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NY I82091

June 6, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:N1:113 I82091


Ms. Lynn King
Tupperware Worldwide
14901 S. Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, FL 32837


Dear Ms. King:

This is in response to your letter dated May 30, 2002. requesting a ruling on whether the proposed method of marking the container in which the knives are imported with the country of origin in lieu of marking the article itself is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported knives. Two marked sample containers were submitted with your letter for review.

The merchandise includes two kitchen knives. The first sample is the “E-Series Paring Knife.” The second sample is the “ChefSeries Forged Chef Knife.” Both knives are packaged in retail boxes, with pictures of the knives on the outside of the box and other consumer information. The knives will be sold by direct sales.

The paring knife is marked with the words “Made in China” etched on its blade. The outside of the box also has the words “Made in China.” The chef’s knife is not marked on the blade. The outside of its box has the words “Made in China” on the side. The bottom of the box has two foreign references: “Imported by Tupperware Belgium ” and “Tupperware France SA.”

Your letter asks if Tupperware may import the knives with only the individual boxes marked with the country of origin.

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 knives is the consumer who purchases the product at retail.

Section 134.43 requires that certain types of articles be marked in a specified manner. Knives are specifically identified in this regulatory provision as articles that must be marked legibly and conspicuously by die stamping, cast-in-the-mold lettering, etching, or engraving. Although knives are subject to the special marking requirements of section 134.43, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. §134.43), Customs has previously ruled that such articles may be excepted from individual marking if the marking of their containers will satisfy the requirements of 19 C.F.R. §134.32(d). Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 733301, dated August 8, 1990, and HRL 732437, dated October 4, 1989. If the containers are sold without normally being opened by the ultimate purchaser in accordance with 19 C.F.R. §134.24(d)(2), the containers shall be marked to indicate the country of origin of their contents.

Therefore, under certain circumstances, it may only be necessary to mark the individual boxes. 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. In this case, the marking of the box of the chef’s knife would not be acceptable, unless the marking is changed to comply with the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46. Because of the length of the box, we recommend that the marking be positioned under or next to the foreign references.

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 each knife by viewing the container in which it is packaged, the individual knife would be excepted from marking under this provision.

Knives that are imported in containers that are marked in the manner described above, are excepted from marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a)(3)(D) and 19 CFR 134.32(d). Accordingly, marking the container in which the knives are imported and sold to the ultimate purchaser in lieu of marking the article itself is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported knives provided the port director is satisfied that the article will remain in the marked container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser.

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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