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NY N017153

October 4, 2007

MAR-2 OT:RR:E:NC:2:224


Mr. Carl Rogers
Ebonite International, Inc.
P.O. Box 746
1813 W 7th Street
Hopkinsville, KY 42240


Dear Mr. Rogers:

This is in response to your letter dated September 14, 2007, requesting a ruling on whether the proposed method of marking the container in which the bowling ball is imported with the country of origin, in lieu of marking the article itself, is an acceptable country of origin marking for the imported bowling ball. A marked sample container was not submitted with your letter for review.

Ebonite International, Inc. proposes to import bowling balls in their marked retail boxes that are, in turn, packed in master cartons also marked with the country of origin. The balls will be packaged in individual boxes and sold in this manner to the ultimate purchasers, and you ask if the bowling balls themselves can be excepted from marking to indicate the country of origin under 19 U.S.C. 1304(a)(3)(d) if the individual containers are marked to indicate China as 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.

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

After giving this matter careful consideration, this office has concluded that each individual bowling ball must be marked to indicate the country of origin, even though the balls may be imported into the United States in individual boxes. It is possible that the bowling balls may be removed from their boxes either inadvertently or deliberately prior to sale to the ultimate purchasers. For instance, bowling balls are typically displayed for sale in pro-shops on racks, without their boxes. Marking of the bowling ball itself will assure that the identity of the country of origin will be known to the ultimate purchaser. Accordingly an exception under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a) (d) is not appropriate in this case.

Bowling balls which are imported in containers that are marked in the manner described above, are not excepted from marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304 (a)(3)(D) and 19 CFR 134.32(d).

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 Wayne Kessler at 646-733-3025.


Robert B. Swierupski

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