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NY M80914

March 28, 2006

MAR-2 RR:NC:N2:221 M80914


Ms. Debra J. Conner
Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, Inc.
5401 Oswego Street, Suite A
Denver, CO 80239


Dear Ms. Conner:

This is in response to your letter dated February 27, 2006, on behalf of C-Holders, requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements for imported coin display cases. A sample was submitted with your letter for review.

The sample is a thin case made of clear molded plastics, measuring approximately 5 5/8 inches by 3 7/16 inches by 5/16 inch. Inside the case is a plastic insert with five holes sized to fit quarters. Some inserts are printed with a state name below each hole and an identification of the collection (e.g., 2005 Denver Set, 2005 Gold Set). After importation the case will be fitted with five coins, e.g., state quarters produced from a particular mint in a given year. The samples are not marked with the country of origin.

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. Section 134.1(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(d)), defines "ultimate purchaser" as "generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported."

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.

You ask if the cases can be excepted from country of origin marking requirements since they will be used to package coins for sale to consumers. In order to determine whether the cases are excepted from the country of origin marking requirements, it is first necessary to establish whether the cases are disposable or reusable containers and to ascertain the identity of the ultimate purchaser of the cases within the meaning of 19 U.S.C.1304.

Disposable containers are defined as the usual ordinary type of containers or holders which are ordinarily discarded after the contents have been consumed (e.g. cans, bottles, paper bags, etc.). See section 134.24(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.24(a)). The person or firm who fills such containers is considered to be the ultimate purchaser and the containers are excepted from individual marking pursuant to 19 U.S.C.1304 (a)(3)(D). Only the outside wrappings or packages for these containers need be marked to indicate the country of origin. See section 134.24(c), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.24(c)).

However, containers that are designed for or capable of reuse after the contents have been consumed or which give the whole importation its essential character must be individually marked to indicate the country of their own origin. See section 134.23, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.23. In determining whether particular containers are reusable or disposable, Customs has considered both the construction of the container and its function.

The display cases are not flimsy and are not of a type discarded by the consumer. They have a substantial construction and serve an important function in protecting and displaying the coins. The case retains its separate identity and function even after its combination with the coins. Accordingly, the ultimate purchaser of the coin case is the person who purchases the coin set. Thus, the coin cases are separate articles of commerce that must be individually marked with their own country of origin.

Section 134.14, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.14), requires that the country of origin marking of imported articles that are combined with other articles after importation but before delivery to an ultimate purchaser clearly show that the origin indicated is that of the imported article only and not that of any article with which the imported article may be combined. The marking should include, in addition to the name of the country of origin, words or symbols clearly showing that the origin indicated is that of the display case and not of the coins that may be sold or combined with it. This requirement would be satisfied by a marking such as "Case made in 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 Joan Mazzola at 646-733-3023.


Robert B. Swierupski

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