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NY F80472

December 15, 1999

MAR-2 RR:NC:MM:114 F80472


Mr. John B. Pellegrini
Ross & Hardies
Park Avenue Tower
65 East 55th Street
New York, New York 10022-3219


Dear Mr. Pellegrini:

This is in response to your letter dated December 1, 1999, on behalf Reebok International, Ltd., requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking of the container in which the Reebok Flash digital watch is imported, in lieu of marking the article itself, is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported watch. A sample of the digital watch in a cardboard box was submitted with your letter.

The Reebok Flash digital watch is packaged in an unsealed cardboard box. The watch itself is not marked with the country of origin. The cardboard box is marked with a small, clear pressure sensitive label with the words “Made in China” in white lettering. The box also contains words printed directly on the box in white lettering indicating “1999 Reebok International Ltd.” and other information such as the Reebok website address, etc.

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 watch 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. Accordingly, if Customs is satisfied that the article will remain in its container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser and if the ultimate purchaser can tell the country of origin of the watch by viewing the container in which it is packaged, the individual watch would be excepted from marking under this provision.

The country of origin marking of the watch does not meet the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)) is noted. The printing on the pressure sensitive label is obscured and difficult to read. The country of origin marking is considered to be illegible. Also, it has not been established that the watch will be sold to the ultimate consumer in the unsealed cardboard box.

The special marking requirements of Additional U.S. Note 4 to chapter 91, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) are not applicable to opto-electronic watches. See Note 4, Additional U.S. Note, chapter 91, HTS, which states: “Movements with opto-electronic display only and cases designed for use therewith, whether entered as separate articles or as components of assembled watches or clocks, are excepted from the marking requirements set forth in this note.”

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

The sample of the Reebok Flash watch is being returned to you as requested.

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 Barbara Kiefer at 212-637-7058.


Robert B. Swierupski

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