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NY I86886

October 24, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:1:117 I86886


Mr. Sebastian Frey
Empire State Building
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 7815
New York, NY 10118


Dear Mr. Frey:

This is in response to your letter dated September 12, 2002 requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking "A.R.E." is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported steel rebars from Egypt. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review.

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.

Steel concrete reinforcement bars must be individually marked with the name of the country of origin.

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.

With regard to approved markings of country name, section 134.45(b), Customs Regulations [19 C.F.R. §134.45(b)], provides that abbreviations which unmistakably indicate the name of the country, such as “Gt. Britain” for “Great Britain” are acceptable. Variant spellings which clearly indicate the English name of the country of origin, such as “Brasil” for “Brazil” are acceptable.

The primary purpose of the country of origin marking statute is to mark the goods so that at the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may know where the goods were produced. Customs has been very stringent in approving the use of abbreviations to ensure that an abbreviation unmistakably indicates the country of origin to an ultimate purchaser of a product. The fact that an abbreviation is the official abbreviation for a country is not enough; it must unmistakably identify the country of origin to the ultimate purchaser. Customs has denied many requests for abbreviations where it felt that the abbreviation was not widely enough known in the U.S. for consumers to recognize the country of origin. In Headquarters Ruling letter (HRL) 561083, 11/5/98, the abbreviation “UAE” for United Arab Emirates was denied; in HRL 560978, 7/24/98, the abbreviations “G”, “D” and “Ger” were denied for Germany; in HRL 735083, 8/5/93, the abbreviation “NL” was denied for the Netherlands; HRL 7344487, 5/7/92, denied “CSFR” as an acceptable abbreviation for Czech Slovak Federal Republic; HRL 731799, 5/15/89, denied “V”, “VZLA” and “VENZLA” as acceptable abbreviations for Venezuela.

We similarly believe that the abbreviation “A.R.E.” does not unmistakably indicate the country of origin, Egypt, to 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 Paula Ilardi at 646-733-3020.


Robert B. Swierupski

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