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NY R00172

April 6, 2004
MAR-2 RR:NC:3:353 R00172


Mr. Robert Charles Rauh
Cap America
PO Box 229
! Cap America Drive
Fredericktown, MO 63645


Dear Mr. Rauh:

This is in response to your letter dated March 9, 2004 requesting a ruling on “the text for the country of origin label” to be put in a finished baseball cap. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review.

Baseball cap parts will be imported from China. The baseball cap parts consist of:

The outside crown (woven 100% cotton fabric) The inside crown (lining)
A roll of fabric to make a sweatband
The peak (visor)

The outer crown, lining, peak and sweatband will be sewn together in the USA and the front of the cap will be embroidered. You request a ruling on the text for the country of origin label to be put in the finished product.

Please note that when imported, the outside crown is considered to be an unfinished baseball cap classified under subheading 6505.90.2060. Therefore, the assembly operation in the United States does not change the identity of the item, and its country of origin remains China.

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 134.41(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. 19 CFR 134.1(d)(1) states that if an imported article will be used in manufacture, the manufacturer may be the ultimate purchaser if he subjects the imported article to a process which results in a substantial transformation of the article. The case of U.S. v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., Inc., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (C.A.D. 98) (1940), provides that an article used in manufacture which results in an article having a name, character or use differing from that of the constituent article will be considered substantially transformed and that the manufacturer or processor will be considered the ultimate purchaser of the constituent materials. In such circumstances, the imported article is excepted from marking and only the outermost container is required to be marked. See, 19 CFR 134.35. In this instance the item is not substantially transformed subsequent to importation and the exception of Section 134.(d)(1), does not apply.

Under Section 134.32(g), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(g)), articles to be processed in the U.S. by the importer or for his account other than for the purpose of concealing the origin of the articles and in such manner that any mark contemplated by this part would necessarily be obliterated, destroyed, or permanently concealed are excepted from marking. You have provided no information to indicate that this is the case and the exception of Section 143.32(g) does not apply.

However, Pursuant to 19 CFR 134.34, a marking exception under 19 CFR 134.32(d) may be authorized in the discretion of the district director for imported articles which are 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 United States.

(2) The importer arranges for supervision of the marking of the containers by Custom 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.

Although the above provision sets forth the procedures to be followed when unmarked imported articles are to be repacked into marked containers after importation, these procedures are also appropriate in other circumstances, i.e. where articles cannot be marked prior to importation due to practical problems. If the importer can demonstrate to Customs that there are significant practical problems involved in affixing the country of origin label prior to the U.S. processing, the procedures set forth in 19 CFR 134.34 could be utilized; subject to approval by the district director, to allow the importer to affix the country of origin label to the finished baseball caps after importation. In such case, the containers in which the baseball cap parts are imported and received by Cap America should be marked “China.”

The baseball caps parts must be marked at the time of importation with the country of origin unless there are practical problems where the articles cannot be marked prior to importation. If this is the case, subject to the approval of the district director, the procedures set forth in 19 CFR 134.34 could be utilized. Insofar as the wording for the country of origin marking, acceptable markings for the finished baseball cap are “China”, “Made in China”, “Manufactured in China”, or “Product of China.”

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 Kenneth Reidlinger at 646-733-3053.


Robert B. Swierupski

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