Mr. Sean Kim
Vantec World Transport (USA), Inc.
991 Francisco Street
Torrance, CA 90502

RE: The tariff classification and country of origin marking of a dietary supplement from North Korea

Dear Mr. Kim:

In your letters dated September 20, 2007 and October 9, 2007, on behalf of Oriental Natural Herb USA, Los Angeles, CA, you requested a tariff classification and country of origin marking ruling.

A sample, submitted with your October letter, was examined and disposed of. Royal Blood-Fresh is a dietary supplement for human consumption in the form of gelatin capsules filled with 200 milligrams of a brown-colored powder said to be composed of 135 milligrams soybean extract, 60 milligrams chonggokkinase (i.e., nattokinase, an enzyme derived from fermented soybeans), and 5 milligrams Vitamin B1. The product is packaged for retail sale in a printed cardboard box containing a plastic bottle filled with 180 capsules. The label affixed to the bottle is divided into three panels. The center panel has an illustration of what appears to be the head of a flower, and three columns of Korean characters. Across the top of this panel are the words “Royal Blood-Fresh.” The left panel contains several lines of Korean text, and the words “Made in DPR Korea” in the lower right corner. The right panel contains several lines of Korean text and several lines of text in English. Centered across the top of the panel are the words “Royal Blood-Fresh,” and near the bottom of the panel appears “Manufactured by: Pugang Pharmaceutic Co. Ltd. / Pyongyang, DPR Korea / Distributor: Topstag International Ltd. Auckland, New Zealand.” A printed paper insert inside the box contains a variety of consumer information, English text on one side, Korean text on the other. Near the bottom of the side with English text are the words “Pugang Pharmaceutic Co., Ltd. / Pyongyang, DPR Korea.” The printed box bears information similar to the label on the bottle. Illustrations and three columns of Korean characters appear on two panels, Korean text fills a third panel, and a combination of Korean and English text appears on the fourth panel. “Made in DPR Korea” is printed on the two illustrated panels and on the top flap, and the “Manufactured by” and “Distributor” information appears on the panel with Korean and English Text.

The applicable subheading for the Royal Blood-Fresh dietary supplement will be 2106.90.9998, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for food preparations not elsewhere specified or included…other…other… other. The rate of duty will be 20 percent ad valorem.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at

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.

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.

With regard to the permanency of a marking, section 134.41(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(a)), provides that as a general rule marking requirements are best met by marking worked into the article at the time of manufacture. For example, it is suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be die sunk, molded in, or etched. However, section 134.44, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.44), generally provides that any marking that is sufficiently permanent so that it will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless deliberately removed is acceptable.

Section 134.45(b)(2) of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.45), states that “abbreviations which unmistakably indicate the name of a country ...are acceptable.”

Section 134.46, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.46), deals with cases in which the words "United States," or "American," the letters "U.S.A.," any variation of such words or letters, or the name of any city or locality in the United States, or the name of any foreign country or locality other than the country or locality in which the article was manufactured or produced, appears on an imported article or its container, and those words, letters or names may mislead or deceive the ultimate purchaser as to the actual country of origin. In such a case, 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.

In order to satisfy the close proximity requirement, the country of origin marking must generally appear on the same side(s) or surface(s) in which the name or locality other than the actual country of origin appears.

Applying the Marking Rules set forth in section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended and section 134 of the Customs Regulations, we find that the sample of Royal Blood-Fresh does not satisfy the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134. The marking “Made in DPR Korea” does not unmistakably identify North Korea as the country of origin of the product. The country of origin must be identified with the long- or short-form name determined by the Office of the Geographer of the United States Department of State: “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” “Korea, North,” or “North Korea.”

Effective, Monday, June 19, 2000 as authorized by Federal Register Notice (Volume 65, No. 38165), importations of North Korean origin are permitted entry into the commerce of the U.S. However, all importers are required to notify and obtain approval from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) prior to importation. All shipments of North Korean origin, whether shipped directly or through a third country, must be accompanied by a letter of approval by OFAC and submitted with the entry package. For further information, see the OFAC website at WWW.TREAS.GOV/OFAC.

Additional requirements may be imposed on this product by the Food and Drug Administration. You may contact the FDA at:

Food and Drug Administration Division of Import Operations and Policy 5600 Fishers Lane Rockville, Maryland 20857 Telephone: 1-888-463-6332

This merchandise is subject to The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (The Bioterrorism Act), which is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Information on the Bioterrorism Act can be obtained by calling FDA at 301-575-0156, or at the Web site

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 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 Stanley Hopard at 646-733-3029.


Robert B. Swierupski
National Commodity
Specialist Division