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NY I88589

November 27, 2002

MAR-2 RR:NC:TA:360 I88589


Jonathan P. Brazee
13587 Quiet Hills Drive
Poway, CA 92064

RE: The country of origin marking of women's pullovers

Dear Dr. Brazee:

This is in response to your undated letter, requesting a ruling concerning country of origin marking for women's pullovers. The samples submitted with your request will be returned under separate cover.


The submitted samples are representative styles of sleeveless, pullover upper body garments you intend to import. One garment is made from openwork warp knit construction. The other two garments are of a puckered woven construction and feature either spaghetti straps or a high ruffled neck. All three garments are made from specialized fabric that creates a unique appearance. It is your contention that a sewn-in label placed in the neck midway between the shoulder seams would be awkward and would destroy the desired effect of the fabric, if not actually damage the fabric.

Based on the construction of the fabrics presented we agree that the sewing of a label in the neck would interfere or destroy the effect of the fabric. The garment made from openwork warp knit fabric is delicate and sheer. Placement of a label in the neck area would destroy the integrity of the garment. The other two garments exhibit a puckered effect created by yarns of different character and woven under different tension to create the puckered effect. Sewing a label in the nape of the neck would compromise the unique character of the fabric. In addition, placement of a label in the neck of the garment with the high ruffled neck would be cumbersome.

You would like to mark the garment in a different conspicuous location, other than by use of a sewn-in label in the neck area. Specifically, you propose to indicate the country of origin of the garment on a label sewn to the inside side seam of the garment toward the bottom. Other information such as the fiber content, company name and/or RN number and care label will be sewn in the same location which will be conspicuous to a consumer at the time of purchase.


Whether the proposed marking of the women’s pullovers satisfies the country of origin marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. §1304 and 19 C.F.R. Part 134.


Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. §1304), provides that unless excepted, every article of foreign origin 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. Congressional intent in enacting 19 U.S.C. §1304 was "that the ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of the marking on the imported goods the country of which the goods is the product. The evident purpose is to mark the goods so that at the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were produced, be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will." United States v. Friedlander & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297 at 302; C.A.D. 104 (1940).

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. §1304. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. §134.41(b), requires that the marking be conspicuous enough that an ultimate purchaser will be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. The degree of permanence of the marking should be at least sufficient to insure that in any reasonably foreseeable circumstance, the marking shall remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless it is deliberately removed. The marking must survive normal distribution and store handling.

In T.D. 54640(6), Customs ruled that shirts, blouses and sweaters must be marked by means of a fabric label sewn on the inside center of the neck midway between the shoulder seams or in that immediate area. Nevertheless, Customs has allowed some leeway for cowl neck and reversible garments that are otherwise conspicuously, permanently and legibly marked in accord with 19 U.S.C. §1304 and 19 CFR 134. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 709180, dated June 19, 1978 (a cowl neck sweater with country of origin label affixed to the waist seam allowable); HRL 731513, dated November 15, 1988 (a reversible ladies jacket with the country of origin on a paper hangtag attached to the neck area of the garment was allowed); HRL 734692, dated October 31, 1992 (reversible jackets marked with two country of origin labels, one sewn into the inside pocket and one on a hangtag attached to the zipper was acceptable); HRL 734889, dated June 2, 1993 (a sewn-in label at the neck was not mandated under 19 U.S.C. §1304 for reversible jean jackets) and HRL 561255, dated January 29, 1999 (allowed alternate marking on a front-to-back reversible garment). Marking of garments with origin labels in the side seam has also been allowed when placed one to three inches above the bottom of the garment.

As noted above, you propose to mark the garments by an origin label containing all the required information permanently affixed to the inside seam of the garment above the bottom.

We find that the proposed method of marking, a label sewn to the inside seam, is acceptable for purposes of 19 U.S.C. §1304 provided the marking is otherwise legible, conspicuous, and permanent (as discussed above).

To ensure compliance with the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (15 U.S.C. 70), which is applicable to textile products, we suggest that you contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for information regarding guidelines for the use of the proposed hangtags. Customs does not issue rulings or decisions interpreting FTC guidelines. The address of the FTC is:

Federal Trade Commission
6th and Pennsylvania, NW,
Washington, D.C. 20580


Since the imported pullovers are made from specialized fabric whose integrity would be destroyed or compromised by sewing label in the neck area as prescribed in T.D. 54640(6), the garments are not required to be marked by means of a sewn-in label affixed to the neck area. Marking the garments with an origin label permanently affixed to the inside seam of the garment above the bottom would be acceptable provided the marking is legible, conspicuous, and permanent in accordance with 19 U.S.C. §1304 and 19 C.F.R. Part 134.

The proposed marking of these garments, as described above, is conspicuously, legibly and permanently marked in satisfaction of the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 and is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported women's pullover made from specialized fabric construction.

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 Patricia Schiazzano at 212-637-7080.


Robert B. Swierupski

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