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NY H82308

July 11, 2001

CLA-2-34:RR:NC:2:236 H82308


TARIFF NO.: 3401.11.5000

Martin J. Sveum
Tower Group International
Western Canadian Border Region
PO Box 1738
Blaine, WA 98231-1738

RE: The tariff classification of Soapsheres from South Africa

Dear Mr. Sveum:

In your letter dated June 7, 2001, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of Eighteen Karat International.

You state the Soapshere is soap manufactured in South Africa from vegetal materials and is infused with herbs, spices, and seeds. The Soapshere is sold in a decorative box manufactured in China. You indicate the Soapshere and the decorative box are both imported into Canada by Eighteen Karat International. In Canada they wrap the Soapshere with tissue paper, place it in the decorative box, tie it up with a “raffia – like” ribbon, and attach a hangtag describing the Soapshere.

The applicable subheading for the Soapshere will be 3401.11.5000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for “Soap; organic surface-active products and preparations for use as soap, in the form of bars, cakes, molded pieces or shapes, whether or not containing soap; paper, wadding, felt and nonwovens, impregnated, coated or covered with soap or detergent: Soap and organic surface-active products and preparations: For toilet use (including medicated products): Other.” The duty rate will be free.

In your letter you also requested a ruling on whether the proposed marking is an acceptable country of origin marking. A sample was submitted with your letter for review. Your letter indicates the product will be sold to both distributors and end users.

The sample had a “Made in China” sticker on the bottom of the decorative box, no marking on the Soapshere, the wording “Soapsheres are handmade in South Africa from.” on the inside of the hangtag, and the name “Eighteen Karat” with its Canadian address on the back of the hangtag.

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 134.24, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.24), provides for containers or holders not designed for or capable of reuse. The decorative box made in China is considered the usual packing material for the imported Soapsheres per GRI 5(b).

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 Soapsheres, 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. The statement on the hangtag is not an acceptable country of origin marking for the soap manufactured in South Africa. The decorative box, considered a usual and disposable container, is marked with the country of origin of the box and not the imported Soapshere. The presence of the Canadian company name and address on the back of the hangtag does not meet the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 since the imported product is not manufactured in Canada.

If you amend the marking, you may wish to consider resubmission of your request. If you decide to resubmit your request, please include a sample of the product as imported into the U.S. and mail your request to U.S. Customs, Customs Information Exchange, Room 437, 6 World Trade Center, New York, NY 10048, attn: Binding Rulings Section.

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 Deborah Walsh at 212-637-7062.


Robert B. Swierupski

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