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HQ 563170

January 27, 2005

MAR-2 RR:CR:SM 563170 KSG

Harvey Isaacs, Esq.
Tompkins & Davidson, LLP
One Astor Place
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036

RE: Country of origin marking for imported wallets

Dear Mr. Isaacs:

This is in response to your letter dated December 17, 2004, on behalf of Coach Services, Inc., requesting a binding ruling regarding the country of origin marking requirements for certain imported wallets. Samples were submitted with your request.


This case involves various styles of imported Coach wallets (including the “french purse style”) that are being entered into a foreign trade zone in the port of Jacksonville, Florida. All the samples contain one or more pockets for the storage of coins, credit cards and paper currency in the billfold area. You submitted five samples of wallets that are marked with the country of origin on a cloth label that will be sewn into the side seam of the billfold no more than one half inch below the top edge of the billfold, with no other information on the label.

The size of the print on the sample labels is 1/16 of an inch and the print is in black print on a white background or in gold print on a black background. The size of the sample labels range from ½ to ¾ inches long by ½ inches high.


Whether the proposed marking in the billfold area on the imported wallets satisfies the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304.


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), provides that the degree of permanence of marking should be at least sufficient to insure that in any reasonably foreseeable circumstance, the marking shall remain on the article (or its container) until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless it is deliberately removed. The marking must survive normal distribution and store handling. The ultimate purchaser must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter 732810, dated January 26, 1990, Customs held that women’s handbags marked with a cloth label sewn into the side seam were not conspicuously marked because the label was sewn in a location deep inside the handbag where it could not be easily seen when the handbag was opened. Customs noted that the label must be conspicuously located so that the ultimate purchaser could find it easily.

Based on the samples presented and the proposed description of the sewn-in cloth labels, we note that the wallets contain several pockets. Some of the samples have two billfolds, an outer and an inner one. We are concerned that while an ultimate purchase would examine the wallet prior to purchase, if there are two billfolds and the label is sewn into the inner one, it could be placed too deep inside the wallet for it to be conspicuous.

Further, based on our examination of the samples, we conclude that a label that is ½ inch long is not conspicuous and could be difficult for an ultimate purchaser to find, especially if the print is located more towards the sewn seam of the wallet. Therefore, we find that as long as the label is sewn into the billfold no more than ½ inch from the top edge of the wallet, is at least ¾ inches long, the print size is no smaller than the samples provided and in a contrasting color from the background, the requirement of 19 U.S.C. 1304 will be satisfied.


Based on the samples and information provided, marking the imported wallets, with a label sewn into the billfold area no more than ½ inch from the top edge of the wallet, at least ¾ inches long and with print size no smaller than the samples provided (1/16 of an inch) and in a contrasting color from the background, satisfies the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


Myles B. Harmon
Director, Commercial Rulings Division

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