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NY K81076

December 3, 2003
MAR-2 RR:NC:N1:113 K81076


Mr. William J. Maloney
Rode & Qualey
55 West 39th Street
New York, NY 10018


Dear Mr. Maloney:

This is in response to your letter dated November 7, 2003, on behalf of Mirro, a division of Newell Rubbermaid, requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking "Made in Mexico" is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported cookware sets if another marking "USA" appears on one of the articles in the set. A marked sample was submitted with your letter for review.

The merchandise consists of Mirro cookware sets, item nos. 12271 and 12272. The sets contain five aluminum pans with phenolic handles, vented boil-over lids and two glass covers that can also serve as bowls. The aluminum bodies of the pans and the boil-over lids will be manufactured in Mexico from non-Nafta aluminum sheet. The handles are of Chinese origin and will be assembled to the pan bodies in Mexico. The glass covers are made in the US and will be shipped to Mexico to be retail packaged with the other components. The US covers are individually marked with the letters “USA.”

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 the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article. Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134) implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

The country of origin marking requirements for a "good of a NAFTA country" are also determined in accordance with Annex 311 of the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA"), as implemented by section 207 of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat 2057) (December 8, 1993) and the appropriate Customs Regulations. The Marking Rules used for determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country are contained in Part 102, Customs Regulations. The marking requirements of these goods are set forth in Part 134, Customs Regulations.

Section 134.45(a)(2) of the regulations, provides that "a good of a NAFTA country may be marked with the name of the country of origin in English, French or Spanish. Section 134.1(g) of the regulations, defines a "good of a NAFTA country" as an article for which the country of origin is Canada, Mexico or the United States as determined under the NAFTA Marking Rules. Under these rules, the country of origin of the set has been determined to be Mexico. The set should be marked “Made in Mexico.”

Section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46), deals with cases in which the words "United States," or "American," the letters "U.S.A.," any variation of such words or letters, or the name of any city or locality in the United States, or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the country or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced, appears on an imported article or its container, and those words, letters or names may mislead or deceive the ultimate purchaser as to the actual country of origin. In such a case, 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.

In order to satisfy the close proximity requirement, the country of origin marking must generally appear on the same side(s) or surface(s) in which the name or locality other than the actual country of origin appears.

However, in HQ 561594 of June 25, 2002, which mentioned HQ 559211, Headquarters found that such references would not trigger the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 when the outermost container has been properly marked and the references could not be seen until the outermost container had been opened by the ultimate consumer since they would not be deceiving. Cookware that is imported in containers that are marked in the manner described above, is excepted from marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a)(3)(D) and 19 CFR 134.32(d). Accordingly, marking the container in which the cookware is imported and sold to the ultimate purchaser in lieu of marking the article itself is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported cookware provided the Customs officer at the port is satisfied that the article will remain in the marked container under all circumstances until it reaches the ultimate purchaser.

In your letter, you suggest that the container be marked “Pans made in Mexico, glass bowls made in USA.” None of the exceptions to marking authorize an article of foreign origin to be marked as a product of the United States. Further, whether an article may be marked with the phrase "Made in the USA" or similar words denoting U.S. origin, is an issue under the authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). We suggest that you contact the FTC Division of Enforcement, 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20508 on the propriety of proposed markings indicating that an article is made in the U.S.

The applicable tariff provision for the imported cookware sets will be 7615.19.3025, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for table, kitchen or other household articles and parts thereof, of aluminum . . . cooking and kitchenware, enameled or glazed or containing non-stick interior finishes, other, other. The general rate of duty will be 3.1 percent ad valorem.

Each of the non-originating materials used to make the cookware has satisfied the changes in tariff classification required under HTSUSA General Note 12(t)/76.7. The cookware will be entitled to a free rate of duty under the NAFTA upon compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and agreements.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 181 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 181).

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 James Smyth at 646-733-3018.


Robert B. Swierupski

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