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NY L86355

August 10, 2005

MAR-2 RR:NC:3:341 L86355


Ms. Laura Thellman
Customs Compliance Officer
516 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001


Dear Ms. Thellman:

This is in response to your letter dated July 19, 2005 requesting a ruling on acceptable country of origin marking for style 6860, a leather wallet product of China. A sample was submitted with your letter for review. The sample will be returned as requested.

Style 6860 is a lady’s wallet of leather that measures approximately 5” x 4.25” when closed. The exterior cover is of top grain calfskin leather. The interior left and right sides are each fitted with four credit card slots and two vertical slots for other forms of identification, photos or similar flat items. The billfold portion has a center divider that creates two sections for various denominations of currency. One exterior side has a pouch with snap flap similar to a coin purse. The interior bottom left side is embossed in metallic print with the trade name “Coach” in an embossed frame like design.

The submitted sample contains a fabric label inserted within the rear-most billfold and temporarily adhered to the stitched seam by tape. The fabric label is of dark colored woven fabric that is embroidered with a contrasting color yarn, which reads “Made in Italy”. You have indicated in a telephone conversation with this office that the submitted sample is for example only and that the final will read “Made in China.” The lettering is approximately 5 points high (a point is equal to approximately 0.01388 “). In addition, there is a small printed booklet inserted into an interior credit card slot. The booklet contains literature reflecting on the U.S. A. origin of the Coach products and its quality. The literature is in the form of a biography entitled “An American Classic.” The literature utilizes reference to the geographical location “Manhattan” and the phrase “American style.” The last two pages contain care instructions and the addresses and telephone numbers of the Coach U.S.A. corporate and customer services offices.

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. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 19 CFR 134.31 states: “ As a general rule, marking requirements are best met by marking worked into the article at the time of manufacture”. 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 individual articles may vary due to the subjective nature of each item.

As provided in 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.

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.

In order to satisfy the close proximity requirement, the country of origin marking must generally appear on the same side(s) or surface(s) in which the name or locality other than the actual country of origin appears.

The marking of items such as style 6860 can easily be accomplished during the manufacturing process wherein the exterior leather cover and interior body are joined and finished with the edging. The fabric label can be easily affixed during the same assembly process as shown in the attached examples identified as location #1 and #2. In this instant the label can be sewn into the side edge parallel with the top edge of the interior body. Please note that the label is placed under the edging and in the upper location facing the consumer when the bill compartment is opened. A sewn-in label bearing print equal in size and contrasting as now presented will satisfy the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134.

We believe it is very likely that the ultimate purchaser would read the brochure during an examination of the wallet at the point of sale. Therefore, the use of domestic geographic locations may tend to mislead or deceive an ultimate purchaser as to the actual origin of the article. The non-origin geographical reference triggers the special marking requirements of 19 CFR 134.46. Either the non-origin geographical locations, as described above, should be removed or the origin of the article should be placed on the same page in comparable sized lettering preceded by “Made in” or “Handcrafted in” or words of similar meaning.

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 Kevin Gorman at 646-733-3041.


Robert B. Swierupski

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