Stephen R. Zastrow
CB Customs Brokerage, LLC
4450 Witmer Industrial Estates, Unit 3
Niagara Falls, NY 14305

RE:  The country of origin marking of a plastic bottle clip from China.

Dear Mr. Zastrow:

In your letter dated December 7, 2023, you requested a marking ruling on behalf of your client, Green Menu, Inc.

Images, which included a potential country of origin marking example, were submitted in lieu of a sample.

The marking under consideration will be for a polypropylene plastic bottle clip. It is manufactured in China and will be imported into the United States loosely packed with 3,000 pieces in a cardboard box. The box will be marked with the country of origin being China. After importation into the United States, the clip will be attached to the neck of a clear drinking bottle with plastic lid. The clip is intended to aid in carrying the bottle. Per your submission, the bottle and lid are made in the United States. The assembler snaps the clip on the bottle, adds a paper insert and affixes the plastic lid. The manufacturer marks the bottle and insert, “Made in USA.” The country-of-origin marking is molded into the bottom of the bottle and printed on the insert. The drinking bottle assembly is then bagged and shipped 24 pieces per box to customers in the United States and Canada.

In your request, you posed two questions concerning the marking of this product. The first was whether the clips need to be individually marked as made in China, or if they are properly excepted from individual marking under 19 USC Section 1304(3)(D). The second question was whether the finished bottle assembly should feature additional marking to indicate it has a China-origin component.

The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 USC 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 19 CFR 134.41(b), the country-of-origin marking is considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. can find the marking easily and read it without strain.

Regarding the permanency of a marking, 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, 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.

To the first question, marking the box with “Made in China” is acceptable for the importation of these clips and would satisfy 19 USC 1304(3)(D) as the container will reasonably indicate the origin of these articles to the importer. Though, we point to 19 USC 1304(3)(F), which states an article is exempted from marking requirements if “[s]uch article is imported for use by the importer and not intended for sale in its imported or any other form.” These bottle clips are intended to be resold to the ultimate customer, without modification, who will not have the benefit of seeing this shipping container. If these clips will be sold on their own, they will need to also be marked individually per the appropriate requirements. In response to the second question, we will address how the clips should be marked if they will only be sold attached to the drinking bottle.

To the matter of indicating the origin of the clip, we refer to 19 CFR 134.46, which addresses marking when the name of a country or locality other than country of origin appears. It states:

In any case 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 location 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 appear 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 of the article, 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 the provided image, the product is simply marked with a country-of-origin of “Made in USA.” As such, we hold the opinion that the included paper insert should also indicate the clips are products of China in a manner that meets the requirements of the above cited regulation. Further, if the clips are sold only with bottles, and the inserts appropriately indicate they are made in China, then we believe the clips would not need to be individually marked as the inserts would indicate their origin to the ultimate purchaser.

Whether an article may be marked with the phrase "Made in the USA" or similar words denoting U.S. origin, is an issue under the authority of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). We suggest that you contact the FTC Division of Enforcement, 6th and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20508 on the propriety of proposed markings indicating that an article is made in the USA.

The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise description as identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in Title 19, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 177.9(b)(1). This section states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in the ruling letter, whether directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect. In the event that the facts are modified in any way, or if the goods do not conform to these facts at time of importation, you should bring this to the attention of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and submit a request for a new ruling in accordance with 19 CFR 177.2. Additionally, we note that the material facts described in the foregoing ruling may be subject to periodic verification by CBP.

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 Kristopher Burton at [email protected].


Steven A. Mack
National Commodity Specialist Division