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NY E82908

June 16, 1999

MAR-2-95:RR:NC:2:224 E82908


Helen Newell
Polardreams International Ltd.
1948 Highway 1 North
Fairfield IA 52556-9020

RE: Country of origin marking of imported plush toys from China.

Dear Ms. Newell:

This is in response to your letter dated June 1, 1999, requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking "Made In China" is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported plush toys if another marking "FLA 2000" appears on the article which suggests a locality other than the actual country of origin. Photo descriptions of the merchandise were submitted with your letter for review.

The merchandise is plush toy figures representing animals such as bears, alligators and manatees. The plush toy animals are stuffed and measure approximately 14 inches in height. The toys will be fitted with assorted toy clothing, some pieces of which will be embroided with the logo “FLA 2000.” In addition, each toy will have a label sewn into its seam, which will contain, amongst other information, the statement:

Reg. No. PA7499KR
Polardreams Int’l Ltd.
Fairfield IA 52556
Made In China

The applicable subheading for the toy animals will be 9503.41.0010, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for stuffed toys representing animals or non-human creatures. The duty rate will be free.

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 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134) implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

Section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46), requires that in cases where the name of a location other than the country in which the article was produced appears on the article, 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.

The Customs Service believes that consistent with the statutory requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304, the country of origin marking only needs to satisfy these requirements of 19 CFR 134.46, if the name of the other geographic location may mislead or deceive the ultimate purchaser as to the actual country of origin. Customs has consistently held that in those cases in which a reference to a place other than the country of origin is made on an imported article, but such reference would not confuse the ultimate purchaser, the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 are not triggered. Furthermore, Customs has determined that the special requirements of 19 CFR 134.36(b) should not be applied automatically to all imported articles which bear a non-origin geographical reference. Section 134.36(b), Customs Regulations, states that an exception from marking shall not apply to any article or retail container bearing any words, letters, names, or symbols described in section 134.46, CR, which imply that an article was made in a country other than the actual country of origin.

In Customs ruling HQ 782412 (August 29, 1989), Customs found that the placement of the word “Kansas” on different areas of imported jeans did not trigger the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 because such marking was used as a symbol or decoration and would not reasonably be construed as indicating the origin of the article on which it appeared.

We find that this present case involves a situation similar to that in HQ 782412. We do not believe anyone will be confused as to the country of origin of the toy plush figures. In our opinion, the ultimate purchaser will know that the embroided logo or symbol “FLA 2000” refers to the toy’s millenium message rather than where the figure is created. Therefore we rule that this reference does not trigger the requirements of section 134.46 of the Customs Regulations.

The proposed marking of imported toy plush animals, as described above, satisfies the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 and is an acceptable country of origin marking. Further, we find that the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 are not triggered by the statement “FLA 2000,” and this mark is allowable under the statute.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 177).

A copy of this 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) 637-7015.


Robert Swierupski

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