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NY K85861

May 28, 2004

MAR-2 RR:NC:MM:114 K85861


Ms. Jann Futrell
The I.C.E. Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 610583
Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, Texas 75261-0583


Dear Ms. Futrell:

This is in response to your letter dated May 3, 2004, on behalf of Rhythm Band Instruments, requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking of a tenor recorder. You ask whether the country of origin marking meets the requirements of Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930 as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304). A sample was submitted with your letter for review and is being returned to you as requested.

The tenor recorder is a musical instrument. It consists of three sections that have to be assembled together by the user. The three sections are the head, the middle and the foot sections. The middle section is marked with the country of origin, “Japan”, in raised lettering approximately 1/8 of an inch in height. The lettering is in the same color as the recorder. The marking requires extremely close examination to locate it and to read it.

The carrying case for the recorder has a paper card inserted in a clear pouch for the purchaser of the instrument to write their name upon. The card has the word “Japan” printed on it in black ink in the lower right hand corner. The print is approximately 1/16 of an inch in height.

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 of the country of origin on the recorder is referred to as “blind” marking in that it does not contrast with its background. The marking is not conspicuous and does not satisfy the marking requirements. The marking on the paper label in the clear pouch on the carrying case does not satisfy the marking requirements because it does not relate to the marking of the instrument. It appears that the paper label was made in Japan.

The marking of the tenor recorder does not satisfy the country of origin marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR 134.41 (b).

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 Barbara Kiefer at 646-733-3019.


Robert B. Swierupski

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