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NY M85656





August 14, 2006

MAR-2 RR:NC:N1:121 M85656

CATEGORY: MARKING

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

RE: COUNTRY OF ORIGIN MARKING OF IMPORTED HARDWARE AND A LOCK

Dear Mr. Anderson:

This is in response to your letter dated July 31, 2006, on behalf of Andersen Windows, Inc. You are requesting a ruling on whether the proposed method of marking the container with the country of origin in lieu of marking the article itself is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported merchandise. Marked sample containers were submitted with your letter for review.

The first sample, called a “Bright Brass Hand Lift,” (Stock #1643043), is a base metal fitting used to open or close a window. The second sample, called a “Bronze Covington Keyed Lock,” (Stock 2573099), is a base metal lock designed for a patio door. The third sample, called a “Bronze Estate Hardware Pack,” (Stock #1300081), is a base metal kit designed to open and close a casement and awning venting window. These items will be packaged individually in retail boxes that will be marked with the country of origin and will be purchased separately at retail by the ultimate consumer.

The fourth sample, called a “Metro Handle,” (Stock # 1561362), is a crank handle used for opening and closing a window. The fifth sample, called a “Hardware Pack Metro Style,” (Stock #1361539), is a hardware kit designed to open, close and secure a casement and awning venting window. These items will be packaged individually in sealed, clear, plastic bags that will be marked with the country of origin and will be purchased separately at retail by the ultimate consumer.

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.

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 hardware is the consumer who purchases the product at retail.

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 hardware by viewing the container in which it is packaged, the individual hardware would be excepted from marking under this provision.

The hand lift, keyed lock and metro handle and hardware packs, which are imported in containers that are marked 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 container in which these items are imported and sold to the ultimate purchaser in lieu of marking the article itself is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported hardware, provided the port director is satisfied that the article will remain in the marked container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser.

You state in your letter that the Metro Handles may be repackaged after importation. The importer may repack the Metro Handle and its marked plastic bag into a brown paperboard box when sold to the ultimate purchaser. You question whether the proposed marking of the plastic bag satisfies the marking requirements if the article is placed in an unmarked disposable container prior to retail sale. You have not supplied sufficient information for us to determine whether the manner of marking described above satisfies the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134. Please supply the following information: the reason for repacking the item after importation; a sample of the item in its retail packaging; whether the retail package will be sealed; whether the container is normally opened by the ultimate purchaser prior to purchase.

Your letter indicates the plastic bag containing the Hardware Pack Metro Style will indicate the following: “Copyright© Andersen® Corporation, Bayport, MN. 1998.” 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 or surface in which the name or locality other than the actual country of origin appears.

You also inquire whether the words “Portugal,” “Mexico,” “China,” or “PRC” marked on the package satisfies the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134. As long as no other country, city, locality, etc. is indicated on the packaging, the name of the country of origin alone is sufficient. We note, however, that for country of origin marking purposes, the abbreviation “PRC” is not acceptable for articles imported from the People’s Republic of China. Also note that Mexico is a NAFTA country, and as such the country of origin is determined according to the NAFTA marking rules (19 CFR 134.1(b)).

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 Barbara Kaiser at 646-733-3024.

Sincerely,

Robert B. Swierupski
Director,

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