicable in cases where the article is imported in a properly marked container and Customs officials at the port of entry are satisfied that in all reasonably foreseeable circumstances the ultimate purchasers will receive the article in its original, unopened and properly marked container.

In this case the stud bolts are to be individually packaged after importation. Thus, the requirements of 134.34 are applicable, which provide, in part, that:

[a]n exception under 134.32(d) may be authorized in the discretion of the district director for imported articles which are to be repackaged after release from Customs custody under the following conditions:

(1) The containers in which the articles are repacked will indicate the origin of the articles to an ultimate purchaser in the United States.
(2) The importer arranges for supervision of the marking of the containers by Customs officers at the importer's expense or secures such verifica- tion, as may be necessary, by certification and the submission of a sample or otherwise, of the marking prior to the liquidation of the entry. (Emphasis supplied).

After viewing the sample adhesive labels submitted, which will be securely affixed to each package where the flap meets the box, we are satisfied that they satisfy the marking requirements of a conspicuous location, permanence, legibility, and indelibility, assuming the district director approves of the repackaging operation under the provisions of 134.34.


The adhesive labels to be affixed to the individually repackaged stud bolts--at the seam where the flap meets the box- -satisfy the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134, in that they are securely affixed in a conspicuous place such that they will remain on the packaging while it is in storage and until it is delivered to the ultimate purchaser.

If the conditions set forth at 19 CFR 134.34 are present-- and no other marking issues present themselves, the district director has the discretion to authorize this marking exception, which excepts the bulk imported merchandise from individual article marking requirements under the provisions of 19 CFR 134.32(d).

This ruling does not address any markings that may appear on the individual retail cartons. Thus, you should present the particulars of your entire repackaging scheme to the district director for his/her consideration before you proceed to import the stud bolt anchors merchandise. Further, we advise you that certain provisions of the Fastener Quality Act of 1990, 15 U.S.C. 5401, may be applicable to the imported sleeve-type stud bolt anchors. This Act imposes certain certification requirements on non-exempt fasteners of foreign origin. You can also inquire of the district director as to whether your transaction meets applicable requirements of this Act.


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