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NY B87007

July 16, 1997

MAR-2 RR:NC:TA:346 B87007


Peter Baskin
Sharretts, Paley, Carter and Blauvelt, P.C. 67 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004


Dear Mr. Baskin:

This is in response to your letter, dated July 7, 1997, for Wolverine World Wide Inc, requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking on the plastic bag which contains them is an acceptable country of origin marking for these imported slippers. A marked sample was submitted with your letter for review.

A pair of slippers are within a transparent plastic bag that is closed by heat sealing. The bag has a large, secure, paper sticker which has imprinted on it a large Made in China, a style number and other identifying codes. The slippers are labelled "LL Bean", and "L", for Large, but are not marked with the country of origin.

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.

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 or its container, when appropriate, until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless deliberately removed is acceptable. In this case, it does not seem possible to remove the paper label without deliberately ripping the plastic bag. The permanance question is thus only whether the slippers will remain in the bag.

You correctly cite CR 134.24-d-2 concerning this type of sealed package which is incapable of reuse.

Although it is unusual for footwear to be sold to the ultimate purchaser in lightweight (although not flimsy), transparent plastic bags, as here, the reason for this is that most footwear is sold in stores in which the potential purchasers have an opportunity to try them on for size. This is not the case here. You indicate that Wolverine World Wide, via its Tru-Stitch Division, will "sell" them only to LL Bean. The LL Bean label on the slippers does imply that they will go only to them. You further state that LL Bean will sell them only by mail. The purchaser will not have an opportunity to try on the slippers prior to purchase, but that is not unusual for "stuffed" slippers like these which are flexible enough that they are not sold in the usual footwear sizes, but in small, medium and large. This will, of course, greatly reduce the handling that they will face before purchase. LL Bean does have, in fact, a very large catalog sales operation, and this packaging does appear much better suited for such sales. Also, the fact that the slippers have no style or other codes is a strong indication that LL Bean does not intend them to be sold other than in the plastic bag. Modern inventory controls do not work without such codes.

Therefore, it is clear that, in this case, the plastic bag will not "normally be opened by the ultimate purchaser" before sale, noting CR 134.24-d-2.

The proposed marking of imported slippers in marked, heat-sealed bags, as described above, is a conspicuous, legible and permanent marking in satisfaction of the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 and is an acceptable country of origin marking.

We assume that the invoices presented with the Customs entry will show LL Bean either as the purchaser or as the firm to whom the goods will be "shipped to".

You have asked that your sample be returned. It is being returned to you in a separate mailing.

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.


Paul K. Schwartz
Chief, Textile and Apparel Branch

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