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NY I83102

June 20, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:N1:113 I83102


Ms. Jessica T. DePinto
Hodes, Keating & Pilon
39 South La Salle Street, Suite 1020
Chicago, IL 60603


Dear Ms. DePinto:

This is in response to your letter dated June 13, 2002, on behalf of Fiskars Brands, Inc., requesting a ruling on whether the proposed method of marking containers in which cutlery is imported with the country of origin in lieu of marking the article itself is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported cutlery. Marked representational samples were submitted with your letter for review. The final country of origin has not been determined.

You provided three samples. The first sample is the Kitchen Devils “Synergy” Cook’s Knife, item 302005. This knife is 11 cm long. It is packaged in a triangular, plastic, display sleeve that covers the blade and extends out to 18 cm. The back of the sleeve contains consumer information, including the US address of Fiskars and the words “Made in China” closely underneath.

The second sample is a pair of scissors, known as game shears. According to your letter, you intend to import the scissors on a cardboard information sheet in blister pack. The country of origin marking will be printed on the back of the sheet. The marking will appear in close proximity to Fiskars’ US address.

The third sample is the Kitchen Devil Knife Block Set, item 302663. The set contains five kitchen knives, comprising bread, carving, cook’s, vegetable and paring knives. It is packaged in a retail box that has been imprinted with consumer information. Next to the barcode is Fiskars’ US address, and the words “Made in China” printed closely underneath.

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 or scissors is the consumer who purchases the product at retail.

Special marking requirements for knives, scissors, et al., are set forth at 19 C.F.R. §134.43(a), which require them to be marked by means of die stamping, cast-in-mold lettering, etching, engraving, or by affixing metal plates to the article. However, these requirements have been construed to be subject to the general exception from individual country of origin marking provided at 19 U.S.C. §1304(a)(3)(D) -- if the marking of the container will reasonably indicate its country of origin. 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 the individual items would be excepted from marking under this provision.

Knives and scissors 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 items are imported and sold to the ultimate purchaser in lieu of marking the articles themselves is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported items provided the port director is satisfied that under all circumstances they will be packaged after importation as described above and that the article will remain in the marked container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser. At his discretion, the district director may require the importer to give assurances satisfactory to him of these facts.

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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