United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2003 HQ Rulings > HQ 562721 - HQ 964609 > HQ 562730

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 562730

August 5, 2003

MAR-02 RR:CR:SM 562730 DCC


Mr. Reinhard Seipp
TCI Group
50 Davids Drive
Hauppauge, New York 11788

RE: Country of origin marking for optical sporting equipment; use of “Czech Made” allowed; Treasury Decision 93-17

Dear Mr. Seipp:

This is in response to your undated letter, received on April 10, 2003, requesting a ruling regarding the country of origin marking of optical sporting goods imported by TCI New York, Inc. (“TCI”) and produced by Meopta Prerov, a.s. (“Meopta”) in the Czech Republic.


Meopta manufactures optical sporting equipment, including spotting scopes and binoculars, in the Czech Republic. You request an advisory ruling to allow the country of origin marking “Czech Made” instead of “Made in the Czech Republic.” You explain that because of limited space for printing the country of origin marking on products, the shorter marking would be more legible.


Whether “Czech Made” is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported goods from the Czech Republic.

Law and Analysis:

Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. § 1304), provides that unless excepted, every article of foreign origin imported into the United States 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 United States the English name of the article’s country of origin.

Part 134 of the Code of Federal Regulations (19 C.F.R. § 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. § 1304. Section 134.45(b) provides that abbreviations of country names “which unmistakably indicate the name of a country . . . are acceptable. Variant spellings which clearly indicate the English name of the country of origin such as ‘Brasil’ for ‘Brazil’ and ‘Italie’ for ‘Italy,’ are acceptable.”

Furthermore, section 134.45(c) allows for the use of the adjectival form of a country provided that the term does not appear with other words so as to refer to a kind of product. For example, the term “Swiss cheese” is not acceptable as a country of origin marking because the country name describes a type of cheese rather than the country of origin.

In American Burtonizing Co. v. United States, 13 Ct. Cust. Appls 652 (1926), the Court of Customs Appeals held that the purpose of the country of origin marking law:
was to require a marking such as would be understood by purchasers of foreign-made goods as giving definite and reliable information as to the country of origin. It is not reasonable to suppose that Congress, by use of the word ‘indicate’ meant only that words used should hint at the country of origin. The object sought to be obtained by the legislature could best be obtained by an indication which was clear, plain, and unambiguous and which did more than merely hint at the country of origin. We do not think that Congress intended that American purchasers, consumers, or users of foreign-made goods should be required to speculate, investigate or interpret in order that they might ascertain the country of origin.

The court then ruled that the French word “Aisne” was not an acceptable country of origin marking.

Previously, in Headquarters Ruling Letter (“HRL”) 735099, dated September 20, 1993, Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) considered the acceptability of the term “Czech” for Customs marking purposes. Noting that Czech is not accepted by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, HRL 735099 held that Czech, when used alone, is not an acceptable short form for the Czech Republic. Accordingly, CBP required the imported merchandise to be marked “Czech Republic,” “Czech Republik,” or “Czech Rep.” In addition, HRL 735099 cited T.D. 93-17 that states that the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic are the successor states to the former Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, or Czechoslovakia, for country of origin marking purposes.

Unlike HRL 735099, you request a ruling regarding the acceptability of “Czech Made,” that is, the use of the adjective Czech to describe merchandise from the Czech Republic. According to 19 C.F.R. § 134.45(c), an importer may use the adjectival form of a country’s name for marking purposes provided it does not appear with other words that may refer to a type of product. In HRL 559253, dated October 5, 1995, either the marking “Tachometer Made in Switzerland,” or the use of the adjectival form of marking “Swiss Made” were found to be appropriate. Similarly, because “Czech” is used as an adjective to describe the place of origin, we find that “Czech Made” is acceptable for country of origin marking purposes.


In accordance with 19 C.F.R. § 134.45(c), the term “Czech Made” is an acceptable country of origin marking for products produced in the Czech Republic.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling