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May 12, 1999

MAR-2-RR:NC:TA:354 E80581


Ms. Carie Samuel
Fritz Co., Inc.
1721 W.Elfindale, Suite 205
Springfield, MO 65807

RE: The country of origin marking of an imported fielder’s glove.

Dear Ms. Samuel:

In your letter dated April 19, 1999, you requested a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements of a glove on behalf of Rawlings Sporting Goods, Inc. The provided sample will be returned as per your request.


The submitted sample, item XFG125S, is a leather fielder’s glove which has been marked for country of origin with a printed textile label measuring approximately 1 1/2 inch long by 1/2 inch wide which reads “Made in the Philippines” and is sewn at the inner backside wrist. Stamped on the palmside center of the glove is the following wording within a circle: “Trade Mark Rawlings Mfg. Co.” surrounded by “Manufacturers of High Grade Athletic Goods St. Louis, U.S.A”. Sewn on the backside wrist area is a 3 inch by 2 inch colored label depicting the American Flag with “Rawlings” printed at the lower right corner of this label.


In your inquiry you state that the main objective of your request is to verify if the markings on the glove as outlined above are adequate for country of origin marking purposes.


Section 304 of the 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 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. 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. Friedlaender & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297 at 302.

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, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41), 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.

In addition, section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46), requires that when the name of any city or locality in the U.S., or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the name of the country or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced, appear on an imported article or its container, 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 (HQ 708994, dated April 24, 1978). The purpose of 19 CFR 134.46 is to prevent the possibility of misleading or deceiving the ultimate purchaser as to the origin of the imported article.

The same purpose is effected by Section 134.47, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.47), which provides that when as part of a trademark or trade name or as part of a souvenir marking, the name of a location in the U.S. appears, the article shall be legibly, conspicuously, and permanently marked to indicate the name of the country of origin of the article preceded by the words "Made in," "Product of," or other similar words, in close proximity or in some other conspicuous location (emphasis added).

The appearance of the stamped trademark “Rawlings.....St. Louis, U.S.A”. on the palmside and the depiction of the American flag with “Rawlings” sewn on the backside label are geographical references which trigger the requirements of 19 CFR 134.47. This conclusion is consistent with previous determinations in which we have found that marking which might otherwise have been in a conspicuous place is inadequate because of the appearance of the words and symbols which might in their context suggest to the ultimate purchaser a country of origin other than the actual country of origin of the foreign article. For example, in HQ 734085 (June 4, 1993), we found that the country of origin marking on the back of packages of frozen vegetables was not in a conspicuous location because of the prominent appearance of the trademark "American Mixtures" on the front of the package. Although the back of the package was a usual location for the country of origin marking, in that case because of the "American Mixtures" trademark, the country of origin marking on the package was not adequate. We indicated that the circumstance and context dictated that the marking appear on the front side of the packaging.

We believe that this approach must be used in this case. Because of the multiple use of the word "Rawlings" on the glove, the depiction of the American Flag and the St. Louis, U.S.A. location used in conjunction with the palmside stamp, it is necessary to require an additional country of origin marking to give effect to the purpose of 19 CFR 134.47 to assure that the ultimate purchaser is not misled or deceived as to the origin of the product he/she purchases.

An additional country of origin marking on a hang tag with prominent and conspicuous wording will satisfy this requirement. The securely affixed hang tag should be prominently displayed in close proximity to the “Rawlings” logo featuring the American flag on the backside of the glove. This is likely to attract the attention of a potential purchaser. The country of origin marking on the tag should be large enough and in such a location that it will be noticed from a casual inspection of the glove.


Accordingly, the combination of putting the country of origin marking on a sewn?in label in wrist area and on a hang tag on the backside of the glove should advise the ultimate purchaser of the country of origin of the glove and clarify any confusion as to origin of the glove, thus satisfying the conspicuousness requirement of 19 CFR 134.47.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 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 Brian Burtnik at 212-637-7083.


Robert B. Swierupski

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