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NY I86114

September 30, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:N1:113 I86114


Mr. Warren E. Coe
Access Business Group LLC
7575 East Fulton Road
Ada, Michigan 49355


Dear Mr. Coe:

This is in response to your letter dated August 29, 2002, requesting a ruling on whether it is acceptable to mark the container in which imported steamers are repackaged in the U.S. with the country of origin in lieu of marking the article itself when no other markings appear on the article itself. A marked sample container was not submitted with your letter for review.

The merchandise is a stainless steel steamer, made in China. It will be imported into the United States to be repackaged with other cookware items to form a 21-piece cookware set. The other pieces will presumably be made in the United States.

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 set is the consumer who purchases the product at retail.

In this case, the steamers are not substantially transformed in the U.S. by placing them in a box with other items during the repackaging operation in the U.S. The steamers are completely finished articles when imported; there is no manufacturing performed; the repackaging operation is not complex, requires no skill and is not time consuming. Therefore, the steamer must be marked “Made in China.”

However, 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. However, since the steamers are not imported in their marked retail container, whether the subject articles are excepted from individual marking under 19 CFR 134.32(d) is for the port director to decide. In this regard section 134.34, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.34), provides that an exception may be authorized in the discretion of the port director under 19 CFR 134.32(d) for imported articles which are to be repacked after release from Customs custody under the following conditions: (1) The containers in which the articles are repacked will indicate the origin of the articles to an ultimate purchaser in the U.S.; (2) The importer arranges for supervision of the marking of the containers by Customs officers at the importer's expense or secures such verification, as may be necessary, by certification and the submission of a sample or otherwise, of the marking prior to the liquidation of the entry. In this case, the container may be marked “Steamer made in China.”

In this case, assuming that the port director is satisfied that the imported steamers will be repacked in the manner described above, and that the other conditions set forth in 19 CFR 134.34 are met, the port director may authorize an exception under 19 CFR 134.32(d), in which case marking of the imported steamers will not be required.

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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