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NY I85324

August 20, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:WA:355 I85324


Ms. Lourdes Martelly Bathard
Paul M. Voight, CHB
P.O. Box 21601
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33335


Dear Ms. Bathard:

This is in response to your letter dated August 12, 2002, written on behalf of Francois Valet, requesting a ruling on what form of marking is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported reversible swimwear. A marked sample was submitted with your letter for review and will be returned.

In your letter you requested classification of the sample garment, as well as for other garments which you listed. We will limit our ruling to the sample item only.

You submitted a sample of a women’s two piece bikini swimsuit. The garment, made of 72 percent polyester and 28 percent lycra knit fabric, is completely reversible. You have identified the style submitted as Mali 45. You have marked the item with three different types of marking. You have sewn a label on the seam of the bikini bottom containing the country of origin. You have also have affixed an adhesive label to the garment. Finally, as a third alternative method of marking, you have attached a hangtag to the garment. You ask which type of marking is acceptable.

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.

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, it appears that the adhesive label would not, in itself, satisfy the permanence requirements of 19 CFR 134.41(b) because it is not securely affixed to the garment and might not survive normal distribution and store handling and remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser. In Headquarters ruling 732795 Customs ruled that requiring a fabric label to be sewn on a reversible tank top would require the consumer to remove the label possibly damaging the garment. The same situation applies to the swimsuit submitted here. However, the marking on the hangtag in this case is similar to the hangtag marking in Headquarters rulings 560382 and 958965. Therefore, marking the country of origin of the reversible swimsuit on the hangtag is acceptable and satisfies the permanence and conspicuousness requirements of 19 CFR 134.41(b), as long as the hangtag is legibly, conspicuously and permanently marked.

The swimsuit must also be labeled in accordance with the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (15 U.S.C. 70 through 70k) and the rules promulgated thereunder by the Federal Trade Commission. You should contact the Federal Trade Commission, Division of Enforcement. Their website is www.ftc.gov

The applicable subheading for the Mali 45 swimsuit will be 6112.41.0010, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for track suits, ski-suits and swimwear, knitted or crocheted, women’s or girls’ swimwear, of synthetic fibers, of fabric containing by weight 5 percent or more elastomeric yarn or rubber thread, women’s. The rate of duty will be 25.2 percent ad valorem.

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 Camille R. Ferraro at 646-733-3046.


Robert B. Swierupski

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