MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 735083 RSD
Mr. Peter van der Heijden
7397 Washington Boulevard
Elkridge, Maryland 21227
RE: Country of origin marking for office products made in the
Netherlands; Holland; European Community; E.C.; "NL";
Dear Mr. van der Heijden:
This is in response to your letter dated February 8, 1993,
addressed to the U.S. Customs Service office at the New York
Seaport, forwarded to Customs headquarters, requesting a ruling
on the country of origin of files, accessories, and
stationary/brochures. You also requested a ruling on the
classification of this merchandise, which will be answered in a
Jalema Inc. intends to import files, accessories and
stationary/brochures, which are made in the Netherlands. You
inquire if these imported products can be marked as follows:
"made in Netherlands", "made in European Community", "Holland",
"NL", or "E.C."
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C.
1304), requires that every article of foreign origin imported
into the U.S., unless excepted, shall be marked in a conspicuous
place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the
article will permit in such manner as to indicate to an 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. As provided in section 134.41(b), Customs
Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), the country of origin marking is
considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is
able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.
The primary purpose of the country of origin marking 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 them, if such marking should influence
his will." United States v. Friedlaender & Co., 27 CCPA 297, 302
C.A.D. 104 (1940). The "ultimate purchaser" is defined generally
as the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in
the form in which it was imported.
19 CFR 134.45(a) requires that the marking shall include the
English name of the country origin unless other marking to
indicate the English name of the country of origin is
specifically authorized by the Commissioner of Customs. The
regulation in the next subsection authorizes the use of
abbreviations which unmistakably indicate the country of origin.
19 CFR 134.45(b). Customs has recognized either "Netherlands" or
"Holland" to be an acceptable country of origin marking. We find
that "NL" is not an acceptable abbreviation for the Netherlands
because it does not unmistakably indicate the country of origin
to the ultimate purchaser.
Similarly, marking your products with European Community or
"E.C." would not be acceptable marking under 19 U.S.C. 1304
because it does not designate a proper country of origin. 19 CFR
134.1(a) indicates that the term "Country" means the political
entity known as a nation. European Community is a organization
of sovereign states, operating largely as a customs union not a
nation state. Until such time as the EC might achieve full
political union, and its member countries divest themselves of
independent status as states, the names "EC" and "European
Community" cannot be used as country names for marking purposes.
See HQ 734667, June 16, 1993. Accordingly, the products you
intend to import must be marked either "Netherlands" or "Holland"
to indicate to the ultimate purchaser their country of origin.
"NL" is not an acceptable abbreviation for the Netherlands.
"EC" and "European Community" are not acceptable country names
for country of origin marking purposes under 19 U.S.C. 1304;
however, "Holland" or "Netherlands" are.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division
cc: National Import Specialist Division,