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NY A89940

December 13, 1996

MAR-2 RR:NC:2:230 A89940


Ms. Kim Young
BDP International Inc.
2721 Walker NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504


Dear Ms. Young:

This is in response to your letters dated November 1 and 22, 1996, requesting a ruling on whether a proposed label reading "Handcrafted in Bali Indonesia" will constitute acceptable country of origin marking for various imported items. The ruling was requested on behalf of your client, Meijer, Inc. Although marked product samples were not submitted, a photocopy of the proposed label accompanied your letter for our review.

The label in question measures approximately 1 3/8 by 1 3/4 inches. The upper portion is printed with your client's name, an identification number and a price, while the center section bears a bar code. The lower portion is legibly printed with the words, "HANDCRAFTED IN BALI INDONESIA."

Your particular concern is whether this usage of the word "handcrafted" (which your client feels may favorably influence sales) is allowable within the context of Customs' marking requirements.

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, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.44), generally provides that 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.

With regard to the phrase "handcrafted in (country)," Customs' policy is that such wording is acceptable for country-of-origin marking purposes only when the language is accurate, i.e., when the product is in fact "handcrafted" (as opposed to machine-made). Articles not created by hand are not permitted to be marked in this manner, since such marking would tend to falsely describe or represent the merchandise. In this connection, we note that section 11.13 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 11.13) prohibits the importation of goods bearing such misrepresentations.

We find that the goods described (in an attachment to your second letter) as "bamboo wind chime with 6 pcs. bamboo tubes and coconut shell top, produced without any machinery," and as "wooden tulip flower and bamboo vase produced without any machinery," are eligible to be marked with the proposed label reading "HANDCRAFTED IN BALI INDONESIA." Assuming the label is securely affixed in a conspicuous place, it will satisfy the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134, and will be an acceptable country of origin marking for those products.

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 Paul Garretto at (212) 466-5779.


Roger J. Silvestri

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