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NY K81717

February 9, 2004
MAR-2 RR:NC:TA:360 K81717


Arthur W. Bodek
Ellen A. DiLapi
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt, L.L.P. 399 Park Avenue
25th Floor
New York, NY 10022-4877

RE: The country of origin marking of a woman's woven halter-styled garment

Dear Mr. Bodek and Ms. DiLapi:

This is in response to your letter dated January 8, 2004, on behalf of Liz Claiborne, Inc., requesting a ruling concerning country of origin marking of a woman's woven halter-styled garment. The sample submitted with your request will be returned as requested.

The submitted sample, no style designation provided, is a halter-styled garment constructed from 100 % linen woven fabric. The garment features a partial front opening with four button closures and a shirt-type collar. The garment is affixed to the body around the neck by the collar and at the waist by ties that wrap at the rear of the garment. Thus, the garment provides no back area coverage with the exception of the collar and the ties.

Customs ruled in T.D. 54640(6) (July 15, 1958), that shirts, blouses, coats, sweaters and similar wearing apparel must be legibly and conspicuously marked with the name of the country of origin by means of a fabric label or label made from natural or synthetic film sewn or otherwise permanently affixed on the inside center of the neck midway between the shoulder seams or in that immediate area or otherwise permanently marked in that area in some other manner.

You point out that the width of the inside collar facing is approximately 1 ¼ inches. The length of the label containing the origin, size and fiber content information is approximately 2 inches. It is your contention that the label would protrude from under the collar and be visible over the wearer’s back when the garment is worn and uncomfortable to the wearer. A sewn-in label placed in the neck midway between the shoulder seams would be at best awkward and if small enough would not likely be conspicuous to a consumer at the time of purchase.

Your client 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, by means of a sewn-in label in the side seam of the garment approximately 1 ½ inches to 2 inches from the outer edge of the garment. The label on the submitted garment contains the country of origin information, in addition to, the size, fiber content and care linstructions. In addition, a separate paper or cardboard hangtag would be affixed in the neck area which would also set forth the country of origin. You state that the hangtag would be securely attached. A sample of the hangtag was not submitted for review.

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 to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article.

As provided in section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), the country of origin marking is considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

With regard to the permanency of a marking, section 134.41(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(a)), provides that as a general rule marking requirements are best met by marking worked into the article at the time of manufacture. For example, it is suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be die sunk, molded in, or etched. However, section 134.44, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.44), generally provides that any marking that is sufficiently permanent so that it will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless deliberately removed is acceptable. The marking must survive normal distribution and store handling.

Since halter-styled garments are backless, placement of a label as prescribed in T.D. 54640(6) is problematic. Customs has allowed alternate placement of origin labels for reversible garments and garments with different neck treatments, such as cowl necks, when they are otherwise conspicuously, permanently and legibly marked. In this case, the proposed marking of the halter-style garment described above with a hang tag in the neck area and a sewn-in label located in the side seam, is conspicuously, legibly and permanently marked in satisfaction of the marking requirements of U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 and is an acceptable country of origin marking for this halter-styled garment.

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.

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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