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NY K88369

August 27, 2004

MAR-2 RR:NC:SP:221 K88369


TARIFF NO: 3924.10.4000

Ms. Darlene D. Jones
Schenker, Inc.
192 Ballard Court, Suite 200
Virginia Beach, VA 23462


Dear Ms. Jones:

This is in response to your letter dated July 26, 2004, on behalf of Rubbermaid, Inc., requesting a ruling on classification and country of origin marking for imported plastic mugs. A sample was submitted with your letter for review.

The product is identified as a “Travel Sure Micro Mug,” SKU 19/FG7E4700YBAB. It is a lidded container with a capacity of 1.5 pints. The main component is a large mug with a handle. The top lid has an additional lidded opening at its center that acts as a vent to allow for escape of hot air when liquids are heated in the microwave. The sample is being returned as you requested.

The applicable subheading for the plastic lidded mug will be 3924.10.4000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for tableware, kitchenware, other household articles and toilet articles, of plastics: tableware and kitchenware: other. The rate of duty will be 3.4 percent ad valorem.

The mug is not marked with the country of origin. You state, “The soup bowl will be imported as a finished good, assembled but not boxed for retail sale.” It will be packaged for sale in the United States. You have submitted the artwork for the box in which it will be packaged. The box is marked, “Distributed by Rubbermaid Foodservice Products, Huntersville, NC, U.S.A. 28078-1801.” Printed next to that marking are the words “Assembled in U.S.A. from components made in China.” You have also indicated that the mug may be sold as part of an assortment of kitchen bowls, lids and tumblers identified as “On the Go Set,” SKU 24/FG7E7200ASTDA. You did not submit a sample or illustration depicting the proposed marking of the kitchenware set.

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.

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.

The lidded mug itself is not legally marked with the country of origin. An article is excepted from marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a)(3)(D) and section 134.32(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(d)), if the marking of a container of such article will reasonably indicate the origin of such article. However, since the mugs are not imported in their marked retail container, whether the subject articles are excepted from individual marking under 19 CFR 134.32(d) is for the port director to decide. In this regard section 134.34, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.34), provides that an exception may be authorized at the discretion of the port director under 19 CFR 134.32(d) for imported articles which are to be repacked after release from Customs custody under the following conditions: (1) The containers in which the articles are repacked will indicate the origin of the articles to an ultimate purchaser in the U.S.; (2) The importer arranges for supervision of the marking of the containers by Customs officers at the importer's expense or secures such verification, as may be necessary, by certification and the submission of a sample or otherwise, of the marking prior to the liquidation of the entry.

In this case, if the port director at the port of entry is satisfied that the imported mugs will be repacked into retail packages that indicate the origin of the mugs and that the other conditions set forth in 19 CFR 134.34 are met, the port director may authorize an exception under 19 CFR 134.32(d), in which case marking of the imported mugs will not be required.

However, the proposed marking on the box indicating “Assembled in U.S.A. from components made in China” is not legal marking. The mugs are manufactured in China. Placing the mugs into retail boxes, or grouping the mugs with other kitchen articles into retail boxes, is a packaging operation, and is not an assembly or manufacturing operation. The proposed marking as described above is not legal marking in satisfaction of the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134.

China must be shown as the country of origin of the mugs. Since the boxes show a domestic address, the words “Made in China,” “Manufactured in China,” or words to similar effect must appear in close proximity and in comparable size lettering to the domestic address.

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 Joan Mazzola at 646-733-3023.


Robert B. Swierupski

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