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NY N010250

June 1, 2007

MAR-2 RR:NC:2:234


Mr. Bjorn Sigurdsson
PAK 2000, Inc.
189 Governor Wentworth Hwy.
Mirror Lake, NH 03853


Dear Mr. Sigurdsson:

This is in response to your letter dated April 20, 2007 requesting a ruling on whether certain shopping bags must be marked with the country of origin. An unmarked representative sample bag was submitted.

The sample bag is made of red-colored heavy paper, the exterior surface of which is embossed with a pattern and coated with a plastic film. In addition, your customer’s logo (Salvatore Ferragamo) is hot-stamped using a contrasting white film in the center of both exterior sides of the bag. The bag has two handles made of braided polypropylene. A rectangular liner of paperboard reinforces the bottom of the bag. The bag folds flat and, when opened, measures approximately 39 cm (long) x 30 cm (high) x 17 cm (wide or deep). The sample bag is the standard, second largest, size of an assortment of six different sizes. Other sizes range from 21.5 cm x 16 cm x 12 cm (“mini”) to 78 cm x 74 cm x 30 cm (“luggage”). The bags are identified as shopping bags in the bag specifications attachment.

You state that your company will import the shopping bags initially from Indonesia and then later in 2008 from China. The bags will be delivered to your customer, Ferragamo, a high-end retail store, who gives the bags at no charge to their retail purchasers when they purchase Ferragamo goods.

You believe that the bags should be exempt from the country of origin marking requirement. You reference two previous rulings, NY B87730 of July 24, 1997 and HQ 732986 of August 7, 1990, which you believe are of similar merchandise with apparently different conclusions.

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 134.1(d), Customs Regulations (CR), 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 sold at retail in its imported form, the purchaser at retail is the ultimate purchaser. If an imported article is distributed as a gift, the recipient is the ultimate purchaser.

In this case the imported articles are shopping bags. Bags, in general, may be considered to be containers or holders. 19 CFR Part 134 Subpart C covers the marking requirements and exceptions for containers or holders. An exemption from individual marking may be applicable for containers or holders not designed for or capable of reuse. Section 134.24(a), CR, describes the types of containers that are exempted from individual marking as those that are usual and ordinary containers which are discarded after use. Other containers (those that are usual and ordinary and designed for reuse, and also those that are treated as imported articles on their own merit) are required to be individually marked with their own country of origin. (Section 134.23(a), CR, and Section 134.22(b), CR.)

We find that the subject Ferragamo bags are sturdy large shopping bags capable of reuse and similar to the class or kind of bags that are sold separately as shopping bags to consumers. They are not usual, ordinary, disposable bags used by retailers to pack merchandise. Hence, they are not the type of containers that are exempt from individual marking.

In addition, the bags are not exempted from individual marking pursuant to Section 134.33, CR, J-List, as you suggested. The J-List includes jute bags, but does not include bags made of other materials.

The subject bags are similar to the “Tommy Hilfiger” shopping bags, described in ruling NY B87730. They are not similar to the small 6” x 5” x 2” gift bags described in HQ 732986.

The ultimate purchasers of the Ferragamo shopping bags are the consumers who receive the bags free-of charge along with purchases of high-end merchandise.

Accordingly, in order to satisfy the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134, the subject shopping bags must be individually marked with their own country of origin. A marking such as “Bag made in Indonesia” would be appropriate to clearly indicate the origin of the bags separately from the origin of any merchandise that may be placed in them.

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 Paul Garretto at 646-733-3035.


Robert B. Swierupski

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