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NY C85794

March 30, 1998

MAR-2 RR:NC:2:224 C85794


Hermann Kloetzer
SIG Arms Inc.
Corporate Park
Exeter NH 03833


Dear Mr. Kloetzer:

This is in response to your letter dated March 11, 1998, requesting a ruling on whether certain proposed methods of marking a limited number of imported finished pistols in lieu of marking the firearms themselves are acceptable country of origin marking methods for the imported firearms. A marked sample container was not submitted with your letter.

It is our understanding that you intend to establish an assembly operation in the United States wherein imported foreign-made frame, magazine and barrel components and assorted small parts will be assembled to make up complete polymer frame pistols. Prior to the start of this operation, a prototype period will see the importation of 1000 of these complete firearms assembled and finished in Germany with components made in various countries. You were advised by Customs that because of the substantial finishing operations in Germany these 1000 prototype phase firearms would be considered for marking purposes as products of Germany and should be marked "Product of Germany" or "Made in Germany."

Your present concern is to conform with the U.S. marking statutes that require a mark to sufficiently indicate the country of origin to the ultimate purchaser while at the same time avoiding the costs of "tooling" the appropriate equipment to diesink (or other similar process) the country of origin mark for a limited number of imported firearms. You have asked us to consider sanctioning one of two temporary forms of marking, that is, using a string tag affixed to the pistol or a label attached to the pistol's immediate packaging.

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.

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. Section 134.1(d) defines the ultimate purchaser as generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. If an imported article is to be sold at retail in its imported form, the purchaser at retail is the ultimate purchaser. In this case, the ultimate purchaser of the firearm is the consumer who purchases the product at retail.

An article is excepted from marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a)(3)(D) and section 134.32(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(d)), if the marking of a container of such article will reasonably indicate the origin of such article. It is our understanding that each and every one of your imported subject pistols will be packaged in a plastic case which in turn will be placed in a cardboard box and that this will be the form in which each firearm will be sold to ultimate consumers at retail.

Accordingly, if Customs at the port of entry is satisfied that the firearm will remain in its container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser and if the ultimate purchaser can identify the country of origin of the firearm by viewing a conspicuous label permanently attached to the container in which it is packaged, the individual firearm would be excepted from marking under this provision. We look with less favor on the string tag method if that constitutes the sole marking. We do not feel that this temporary form of marking would in all instances survive the proof testing, function testing, or other handling that the firearms may be subjected to.

We encourage you to furnish a sample of the subject firearm product meeting the provisions of this ruling to the port director where the merchandise will be entered for his review.


The polymer frame pistols which are imported in containers that are marked in the manner described above, are excepted from marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a)(3)(D) and 19 CFR 134.32(d). Accordingly, marking the container in which the firearms are imported and sold to the ultimate purchaser in lieu of marking the article itself is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported firearms provided the port director is satisfied that the article will remain in the marked container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser.

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 Tom McKenna at 212-466-5475.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity
Specialist Division

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