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NY K83965

April 8, 2004

MAR-2 RR:NC:3:350 K83965


John Ricketts
Customs Affairs Manager (Dept. 629)
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
1144 East Market Street
Akron, OH 44316


Dear Mr. Ricketts:

This is in response to your letter dated March 4, 2004, requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking "See belt for country of origin" is an acceptable country of origin marking for imported automotive and industrial belts. A marked sample was submitted with your letter for review. The samples have been retained for training purposes.

Your letter indicates that all the belts to be imported are individually marked with the country of origin at the time of manufacture. You state some of the belts will be imported in bulk with no individual packaging, and some will be packaged with attached tags or in cardboard sleeves or boxes. No samples of the attached tags or boxes were submitted, so this letter will only address the marking on the cardboard sleeves that were submitted.

You submitted one V-Belt packaged in a cardboard sleeve and six unassembled cardboard sleeves. The V-Belt is marked with the country of origin in English and Spanish, in white lettering on the black belt. The cardboard sleeves contain one of the following statements: “See belt for country of origin”, “See product for country of origin”, or “The country of manufacture is indicated on the belt”. In addition, the cardboard sleeves contain either the name of a belt manufacturer (i.e. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company) or the name and U.S. address of a belt manufacturer/distributor. In all the samples submitted, the statement “See belt for country of origin”, or words to similar effect, appear in close proximity and in lettering of comparable size to the manufacturers name and /or address.

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 requirements of 19 CFR 134.46 are triggered by the non-origin geographic reference to the U.S. that will appear on the cardboard sleeves. As provided by that section, in any case in which a reference to the U.S. or any geographic location other than the country of origin appears on an imported article or its container, the name of the actual country of origin must appear, in close proximity and in lettering of comparable size, preceded by “Made in”, “Product of”, or other similar words.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has previously held that, under certain circumstances, a statement placed on a product’s unsealed retail packaging (i.e. cardboard sleeve) that directs the ultimate purchaser to inspect the actual article for country of origin information may satisfy the applicable marking regulations even if the packaging also contains the U.S. address of a domestic company. In each case the imported item was marked with the country of origin. The retail packaging made it feasible to view the country of origin prior to purchase. In addition, the marking “See product for country of origin” appeared in close proximity and comparable size print to the U.S. address also appearing on the retail packaging.

Your proposed marking of imported automotive and industrial belts, as described above, is conspicuously, legibly and permanently marked in satisfaction of the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 and is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported automotive and industrial belts.

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 Deborah Walsh at (646) 733-3044.


Robert B. Swierupski

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