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NY L89072

December 19, 2005

MAR-2 RR:NC:SP:234 L89072


Mr. Gordon C. Anderson
C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
8855 Columbine Road, Suite 400
Eden Prairie, MN 55347-4148


Dear Mr. Anderson:

This is in response to your letter dated November 28, 2005, submitted on behalf of Americhip Inc. (Torrance, CA), requesting a ruling on the acceptability of proposed country of origin marking for certain direct-mail advertisements to be imported from China. A mock-up sample bearing two alternative origin labels was submitted with your letter for our review.

The sample is a printed, multilayered paper advertisement that encourages the recipient to enroll in a beverage maker’s e-mail registry, which is said to offer opportunities to obtain “members-only” merchandise, discounts and the like. The sample advertisement is packed in a clear, 5½” x 7¾” plastic bag. Glued to one side of the bag is a mailing label preprinted with the name and address of a specific consumer, i.e., the advertisement’s intended recipient. This label also bears the beverage maker’s return address and U.S. postage indicia. Glued near one corner of the bag’s opposite side is a small label that reads “Printed in China.” An adjacent, alternative label, placed there for our secondary consideration, reads simply, “China.” The paper advertisement itself is not marked to indicate its Chinese origin.

You state that the advertisements will be imported in their own individual pre-labeled plastic bags, as represented by the sample, and will be mailed in that condition directly to U.S. consumers. For the purposes of this ruling, it is assumed that the individual bags containing the advertisements will be imported in sealed condition, and that all labels will be securely affixed so that they will reach the individual consumers/recipients.

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. By enacting 19 U.S.C. 1304, Congress intended to ensure that the ultimate purchaser would know the country of origin of the goods by inspecting the marking on the imported goods. The evident purpose is to mark the goods so that at the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were produced, be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will. United States v. Friedlander & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297, 302 C.A.D. 104 (1940).

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 advertisement is the individual consumer/recipient who receives it in the mail.

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. Accordingly, if Customs is satisfied that the article will remain in its container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser and if the ultimate purchaser can tell the country of origin of the article by viewing the container in which it is packaged, the individual article itself would be excepted from marking under this provision.

In light of prior Customs decisions involving similar circumstances (e.g., HQ 732659, dated January 26, 1990), we find that in this case the “Printed in China” label on the reverse side of the sealed plastic bag adequately informs the ultimate purchaser of the country of origin of the contents. The phrase “Printed in ____,” which is traditionally used to denote the origin of printed matter, leaves little doubt as to its meaning. On the other hand, we find that the proposed alternative label (“China”) on the bag would be unacceptable because it is somewhat ambiguous, and would not clearly convey the origin of the printed matter contained within.

Thus, the advertisements which are imported in individual sealed containers that are marked “Printed in China” in the manner described above, are excepted from marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a)(3)(D) and 19 CFR 134.32(d). Accordingly, marking the sealed bags in which the advertisements are imported and mailed to the ultimate purchasers in lieu of marking the articles themselves is acceptable country of origin marking provided the port director is satisfied that the articles will remain in their marked containers until they reach the ultimate purchasers (recipients).

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 Carl Abramowitz at 646-733-3037.


Robert B. Swierupski

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