MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:S 735466 RC

District Director
P.O. Box 9516
El Paso, Texas 79985

RE: Internal Advice Request No. 103/93; Country of Origin Marking of Appliances; 19 CFR 134.32(d); 19 CFR 134.46; Conspicuous; Container Marking

Dear sir:

This is in response to your memorandum of November 30, 1993, forwarding a request for internal advice from Mr. Jacquez, on behalf of Hamilton Beach/Proctor Silex, Inc., concerning the country of origin marking requirements for appliance packaging. His letter was forwarded to us by the National Import Specialist in New York without samples. Per our request, the importer submitted sample packages on July 27, 1994.


Hamilton Beach/Proctor-Silex, Inc., imports various small appliances. They are made or assembled in Mexico for sale in the U.S. You have submitted sample retail packaging for three appliances: a Proctor-Silex iron, popcorn "pumper", and coffeemaker. The submitted packaging samples are marked "Made in Mexico" on the bottom panels and on two side panels where references to U.S. locales (domestic addresses) appear. The iron box is slightly smaller than a shoe box, the "pumper" box is about the size of a shoe box, and the coffeemaker box is about double the size of a shoe box (less easy to handle). All of the country of origin markings appear in lettering of approximately 9 points or more. (A point is a unit of type measurement equal to 0.01384 inch or nearly 1/72 inch, and all type sizes are multiples of this unit.) The appliances are sold to large, major retail chains and displayed on shelves without the containers.


1) Whether the country of origin marking is conspicuous.

2) Whether the requirements of section 134.46, Customs Regulations, are satisfied.

3) Whether the retail container may be excepted from marking because a marked appliance will be on display.


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 will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin. Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR part 134) implements the regulations of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

The "ultimate purchaser" is generally defined, in section 134.1(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.1(d)), as the last person in the United States who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported.

Section 134.41(b) states that a marking should be at least sufficiently permanent to insure that, in any reasonably foreseeable circumstance, the marking shall remain on the article or its container until it reaches the ultimate purchaser. The ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

A conspicuous marking has various characteristics, two of which are (1) visibility; that is, it must be readily apparent, and (2) legibility; that is, it must be readable without strain. Another quality of a conspicuous marking is format; that is, the ultimate purchaser must be able to readily ascertain where the goods were produced.

We find that the facts in the instant case are directly on point with the facts we ruled upon in HQ 734648 (July 14, 1992). As we stated in that case, Customs generally does not consider a marking appearing on the bottom of a container to be in a conspicuous location. Merely marking the bottom in the instant case would be insufficient. However, since two sides of each box are also marked "Made in Mexico," the ultimate purchaser can readily ascertain the country of origin. Regarding the submitted samples, one notes that all the "Made in Mexico" markings are permanent, legible, and indelible. Therefore, the requirements of section 134.41 are satisfied.

Your decision to include U.S. addresses on the boxes invokes the provisions of section 134.46. Under section 134.46, in any case in which the words "U.S." or "American," or the letters "U.S.A.," any variation of such words or letters, or the name of any city or locality in the U.S., or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the country or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced, appear on an imported article or its container, there shall appear, legibly and permanently, in close proximity to such words, letters or name,

and in at least a comparable size, the name of the country of origin preceded by "Made in," "Product of," or other words of similar meaning.

Applying the requirements of section 134.46, the foreign marking and the U.S. address are printed clearly, in equivalent dimension, on the boxes. The permanence requirement is satisfied by printing the markings directly on the box. Regarding the close proximity requirement, if one looks on the panels of the package where the U.S. references appear, the U.S. address and the "Made in Mexico" markings are adjacent. The close proximity requirement is met because both the foreign marking and the U.S. address can be seen on the same side or panel of the box. There is no need for the ultimate purchaser to strain or to turn the box to see both the foreign marking and the U.S. address at the same time. The requirements of section 134.46 are satisfied.

The importer asks that the retail container of the appliances be excepted from marking because an appliance will be on display and the ultimate purchaser will not see the box until the purchase is already made. We will not allow the retail box to be excepted from marking for the following reasons: (1) samples of marked appliances or their photographic depictions were not submitted for our review; (2) the appliances are sold to retail chains and Customs cannot supervise their display; (3) there is no way to be sure that the displayed appliances will be made and marked to indicate the same country as the boxed appliances; (4) the importer has not stated whether or not the retail boxes are sealed containers or normally opened by the ultimate purchaser; (5) lastly, we are not convinced that the expensive retail packaging will not be seen by the ultimate purchaser before the sale. It is reasonable to assume that the appliances will remain in the unopened retail boxes because the packaging provides all the product information. The pictures on the boxes clearly show that the container was designed to be seen by the ultimate purchaser before the sale.


We find that the sample packages must be marked to indicate the country of origin of the appliances contained therein. The sample packages as marked satisfy the country of origin marking requirements as set forth in 19 U.S.C. 1304. This ruling is limited to appliances imported in packaging which conforms to the packaging samples submitted.

This decision should be mailed by your office to the internal advice requester no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decisions available to Customs

personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Lexis, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director