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HQ 562866

December 8, 2003

MAR-02 RR:CR:SM 562866 DCC


Mr. Robert Streifer
GG Mechanica
12656 E. Jamison Place #12
Englewood, WO 80112

RE: Country of origin marking for imported footwear; hang tag

Dear Mr. Streifer:

This is in response to your letter, dated September 17, 2003, requesting a ruling regarding the country of origin marking for safety shoes imported by your company, GG Mechanica and manufactured by the Beta Utensili Company (“Beta”) in Milano, Italy. You provided a copy of the hang tag and plastic tie.


Beta manufactures safety shoes in Italy. At the time of manufacture, Beta attaches a double-sided hang tag to the right shoe of each pair of shoes. The hang tag measures 2¾ inches by 2¾ inches and the word “Italy” is printed on one side of the tag. The word Italy measures 7/16 of an inch long by 1/8 of an inch high. The hang tag is made of laminated card stock and is attached to an eyelet of the shoe by a plastic tie. You claim that the proposed hang tag satisfies the applicable country of origin marking requirements.


Whether the use of hang tags on imported footwear is acceptable for country of origin marking purposes.

Law and Analysis:

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 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. 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, 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. Friedlaender & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297, C.A.D. 104 (1940).

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. Pursuant to section 134.41, the country of origin marking must be legible, indelible, and permanent. Although the section does not prescribe particular methods of marking, the section notes that the marking requirements are best satisfied when the “marking [is] worked into the article at the time of manufacture.” 19 C.F.R. § 134.41(a). In addition the regulations require that country of origin markings be sufficiently permanent to ensure that under any reasonably foreseeable circumstance, the marking will remain on the good until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless it is deliberately removed. Finally, the article must be marked in such a way as to ensure that the ultimate purchaser can find the marking easily and read it without difficulty. 19 C.F.R. § 134.41(b).

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (“HRL”) 561582, dated February 29, 2000, Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) noted that the country of origin marking should appear in a location where the ultimate purchaser would expect to find it or in a location where the ultimate purchaser would be able to notice it from a casual inspection of the merchandise. However, the country of origin marking does not have to appear in the most conspicuous location on the article. See HRL 734098, dated July 5, 1991 (finding vertically imprinted country of origin marking on sewn-in label easy to find and read and therefore acceptable under 19 C.F.R. § 134.41).

In New York (“NY”) 862494, dated May 8, 1991, CBP reviewed the acceptability of stickers and hang tags for country of origin marking purposes on imported slippers made of reversed sheepskin. After noting that a stamp on the inside wool surface of the slipper would be illegible, CBP determined that either a hang tag or a sticker would be acceptable provided it was sufficiently conspicuous, legible and permanent.

CBP has also addressed the acceptability of hang tags when used in conjunction with other country of origin markings. For example, in HRL 735440, dated April 21, 1994, CBP reviewed the country of origin marking on imported sandals. In that case, the country of origin marking, which was printed on the sewn-in label, was only visible when a velcro strap that secured the sandal was open. In order to make the country of origin more apparent to the ultimate purchaser, the importer proposed to attach a hang tag to the sandals that would also indicate the country of origin. CBP determined in regard to the facts of that case that the country of origin marking requirements were satisfied by placing the country of origin on both the sewn-in label and the hang tag.

In HRL 560596, dated October 20, 1997, CBP considered the use of hang tags to indicate the country or origin for imported shoes. In that case, the imported shoes included a trademark that referenced a location other than the country of origin. CBP held that a country of origin marking on a hang tag was acceptable when used in combination with country of origin sewn-in labels on the tongue of the shoes as well as a country of origin marking on the shoe box to satisfy the conspicuousness requirement of 19 C.F.R. § 134.47.

In addition, when marking footwear, the country of origin must be marked on both shoes in a pair in order to ensure the marking is conspicuous. See NY F84770, dated March 31, 2000; NY D80525, dated August 18, 1998; and HRL 731065, dated April 1, 1988.

In this case, you propose to use a hang tag on one shoe in each pair to indicate the country of origin of the imported shoes. Because the hang tag cannot be removed except by deliberately breaking the plastic tie, we believe the hang tag is sufficiently permanent to ensure that the ultimate purchaser will be able to determine the country of origin. However, in order to ensure that the marking is conspicuous, the country of origin marking must appear on each shoe in the pair. Therefore, the proposed use of one hang tag for each pair of shoes to indicate the country of origin is unacceptable under 19 C.F.R. § Part 134. However, the requirement that the marking be conspicuous would be satisfied if you attached to each shoe a hang tag indicating the country of origin.


The proposed use of a hang tag to indicate the country of origin of the imported shoes will satisfy the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. § 1304 and 19 C.F.R. § Part 134, if a tag is attached to each shoe in the pair.

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

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