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NY A89946

MAR-2 RR:NC:1:113 A89946


Mr. M. Roy Goldberg

Galland, Kharasch, Morse and Garfinkle

1054 31st Street, NW

Washington, DC 20007-4492

RE: Country of origin marking of imported lapel pins and ink stamps

Dear Mr. Goldberg:

This is in response to your letter dated November 22, 1996, on behalf of Hallmark Cards, Inc., requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking described below is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported lapel pins and ink stamps if another marking appears on the article which is a country or locality other than the actual country of origin of the article. A marked sample was submitted with your letter for review.

The merchandise is the Special Delivery Stamp for children and the Winnie the Pooh Lapel Pin. The items are to be imported mounted onto a paper board packaging. On the back of the packaging is the US address of Hallmark Cards in Kansas City MO, and, in close proximity and in the same size type, the country of origin. The country of origin of the lapel pin is Sri Lanka; the country of origin of the stamp is Taiwan. This part of the marking satistfies the special marking provisions of 19 C.F.R. §134.46.

Your actual concern is that the front of the packaging, in the upper right hand corner, the words "USA $3.95" and "Canada $4.95" appear. You inquire whether this reference also invokes 19 C.F.R. §134.46.

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 C.F.R. Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. §1304. Customs has recognized that the presence of a geographic location other than the country in which the article was produced on an imported article or its container may mislead the ultimate purchaser as to the true country of origin. Therefore, in cases where the name of a location in the U.S. 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, 19 C.F.R. §134.46 provides that 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. Customs has ruled that in order to satisfy the close proximity requirement, the country of origin marking must appear on the same side(s) or surface(s) in which the name of the locality other than the country of origin appears. The purpose of this section is to prevent the possibility of misleading or deceiving the ultimate purchaser as to the actual origin of the imported good.

The key to proper application of Sec. 134.46 is judging the likelihood of confusion caused in the mind of an ultimate purchaser by a subject word or phrase. For example, it was determined that the U.S. address of a store on foreign printed promotional material did not infer the store was the printer (709304; July 27, 1978), and the address of a company on a foreign printed calendar to be given away for advertising purposes was determined not to be misleading marking (709655; November 30, 1978). Customs recognises that the regulations may be judged by the context in which such word of phrase appears. HQ 734036 of May 20,1991 concerned a list of state names that appeared on a beverage bottle.

Although there was information on the sample bottle regarding refund deposits which contained the abbreviations of several state names, HQ found that these state abbreviations did not trigger the requirements of 19 C.F.R. §134.46. The ultimate purchasers of the mineral water would understand that the state abbreviations are only on the bottle for the purpose of indicating in which states a refund deposit law is applicable and does not imply any information concerning the origin of mineral water.

In the same fashion, it is the opinion of this office, that the ultimate purchaser will understand that the references to the USA and Canada relate to the price of the goods, and are not a claim of country of origin.

The proposed marking of imported lapel pins and ink stamps, as described above, satisfies the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. §1304 and 19 C.F.R. Part 134 and is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported items.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 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 Smyth at 212-466-2084..


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