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NY H85899

December 13, 2001

MAR-2 RR:NC:TA:347 H85899


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


Dear Mr. Pellegrini:

This is in response to your letter dated December 3, 2001, on behalf of your client Reebok International Ltd., requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking "Made in Indonesia" on a sewn-in label situated at the inside top of the shoe’s tongue is acceptable country of origin marking for an imported footwear item which also has a decorative depiction of an American flag on the toe cap. A marked sample was submitted with your letter for review.

The subject footwear item is an athletic style shoe with a toecap of clear rubber/plastic external surface area material covering a depiction of the American flag. As you state in your letter, the “flag” on the toe cap is part of the overall design of the footwear and its presence is not intended to mislead the consumer. Your concern is whether the depiction of a flag on this shoe triggers the proximity requirements of Section 134.46 of the Customs regulations with regard to the location of the country of origin marking.

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.

You indicate in your letter that for the representative sample you have submitted, the country of origin marking appears on a sewn-in label situated at the inside of the top of the tongue. This label also provides size information and as you state, it is in a conspicuous place since the consumer is most likely to read this label when trying on the shoe at the point of sale. The lettering is of sufficient size to be conspicuous so that the ultimate purchaser would be able to read the marking easily and without strain. Additionally, it has been the position of Customs in the past that under circumstances such as this where the American flag is used as a symbol or decoration in the overall design of the item in question, the presence of the flag may not reasonably be construed as indicating the country of origin of the article on which it appears. Therefore, we agree with your contention that for the subject shoe, the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 are not applicable.

The proposed marking of the imported athletic-type shoe, 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 for the imported footwear. We are returning the submitted sample shoe as you requested.

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 Richard Foley at 646-733-3042.


Robert B. Swierupski

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