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NY I81411

May 15, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:N1:113 I81411


Mr. Paul Vroman
Danzas AEI
2660 20th Street
Port Huron, MI 48060


Dear Mr. Vroman:

This is in response to your letter dated April 4, 2002, on behalf of Lehigh Consumer Products, requesting a ruling on an acceptable country of origin marking for imported clamps and thimbles. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review. The question of the classification of these items was previously answered in NY I81224.

The merchandise consists of packaged steel thimbles and clamps. The thimble is made in Taiwan and the clamp is made in China. They will be packaged together on a cardboard card and sealed with heat-sealed film in the Philippines. The items are used to create loops at the end of cable or rope.

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.

As provided in section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), the country of origin marking is considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and the exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. §134.1(b)), defines "country of origin" as the country of manufacture, production or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the U.S. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other country the "country of origin" within the meaning of the marking laws and regulations. Since the items are merely packaged in the Philippines, the countries of origin remain Taiwan and China.

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 packaged thimbles and clamps 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 products by viewing the container in which it is packaged, the individual products would be excepted from marking under this provision.

With regard to the permanency of a marking, section 134.41(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(a)), provides that as a general rule marking requirements are best met by marking worked into the article at the time of manufacture. For example, it is suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be die sunk, molded in, or etched. However, section 134.44, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.44), generally provides that any marking that is sufficiently permanent so that it will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless deliberately removed is acceptable. In this case, the package may be marked “Thimbles made in Taiwan/Clamps made in China.”

In case the importer decides to include his US address on the package, 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.

Your letter also asks about the eligibility of these items for treatment under the GSP. At this time, neither China nor Taiwan is eligible for GSP.

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 James Smyth at 646-733-3018.


Robert B. Swierupski

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