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NY A88617

October 31, 1996

MAR-2 RR:NC:3:346 A88617


Mr. Robert L. Gardenier
M.E. Dey & Co.
5007 South Howell Ave.
P.O. Box 37165
Milwaukee, WI 53237-0165


Dear Mr. Gardenier:

This is in response to your letter dated October 9, 1996, on behalf of Elefanten USA, Inc., requesting a ruling on whether the proposed method of marking a child's felt slipper "Made in Slovenia", by using an adhesive label, is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported footwear. A marked sample was submitted with your letter for review.

The submitted sample is a small size child's, high-top slipper/shoe, with an unlined textile felt upper and a side strap "Velcro" closure. A rectangular shaped, 1.5 inch long by .375 (3/8) inch wide, white, self adhesive textile label has been firmly affixed to the inside face on the side quarter panel of this sample shoe, at about ankle height. It contains the words "MADE IN SLOVENIA", in contrasting black capital letters approximately .125 (1/8) inch high and it is clearly visible and legible to an ultimate U.S. purchaser.

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 (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.

As provided in section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), the country of origin marking is considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

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, it is suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be die sunk, molded in, or etched. However, section 134.44-b, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.44-b), provides, regarding marking via labels, that if paper sticker or pressure sensitive labels are used, they must be affixed in a conspicuous place and so securely that unless deliberately removed they will remain on the article while it is in storage or on display and until it is delivered to the ultimate purchaser.

We note that because of the fuzzy fibrous surface of the felt upper material and the unusually large size of the sticker, the adhesiveness of this stick-on label is sufficient to ensure that it will remain on this shoe during normal handling. If, however, the location, the size or the adhesive quality of this country of origin marking label, as here described, is changed in any way on the actual imported product, then this ruling decision is not applicable.

Since footwear often undergoes considerable handling by the purchaser prior to purchase, the standard of adhesion for the sticker is particularly high. Note, for example, the smaller sticker on a sandal, which, in HRL 734500, 6-25-92, was determined to be neither sufficiently conspicuous nor permanent marking.

You state that the inner sole is produced separately from the balance of the shoe and may the product of various countries. In that sense, "the shoe may be made in different countries", as you state. However, the fact that the inner sole may be made elsewhere does not need to be stated. It will lose its separate identity when it becomes a composite good with the balance of the shoe, whose origin remains Slovenia for marking purposes.

The proposed marking of this child size slipper/shoe, with a textile felt upper as described above, is conspicuously, legibly and permanently marked in satisfaction of the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134, and it is an acceptable method of country of origin marking for this footwear.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist James Sheridan at 212-466-5889.


Roger J. Silvestri

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