May 4, 1990
MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 732679 EAB
Fred Goris Supervisor, International Distribution & Customs Compliance Fisher-Price 636 Girard Avenue East Aurora, NY 14052-1885
Re: Country of origin marking of retail packages containing foreign and domestic articles
Dear Mr. Goris:
This is in reply to your letters dated August 22, 1989 and January 23, 1990, in which you request a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements of cartons of toy sets that contain both domestic and foreign articles.
Your company markets various toy sets which are sometimes composed of products with more than one country of origin. Due to production shifts, mold placement and other unspecified con- siderations, a given piece of the toy set may be made in Mexico one time, and made in the U.S. another time, but at all times, the set contains numerous foreign and domestic pieces which are identical but for their origin. You contend that all of the articles made in Mexico will be individually marked with their correct country of origin when produced. We will assume that the marking meets all of the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134. You wish to use the phrase "Contents from USA and Mexico" on the retail package.
What are the country of origin marking requirements of a retail package containing numerous domestic and foreign articles that are identical and properly marked with their respective country of origin?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C.
1304), provides that every article of foreign origin (or its con- tainer) 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 indi- cate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article. The primary purpose of the country of origin statute 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 the product, if such marking should influence his will." United States v.
Friedlaender & Co., 27 CCPA 297 (1940); National Juice Products Association v. United States, 10 CIT 48 (1986).
Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134) implements the statutory country of origin marking requirements and exceptions. Pursuant to 19 CFR 134.26(a), if an article subject to these requirements is intended to be repacked in retail containers after its release from Customs custody, the importer shall certify to the district director that, if the importer does the repacking, he shall not obscure or conceal the country of origin marking appearing on the article, or else the new container shall be marked to indicate the country of origin of the article.
Since you intend to repack the Mexican made components with domestic components, Customs is of the opinion that the retail container must be marked with the country of origin of the for- eign toys.
The marking that you propose, "Contents from USA and Mexico," is not specific enough since it does not identify which articles are of foreign origin as required by 19 U.S.C. 1304. We suggest that the following marking on the retail cartons would be more specific: "Contents from USA and Mexico. See Marking on Each Article Inside."
Since 19 U.S.C. 1304, administered by Customs, involves the country of origin marking requirements only of articles of for- eign origin, and any marking also would refer to the origin of domestic articles, we have contacted the Federal Trade Commission to ascertain whether this marking, i.e. "Contents from USA and Mexico. See Marking on Each Article Inside," meets FTC require- ments. While the staff of the FTC does not find such marking objectionable, you are hereby advised that the views expressed in this regard reflect only the opinion of the staff of FTC and are not considered binding upon the Commission; further, this letter
has not been reviewed or approved by either the Federal Trade Commission or any individual Commissioner.
If a foreign article is repacked in retail containers after its release from Customs custody, the importer must certify to the district director that, if the importer does the repacking, he shall not obscure or conceal the country of origin marking appearing on the foreign article, or else the new container shall be marked to indicate the country of origin of the article. If a foreign article is repacked with domestic articles, the retail package must be marked to indicate the country of origin of the foreign article. The marking on the retail toy container may indicate that the contents are from the U.S.A. and the foreign country of origin if the toys are individually marked with their foreign origin and the marking of the container indicates this to the ultimate purchaser.
The marking the retail package as suggested herein to indicate the origin of domestic articles also contained therein is not considered binding upon the Federal Trade Commission.
This letter has not been reviewed or approved by the Commission or by any individual Commissioner.
Marvin M. Amernick, Chief Value, Special Programs and Admissibility Branch