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HQ 562832

October 10, 2003

MAR-2-05 RR:CR:SM 562832 EAC


Mr. John M. Peterson
Ms. Maria E. Celis
Neville Peterson LLP
80 Broad Street – 34th Floor
New York, NY 10004

RE: Country of origin marking for imported dress gloves; 19 CFR 134.46; statement on product packaging referring the ultimate purchaser to inspect merchandise for country of origin information; conspicuous; close proximity; collar bands

Dear Mr. Peterson and Ms. Celis:

This is in response to your letter, dated August 12, 2003, submitted on behalf of Totes-Isotoner Corporation (“Totes-Isotoner”), in which you request a binding ruling pertaining to the marking requirements for imported dress gloves.


You state that Totes-Isotoner intends to import leather and/or textile dress gloves that are produced in China, India, and the Philippines. Prior to importation into the United States, cardboard “collar bands” will be placed around each pair of gloves. The collar bands are made of thin cardboard and are placed around the gloves in such a fashion as to hold each individual glove with its matched counterpart for sale at retail where the dress gloves may be hung from racks or, alternatively, placed in consumer-accessible display containers. You have provided our office with a sample collar band that is similar to the bands that will be sold at retail.

Prominently displayed on the front of the collar band is the brand name “Isotoner” which is located directly above the word “Leather” which is located directly above the words “Fleece Lined.” The back of the sample collar band contains additional product information that is set forth in six “sections” that are separated by a space and distinguished by subject matter. A description of the subject matter contained in each section (from the top to the bottom of the sample collar band) follows:
a brief description of the raw leather and styling techniques used to produce the dress gloves;
a product satisfaction guarantee;
a company trademark notice;
the following statement of origin:

a series of two rows of various coded numbers and letters; and,
a copyright indication, immediately followed by Totes-Isotoner’s Cincinnati, Ohio mailing address as well as Totes-Isotoner’s internet address on the World Wide Web.

Though our office did not receive a sample dress glove (or sample of the label which will be attached to the dress gloves) with the present ruling request, we have been advised that the dress gloves will contain permanently attached labels that set forth the country of origin for the gloves as China, India, or the Philippines.


Whether the country of origin marking scheme set forth above satisfies the requirements of the marking statute, 19 U.S.C. §1304.


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 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 (1940).

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and the exceptions of 19 U.S.C. §1304. Section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(b)), defines “country of origin” as the country of manufacture, production or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the United States.

The outstanding issue in this case is whether the reference on the collar bands that directs the ultimate purchaser to “see the article for country of origin” is permissible when the collar bands also contain the U.S. address of the firm that is selling the merchandise.

Under section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations, the country of origin is considered to be conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the United States is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. Potentially of concern here, however, are the requirements of a related provision of the marking regulations, section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46).

Section 134.46 requires that, in instances where the name of any city or locality in the United States, or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the name of the country or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced, appears on an imported article or its container, and those words or name may mislead or deceive the ultimate purchaser as to the actual country of origin of the article, there shall appear, legibly and permanently, in close proximity to such words, letters or name, and in at least a comparable size, the name of the country of origin preceded by "Made in," "Product of," or other words of similar meaning. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has ruled that in order to satisfy the close proximity requirement, the country of origin marking must appear on the same side(s) or surface(s) in which the name of the locality other than the country of origin appears. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (“HRL”) 708994, dated April 24, 1978.

The requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 are designed to alleviate the possibility of misleading an ultimate purchaser with regard to the country of origin of an imported article, if such article or its container includes language which may suggest a U.S. origin (or other foreign locality not the correct country of origin). As applied, the requirements of section 134.46 are triggered in this case because the “Cincinnati, Ohio” address located on the collar bands could potentially deceive or mislead the ultimate purchaser of the dress gloves as to the country of origin of the items.

However, CBP has previously held that, in certain circumstances, a statement placed upon a product’s packaging that directs the ultimate purchaser to “see the article for country of origin” may satisfy the requirements of section 134.46. For example, in HRL 559753, dated August 8, 1996, shower poufs were imported into the United States from abroad, packaged with body wash products of U.S. origin, and sold within body wash kits at retail. As it was evident that the poufs were not substantially transformed as a result of being merely repackaged with the items of U.S. origin, a label was attached to each pouf that clearly indicated the country of origin of the pouf. The body wash kit containers contained the U.S. address of the firm that distributed the kits as well as the statement “Poufs are Imported and Individually Marked” in comparable print size and upon the same panel as the U.S. address. Noting that the placement of the U.S. address on the body wash kit containers triggered the provisions of section 134.46, we held that the marking “Poufs are Imported and Individually Marked” satisfied the applicable marking requirements because the individual poufs were conspicuously and individually marked with their proper country of origin and such mark was discoverable by the ultimate purchaser upon a casual examination of the article.

However, in HRL 562285, dated April 29, 2002, CBP determined that a statement located on a product’s package that directed the ultimate purchaser to examine the individual article for country of origin information did not satisfy the requirements of 19 U.S.C. §1304. In HRL 562285, underwear was manufactured in various foreign countries and subsequently packaged (in either the United States or abroad) into polyurethane packages that contained a flip-top opening at one end. Each garment was individually marked with its country of origin and the polyurethane packages were marked with the indication “See Garment for Country of Origin.” Prior to being inserted into the polyurethane bags, the garments were folded around a piece of cardboard. Thereafter, a second, outer piece of cardboard was wrapped around the garments. Printed on the outer piece of cardboard was garment information such as the brand, style, fabric content, care instructions, and product guarantee. The outer piece of cardboard also contained the U.S. address of the company that sold the merchandise, thereby triggering the special marking requirements of section 134.46. As packaged, the U.S. address on the cardboard insert was approximately one inch from the origin reference located on the polyurethane bag. Based upon the facts of this case, we held that, even though the underwear was contained within a package with a flip-top opening, the packaging scheme was such that the underwear was “not packaged in such a way to make it easy or feasible to take apart the packaging in order to view the country of origin prior to purchase.” Therefore, it was determined that the proposed marking scheme did not satisfy the requirements of 19 U.S.C. §1304.

In consideration of the cited cases, it is our opinion that marking the collar bands with the indication “See Product Label for Fabric Content and Country of Origin” is acceptable, assuming that the individual dress gloves are properly marked with their country of origin. In making this determination, we note that the proposed marking is in close proximity, on the same side, and in comparable print size to the U.S. address that is also located on the collar band. Furthermore, the proposed marking refers the ultimate purchaser to a conspicuous location on the gloves where the country of origin can be easily located upon a casual examination of the article.

With respect to the proper country of origin marking requirements for the actual gloves, we direct your attention to T.D. 75-222, dated September 4, 1975, where we held that imported gloves must be marked with their country of origin by means of an ink stamp or label permanently sewn or glued near the hem or cuff of the glove in reasonable proximity to the size marking.


Based upon the facts of this case, we find that marking the dress glove collar bands with the statement “See Product Label for Fabric Content and Country of Origin” is acceptable assuming that the actual dress gloves are properly marked with their country of origin pursuant to T.D. 75-222.

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


Myles B. Harmon, Director

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