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NY K86903

July 9, 2004

MAR-2 RR:NC:TAB:354 K86903


Ms. Maribeth Vanderford
Fruit of the Loom
P. O. Box 90015
Bowling Green, KY 42102-9015


Dear Ms. Vanderford:

This is in response to your letter dated June 3, 2004, on behalf of Union Underwear Company, Inc. dba Fruit of the Loom (UUC) requesting a ruling on whether the proposed marking satisfies the marking requirements. Samples were submitted with your letter for review.

Your submitted samples consist of six men’s cotton briefs packaged in an unsealed transparent polyethylene bag. Three of the briefs have inner waistband labels containing the words “MADE IN EL SALVADOR OF USA FABRIC.” The other three briefs have inner waistband labels containing the words “MADE IN HONDURAS OF USA FABRIC.” The labels also contain a trade name, RN number, size, fiber content and washing instructions. A second sample is a transparent polyethylene bag. The back of the bag has bar coded sticker on which MADE IN HONDURAS is vertically printed. In close proximity to the sticker the bag is printed with the words "100% Cotton © 2001 Fruit of the Loom, Inc. P.O. Box 90015, Bowling Green, KY 42102-9015.

You have asked if goods of varying origins may be mixed in the same polyethylene bag that is an ”unsealed container.” The answer is yes. You also inquire whether the following statements printed on the bar coded sticker affixed to the back of the bag satisfy country of origin marking under 19 CFR § 134.

1. “Imported articles. See garment for country of origin” or

2. “Made in Honduras/El Salvador”

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.

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. Section 134.1(d), defines the ultimate purchaser as generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. If an imported article is to be sold at retail in its imported form, the purchaser at retail is the ultimate purchaser. In this case, the ultimate purchaser of the imported briefs is the consumer who purchases the product at retail.

The marking requirements for unsealed disposable containers of imported merchandise are set forth in section 134.24(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.24(d)). This section provides that "if the container is normally opened by the ultimate purchaser prior to purchase, only the article need be marked."

The imported six-pack of briefs is not the type of article that a prospective purchaser would take out of its container to examine prior to purchase, and therefore the unsealed disposable containers are not excepted from marking under 19 CFR 134.24(d) because the labeling on the briefs is not clearly visible without unpacking them.

The two statements you propose are not acceptable for country of origin marking purposes for the bag. However a sticker placed in the same location with the horizontal wording
satisfies the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134 and is an acceptable country of origin marking for the unsealed container.

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 Brian Burtnik at 646-733-3054.


Robert B. Swierupski

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