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June 2, 1999

MAR-2 RR:NC:TA:359 E81382


Ms. Mary E. Keller
A.W. Fenton Company Inc.
P.O. Box 75029
Cincinnati, OH 45275-0029


Dear Ms. Keller:

This is in response to your letter dated April 15, 1999 requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking "Made in China" is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported ladies’ pullover sweaters if another marking "PBJ SPORT Designed in the USA" appears on the article which is a country or locality other than the actual country of origin of the article. You submitted this request on behalf of your client, Zimmer Enterprises, Inc., DBA PBJ Sport, Dayton, Ohio. A marked sample was submitted with your letter for review. The sample is returned as you requested.

Your inquiry concerns certain information which you wish to place on the country of origin marking labels which appear on the inside of the neckline. There are two such labels. The top label, which is sewn to the sweater at the neckline, contains this information: “PBJ SPORT Designed in the USA”. The bottom label, which is sewn to the top label but not to the sweater, gives the fiber content in two languages; the RN number; the CA number; the sweater’s sizing and the phrase “Made in China” in English and French. You ask whether this country of origin labeling is acceptable or not under the Marking regulations, specifically Section 134.46 of the Customs Regulations. You also ask if an attached hangtag, which states this information: “PBJ SPORT; DESIGNED IN THE USA; must also be marked with the proper country of origin, i.e. Made in China.

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.

Section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46), deals with cases in which the words "United States," or "American," the letters "U.S.A.," any variation of such words or letters, or the name of any city or locality in the United States, 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, and those words, letters or names may mislead or deceive the ultimate purchaser as to the actual country of origin. In such a case, 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.

In order to satisfy the close proximity requirement, the country of origin marking must generally appear on the same side(s) or surface(s) in which the name or locality other than the actual country of origin appears.

The proposed marking of imported ladies’ pullover sweaters , as described above, does not satisfy the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 and is not an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported ladies’ pullover sweaters.

The phrase “Made in China” is not in close proximity to the phrase “Designed in the USA”. Neither is the first phrase like or equivalent in size or spacing of the letters to the second. Additionally, the country of origin phrase may be lost amidst the other information with which it is crowded (fiber content, etc.). Furthermore, if the sweater is laid flat in a folded condition on a counter, the country of origin phrase may not be visible at all. Finally, the phrase “Designed in the USA” is not only larger than the country of origin phrase, a point which is conceded in your inquiry, but its lettering is more spaced apart, thereby creating a more prominent appearance than the phrase for the country of origin. For these reasons we judge your proposed marking labels to be unacceptable.

Regarding your question on the marking of the hangtag, Section 134.46 C.R. clearly requires that the hangtag be marked with the country of origin wherever the phrase “Designed in the USA” appears. Such marking must also be legible, permanent, in close proximity to and in comparable sized lettering to the phrase which describes the place of design.

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 Mike Crowley at 212-637-7077.


Robert B. Swierupski

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