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HQ 560721

October 29, 1997

MAR-205 RR:TC:SM 560721 MLR


Ms. Laura Corcoran
Elita Sterling Trading, Inc.
9320 Boul. St.-Laurent #900
Montreal, Quebec
Canada H2N 1N7

RE: Country of origin marking of intimate apparel; mini camisoles; T.D. 54640(6)

Dear Ms. Corcoran:

This is in response to your letter of October 23, 1997, requesting a ruling regarding the country of origin marking on certain pieces of women's upper body wear. Samples and a brochure were submitted with your request.


The samples submitted are referred to as crop tops and mini camisoles, and it is stated that they are not outerwear garments but are intimate apparel. All of the samples, except one, are white in color (one is black), contain straps approximately 3/4 to 1 inch in width, and have no closure apparatus but contain elastic bands that lie on the wearer at a point just touching the lower curve of the bust. We note that the brochure indicates that the garments may be made in various colors. Two samples cross over in the front, one contains underwire, and the other does not contain any type of cup construction but stretches across the bust.

The label attached to the side of the garment below the armhole contains the country of origin marking "Made in Canada", and care labeling instructions on the reverse side. The label also indicates that the garments are constructed either out of 92 percent cotton and 8 percent lycra spandex, or 80 percent microfiber nylon and 20 percent lycra spandex, exclusive of trimming.


Whether the label at the side of the garments below the armhole satisfies the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304.


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 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. The Congressional intent in enacting 19 U.S.C. 1304 was "that the ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of the marking on the imported goods the country of which the goods is the product. The evident purpose is to mark the goods so that at the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were produced, be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will." United States v. Friedlander & Co., Inc., 27 CCPA 297 at 302; C.A.D. 104 (1940). Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134) implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

As provided in section 134.41(b), the country of origin marking is considered to be conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. Customs ruled in T.D. 54640(6) (July 15, 1958), that shirts, blouses, coats, sweaters and similar wearing apparel must be legibly and conspicuously marked with the name of the country of origin by means of a fabric label or label made from natural or synthetic film sewn or otherwise permanently affixed on the inside center of the neck midway between the shoulder seams or in that immediate area or otherwise permanently marked in that area in some other manner.

It is claimed that the garments at issue are not subject to the marking requirements of T.D. 54640(6), as they are intimate apparel. Please note that T.D. 54640(6) is within the jurisdiction of the Customs Service and is not a Federal Trade Commission requirement. We do not find that T.D. 54640(6) is applicable because the garments do not contain a neckline, not because the garments are intimate apparel. The back of all samples scoop down low and the backside containing the elastic is only at the most 2 « inches wide. Furthermore, the back center does not contain a closure apparatus or a stitch line. For the sake of comfort, it appears that the label is best suited at the side of the garment where it is stitched together. Additionally, since the garments just reach below the bustline, we find that it is not difficult for the ultimate purchaser to find the label and to search inside the garment as with a longer garment that covers the torso. However, we note from the brochure that some styles do contain necklines and cover the entire torso, such as the long sleeve shirt, turtleneck bodysuit, or long camisole. These styles should be marked as to origin by means of a fabric label sewn or otherwise permanently attached at the inside center of the neckline pursuant to T.D. 54640(6).

To ensure compliance with the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (15 U.S.C. 70) which is applicable to textile products and under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you may wish to contact them at: Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Division of Enforcement, 601 Pennsylvania, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580 .


Based on the information and samples, we find that the submitted samples are not subject to the marking requirements of T.D. 54640(6) as they do not contain a neckline, but may be marked with their country of origin by means of a label placed at the side of the garment below the armhole.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time the goods are entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant, Director

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