MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 733729 NL
Mr. Hank Dorrity, Managing Director
Asean Pacific Packers Pte. Ltd.
Tanglin P.O. Box 12
RE: Country of Origin Marking for Flavored Teas; Clearly
Indicate Country of Origin; "Grown In"; Words of Similar
Meaning to "Product Of"; 19 CFR 134.46
Dear Mr. Dorrity:
This is in response to your letter of August 15, 1990,
requesting a ruling concerning the country of origin marking for
a gift package of tea grown and flavored in Sri Lanka but
packaged in Singapore.
The article in question is a gift package consisting of five
0.88 ounce tins of flavored tea. Each tin is labeled with its
flavor (mango, guava, banana, passion fruit, or pineapple), and
on the back bears the legend "Specially Packed by Asean Pacific
Packers in Singapore from teas grown and flavoured in Sri Lanka."
We take this statement to represent the facts concerning the
origin of the tinned teas. The package for the five tins bears
the legend "Specially packed by Asean Pacific Packers...in
Singapore...from teas grown in Sri Lanka/ Product of Singapore"
Your letter indicates that all the packaging materials (tins,
window boxes, and corrugated trays) are made in Singapore.
Approval is sought for the markings of country of origin on
the tins and gift package.
What is the required country of origin marking for the
packaged flavored teas?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C.
1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign
origin 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
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.
As defined in 19 CFR 134.1(b), an imported article's country
of origin for purposes of 19 U.S.C. 1304 is the country of
manufacture, production, or growth. Further work or material
added to an article in another country must effect a substantial
transformation in order to render such other country the country
of origin. id. A substantial transformation is said to have
occurred when, as a result of processing, an article emerges
having a different name, character, or use.
In this case, Sri Lanka, where the teas were grown and
processed by the addition of flavorings, is the country of
origin. The packaging in Singapore is not deemed to be a
substantial transformation, as it results in no change in the
name, character, or use of the imported teas.
Consequently, the indication on each individual tin that the
teas are "packed in Singapore...from teas grown and flavoured in
Sri Lanka" is an acceptable marking of origin. However, the
marking on the gift package, "From teas grown in Sri
Lanka/Product of Singapore" does not comply with the country of
origin marking requirements. Even though "grown in" is an
acceptable indication of origin (referring to Sri Lanka), the
term "product of" (referring to packing in Singapore) is reserved
under 19 CFR Part 134 for designations of origin, and as stated
above, the country of origin of the teas is Sri Lanka. Thus,
this marking fails to clearly indicate the tea's country of
origin to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. as required under
19 U.S.C. 1304. To comply with the marking requirements the word
"product of" must be removed in reference to Singapore.
Moreover, if the name "Singapore" remains on the article, the
words "Made in" or "Product of" or words of similar meaning must
appear in reference to the name Sri Lanka to clearly indicate the
country of origin of the teas. See 19 CFR 134.46. Here, it is
our opinion that the words "grown in" constitute words of similar
In the alternative, if the importer wishes to indicate that
the tins and gift packaging (but not the teas) are products of
Singapore, it would be acceptable to state, "packaging product of
Singapore", or words to similar effect. It is noted, however,
that the tins and packaging materials, unlike the tea, is not
required to be marked, as it is disposable packaging within the
meaning of 19 CFR Part 134.
The country of origin of the teas is Sri Lanka, and the
packaging must so indicate. The designation "Product of
Singapore" is unacceptable, in that it designates inaccurately
the country of origin of the teas. It would be acceptable to
identify the tins and packaging as products of Singapore,
provided such designation is clearly separate from the indication
that the teas originate in Sri Lanka.
Marvin M. Amernick, Chief
Value, Special Programs
and Admissiblility Branch