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NY I83104

June 21, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:N1:113 I83104


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 the container in which the knife is imported with the country of origin in lieu of marking the article itself is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported knife. A marked sample container was submitted with your letter for review.

The sample you provided is the Fiskars Series Brüssel Chef’s Knife. The knife is made of stainless steel and is 21 cm. long. The knife is packaged in an unsealed, disposable vinyl sleeve. The knife itself is unmarked. It is tied to a cardboard insert with the words “Made in China” printed on the bottom in letters ¼-inch tall. On the back of the cardboard is Fiskars’ US address, and the words “Made in China” printed closely underneath. The marking is clearly visible through the clear vinyl.

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 knife is the consumer who purchases the product at retail.

Special marking requirements for knives, 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 knife would be excepted from marking under this provision.

Knives which 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 knife 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 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 port 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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