Ms. Judith L. Haggin
Geo. S. Bush & Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 8829
Portland, Oregon 97208-8829
RE: COUNTRY OF ORIGIN MARKING OF IMPORTED PAPER FROM THAILAND.
Dear Ms. Haggin:
In your letter dated April 29, 1996, on behalf of your client, Reinke and Associates (Salem, OR), you requested a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements for certain handmade paper to be imported from Thailand. An unmarked sample was submitted for our review.
The sample is a multicolored, rectangular sheet of paper measuring about 63 x 92 cm. Your client proposes to import such sheets in bulk, without individual markings, but with the outermost containers marked with the country of origin. Your client would then act as a distributor, selling the paper to both wholesalers and retailers. A common customer would be art supply stores, which would sell the paper by the sheet (without individual wrapping) to end users.
You explain that "the paper is very fragile and would be caused damage by stickers when the ultimate purchaser tries to remove them for their use." For that reason, you request that the sheets be excepted from individual marking requirements.
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 134.32(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(b)), sets forth one of the general exceptions to marking requirements: articles that cannot be marked prior to shipment to the United States without injury.
After examination of the sample, and careful consideration of the facts of this case, we find that an exception to individual marking may be granted under 19 CFR 134.32(b).
However, since the paper will not be imported in marked retail containers destined to reach ultimate purchasers, you also propose to file repackaging statements with the Customs entries, and send notice of marking requirements to subsequent purchasers or repackers. In conjunction with this, you also seek permission to instruct the retail stores to mark the bins (in which the papers will be displayed) rather than the papers themselves.
Under 19 CFR 134.34, arrangements similar to those you propose may be authorized, under certain conditions, in the discretion of the port director. It is therefore suggested that you contact the port director at the location where the entries will be filed, so that mutually agreeable procedures may be worked out.
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 Carl Abramowitz, at (212) 466-5733.
Roger J. Silvestri