MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 735083 RSD

Mr. Peter van der Heijden
Jalema, Inc.
7397 Washington Boulevard
Elkridge, Maryland 21227

RE: Country of origin marking for office products made in the Netherlands; Holland; European Community; E.C.; "NL"; abbreviations

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 separate cover.


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. HOLDING: "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,