United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2007 NY Rulings > NY N010025 - NY N010099 > NY N010095

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
NY N010095

May 25, 2007

MAR-2 RR:NC:2:230


Rachael Goding, Esq.
International Automated Brokers, Inc.
1655 St. Andrews Cove
San Diego, CA 92154


Dear Ms. Goding:

This is in response to your letter dated March 23, 2007, which was received in our office on April 23, 2007, requesting a ruling on whether imported containers are required to be marked with their country of origin if the containers "are goods of a NAFTA country" and are only to be used as usual containers. The request was made on behalf of your client, Golden State Box Factory, LLC.

A brief brochure about your client and the imported containers was submitted. Golden State Box Factory imports empty wood boxes, primarily wine boxes, made in Mexico. Six styles of wine boxes are depicted on the brochure. Most are rectangular in shape and vary in the type of lid (hinged or sliding) and the number of bottles of wine they hold (one to six). One style is cube-shaped. The boxes are made of pine and are generally plain with no markings or finishes. In some cases, the boxes may be made to their customers’ specifications and marked with customers’ logos. The boxes are sturdy packing boxes, specially shaped to hold wine bottles. They are not commercially designed for any other use.

Golden State Box Factory sells the boxes to wine retailers in corrugated cartons, which are marked “Made in Mexico.” The wine retailers fill the boxes with bottles of wine and sell the wine packed in the boxes to consumers. Generally, the consumers would dispose of the box.

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.

The country of origin marking requirements for a "good of a NAFTA country" are also determined in accordance with Annex 311 of the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA"), as implemented by section 207 of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat 2057) (December 8, 1993) and the appropriate Customs Regulations. The Marking Rules used for determining whether a good is a good of a NAFTA country are contained in Part 102, Customs Regulations. The marking requirements of these goods are set forth in Part 134, Customs Regulations.

Section 134.1(g) of the regulations, defines a "good of a NAFTA country" as an article for which the country of origin is Canada, Mexico or the United States as determined under the NAFTA Marking Rules.

You state that the imported containers are only to be used as usual containers after importation into the U.S.

Section 134.22(d)(1) of the regulations, defines "usual containers" as follows:
a usual container means the container in which the good will ordinarily reach its ultimate purchaser. Containers which are not included in the price of the goods with which they are sold, or which impart the essential character to the whole, or which have significant uses, or lasting value independent of the contents, will generally not be regarded as usual containers. However, the fact that a container is sturdy and capable of repeated use with its contents does not preclude it from being considered a usual container so long as it is the type of container in which the contents are ordinarily sold. A usual container, may be any type of container, including one which is specially shaped or fitted to contain a specific good or set of goods such as a camera case or an eyeglass case, or packing, storage and transportation materials.

In this case, we find that the imported wooden wine boxes are "usual containers" as defined in section 134.22(d)(1) of the regulations.

The only issue remaining is whether the imported usual containers, claimed to be goods of a NAFTA country, are required to be marked with their origin if imported empty or filled.

Section 134.22(d)(2) of the regulations, provides, in part, as follows:

A good of a NAFTA country which is a usual container, whether or not disposable and whether or not imported empty or filled, is not required to be marked with its own origin. If imported empty, the importer must be able to provide satisfactory evidence to Customs at the time of importation that it will be used only as a usual container (that it is to be filled with goods after importation and that such container is of a type in which these goods ordinarily reach the ultimate purchaser.)

In this case, assuming the subject containers are, in fact, "goods of a NAFTA country" as claimed, and the conditions set forth in section 134.22(d)(2) of the regulations are satisfied. The subject containers, whether imported empty or filled, are not required to be marked with their own country of origin.

Your inquiry does not provide enough information to give a ruling on the marking of other types of wood boxes. Your request for a ruling for these boxes should include a sample of each type, a description of the contents they will be used to hold, and a description of how they will be imported and sold. When this information is available, you may wish to resubmit your ruling request for these boxes.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 181 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 181).

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 Paul Garretto at 646-733-3035.


Robert B. Swierupski

Previous Ruling Next Ruling