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NY L89172

January 11, 2006

MAR-2 RR:NC:TA:361 L89172


Mr. Pete Mento
Expeditors Tradewin, LLC
1015 Third Avenue, 12th Floor
Seattle, WA 98104

RE: The country of origin marking of t-shirts and tank tops to be dyed, printed and/or embroidered after importation.

Dear Mr. Mento:

This is in response to your letter of December 8, 2005, requesting a ruling concerning country of origin marking for knit t-shirts and tank tops on behalf of Gagwear, Inc., d/b/a Alternative Apparel. The submitted tank top will be returned under separate cover.


The submitted sample is a complete and finished white tank top which you described as unfinished but “Prepared for dye.” After importation, you have indicated that this garment, as well as T-shirts, will be sold in the imported condition to others who will print, dye, embroider, or perform a combination of operations on the imported garments. The submitted garment was marked with the country of origin on a textile label inserted in the side seam, approximately three inches above the bottom hem. You have asked whether this will be acceptable marking.


Whether the proposed marking satisfies the country of origin marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. §1304 and 19 C.F.R. Part 134.


Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. §1304), provides that unless excepted, every article of foreign origin 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. Congressional intent in enacting 19 U.S.C. §1304 was "that the ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of the marking on the imported goods the country of which the goods is the product. 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 at 302; C.A.D. 104 (1940).

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. §1304. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. §134.41(b), requires that the marking be conspicuous enough that an ultimate purchaser will be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. The degree of permanence of the marking should be at least sufficient to insure that in any reasonably foreseeable circumstance, the marking shall remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless it is deliberately removed. The marking must survive normal distribution and store handling.

Sec. 134.1 defines various terms, including: (d) Ultimate purchaser. The ``ultimate purchaser'' is generally the last person in the United States who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported; The following examples may be helpful: (2) If the manufacturing process is merely a minor one which leaves the identity of the imported article intact, the consumer or user of the article, who obtains the article after the processing, will be regarded as the ``ultimate purchaser.''

In T.D. 54640(6), Customs ruled that shirts, blouses and sweaters must be marked by means of a fabric label sewn on the inside center of the neck midway between the shoulder seams or in that immediate area. Customs has allowed some leeway, for reversible garments, and others for which the structure or construction of the garment would make such marking problematic. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 709180, dated June 19, 1978 (a cowl neck sweater with country of origin label affixed to the waist seam allowable); HRL 731513, dated November 15, 1988 (a reversible ladies jacket with the country of origin on a paper hangtag attached to the neck area of the garment was allowed); HRL 734692, dated October 31, 1992 (reversible jackets marked with two country of origin labels, one sewn into the inside pocket and one on a hangtag attached to the zipper was acceptable); HRL 734889, dated June 2, 1993 (a sewn-in label at the neck was not mandated under 19 U.S.C. §1304 for reversible jean jackets) and HRL 561255, dated January 29, 1999 (allowed alternate marking on a front-to-back reversible garment).

In the instant case, you have suggested marking by means of a sewn in label in the side seam, approximately three inches from the bottom of the hem. Since there is no structural reason to permit this exception from the marking requirement denoted in T.D. 54640(6), your proposed marking is not acceptable.


The proposed marking of these garments with label indicating the country of origin sewn into the side seam as described above does not satisfy the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134. Therefore, it is not an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported garments.

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 Angela DeGaetano at 646-733-3052.


Robert B. Swierupski

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