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NY B87730

July 25, 1997

MAR-2 RR:NC:2:234 B87730


Mr. Marc S. Greenberg
American Shipping Co., Inc.
140 Sylvan Avenue
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 07632

RE: Country of origin marking of certain plastic coated paperboard shopping bags, from China

Dear Mr. Greenberg:

This is in response to your letter dated July 3, 1997, on behalf of your client, Keenpac North America Ltd., Goshen, New York, requesting a ruling on the acceptability of deleting an existing country of origin marking, "Made in China", from the base of certain plastic coated paper shopping bags. A marked sample was submitted with your letter for review, and will be retained for reference.

The sample is a relatively sturdy, reusable, paperboard shopping bag, measuring, when unfolded, 31 cm in height, 40.5 cm in width, and 15 cm in depth (front to back). It does not have handles, but you advise that when imported it will have a rope handle, which is inserted into existing holes and knotted at the ends.

The sample is covered with a thin plastic sheeting, which is printed with black, red and white decorative pattern, and also with the name TOMMY HILFIGER.

Your client will deliver the imported bags to Tommy Hilfiger Company, who will distribute them to many retail outlets that sell Tommy Hilfiger brand clothing. When a retail customer purchases a Tommy Hilfiger garment, he will be given one of these bags to transport the garment home.

You propose that the Tommy Hilfiger Company be considered to be the ultimate purchaser in the United States of the imported shopping bags, under these circumstances, and therefore, because the company has advised by letter that they are aware that "these shopping bags are manufactured (in) and imported from China", they be held exempt from origin marking requirements in accordance with C.R. 134.24 (c).

The cited regulation covers "Containers or holders not designed for or capable of reuse." These are defined as "the usual ordinary types of containers or holders, including cans, bottles, paper or polyethylene bags, paperboard boxes, and similar containers or holders which are ordinarily discarded after the contents have been consumed". As indicated above, it is our opinion that these sturdy shopping bags are capable of reuse; they will not ordinarily be discarded after the purchased clothing is transported to the buyers home. They are therefore not within the scope of this section of the Regulations.

C.R. 134.1 (d) defines "ultimate purchaser" as, generally, "the last person in the United States who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported."

In a case where the imported article is distributed as a gift, the recipient is the "ultimate purchaser". CR 134.1 (d) (4).

In the circumstances which you describe, the purchaser at retail of Tommy Hilfiger clothing, who will receive the imported shopping bag without charge (as a "gift"), is the "ultimate purchaser" for Tariff Act purposes of the shopping bag; the bag must be marked to indicate its country of origin.

The marking which appears on the sample is acceptable country of origin marking; its removal or deletion from the imported shopping bags is not approved, and would place them in violation of the applicable law and regulation.

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

A copy of this ruling letter 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 Carl Abramowitz of this office, at 212-466-5733.


Gwenn Klein Kirschner
Chief, Special Products Branch
National Commodity
Specialist Division

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