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NY B80812

January 24, 1997
MAR-2 RR:NC:TA:357 B80812


Ms. Maureen Shoule
J.W. Hampton, Jr. & Co., Inc.
161-15 Rockaway Blvd.
Jamaica, NY 11434


Dear Ms. Shoule:

This is in response to your letter dated January 3, 1997, on behalf of Pro Player, Inc., requesting a ruling on whether labels with an American flag and the words "Designed in USA", followed by the words "Made in (Korea, Guatemala or Indonesia)", is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported jackets. Marked sample labels were submitted with your letter for review.

There are two labels in question, one of which will appear in the lining at the neck of all jackets, and a second, additional and almost identical label, which will appear on the sleeve of down filled jackets. Both are of the same size and will have the same information, with the only difference being the colors of the background and the lettering.

The labels measure 4-1/4" by 3-1/2". Along with other information the labels have the words "Designed in" in letters 1/8" high. On the next line "USA" is in letters 1/2" high along with a United States flag measuring 7/8" by 7/16". There are an additional five lines of text followed by "Made in (country of origin)" in letters 3/16" high. On the neck label the background is blue and all the lettering except the country of origin information is white, while the country of origin information is red. In the case of the sleeve label the background is black and all lettering is white.

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.

Section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46), requires that in any case in which the words "United States," or "American," the letters "U.S.A.," any variation of such words or letters, or the name of any city or locality in the United States, or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the country or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced, appears on an imported article or its container, there shall appear, legibly and permanently, in close proximity to such words, letters, or name, and in at least a comparable size, the name of the country of origin preceded by "Made in," Product of," or other words of similar meaning. In this context the Customs Service made the following observations in HRL 733940, October 24, 1991:

Whether the marking stands out is dependent on where it appears in relationship to other print on the article and whether it is in contrasting letters to the background. The legibility of the marking concerns the clarity of the letters and whether the ultimate purchaser could read the letters of the marking without strain. No single factor should be considered conclusive by itself. Instead, it is the combination of these factors which determines whether the marking is acceptable. In some cases, a marking may be unacceptable even when it is in a large size because the letters are too hard to read or it is in a location where it would not be easily noticed. In other cases, even if the marking is small, the use of contrasting colors, which make the letters particularly stand out, could compensate to make the marking acceptable.

The proposed marking on the sleeve of the down filled jackets, where all lettering is white and the background is black, as described above, satisfies the marking requirements of Section 134.46, Customs Regulations. However, because the country of origin information on the neck label is not nearly as conspicuous as the USA and flag markings due to its tendency to blend into the background color, this label does not satisfy the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 and is not an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported jackets.

It should be noted 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. Questions concerning fiber content labelling requirements are covered under the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act. Therefore, we suggest that you contact the Federal Trade Commission, Division of Enforcement, 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20508, for their requirements.

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 W. Raftery at 212-466-5851.


Paul K. Schwartz
Chief, Textiles and Apparel Branch

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