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NY N003769

December 4, 2006

MAR-2-64:RR:SP:247: N003769


Ms. Joni Ann Newton euroWellness GmbH
10346 Nicklaus Drive
New Port Richey, FL 34655

RE: Marking of Footwear

Dear Ms. Newton:

In your e-ruling request dated November 28, 2006, you requested a tariff classification ruling concerning the method of country of origin marking of footwear.

You state that you are currently importing women’s deep cork footbed sandals from China. They have leather uppers, suede sock liners and EVA soles. Most of the upper materials are imported from Italy or Spain and have very expensive crystals or jewels attached to the shoes. Currently you are permanently stamping the country of origin into the lining of the upper. Your customers feel that this takes away from the presentation and look of the shoe. You are requesting a ruling concerning whether or not a laminated hang tag with the country of origin information looped onto the upper and requiring physical removal with a scissor is an acceptable alternative method of marking. You have not provided a sample of the footwear nor the proposed hang tag. You have supplied photos of both the current marking and perspective hang tags.

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 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. Friedlaender & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297 at 302 (1940). C.A.D. 104 (1940).

HQ 562866 dated December 8, 2003 addresses the use of hang tags as an alternative method of marking imported footwear with the country of origin. In that ruling, CBP found that because the hang tag could not be removed except by deliberately breaking the plastic tie, the hang tag was sufficiently permanent to insure that the ultimate purchaser will be able to determine the country of origin. However, in order to ensure that the marking is conspicuous, the country of origin must appear on each shoe in a pair.

Additionally, Section 134.46 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46) provides that in any case where the words “U.S.,” “American,” or any variation of such words or letters, or the name of any city or locality in the U.S., or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the country or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced, appear on any imported article or its container, there shall appear, legibly and permanently, in close proximity to such words, letters or name, and at least in a comparable size, the name of the country of origin preceded by “Made in,” “Product of,” or other words of similar meaning.

The photographs you have provided of the proposed hang tags have “Italian Leather” printed in bold type and “Made in China” printed in a smaller non-bold type. In this regard, it is the opinion of this office that the proposed hang tags do not satisfy the requirements of 19 CFR 134.46. Therefore, footwear imported with only the proposed hang tag to identify the country of origin will not meet the country of origin marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 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, Richard Foley at 646-733-3042.


Robert B. Swierupski

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