Marking Country of Origin


CONTENTS:
  • GENERAL INFORMATION
  • What is the purpose of marking?
  • Who is the "ultimate purchaser"?
  • What is meant by "country"?
  • What is the "country of origin"?
  • Does altering the article in a second country change the country of origin?
  • Is it necessary for the words "made in" or "product of" to precede the name of the country of origin?
  • Should the marking be of a particular size?
  • Where should the marking be located?
  • How permanent must the marking be?
  • Abbreviations and Variant Spellings

  • FORMS OF MARKING
  • What are the acceptable forms of Marking?
  • May adhesive labels be used?
  • What about tags?

  • MARKING OF COMBINED ARTICLES

  • MARKING OF CONTAINERS
  • What is an unusual container?
  • What is a usual container?

  • SPECIAL STATUTORY MARKING

  • SPECIAL MARKING ON CERTAIN ARTICLES

  • ARTICLES NOT REQUIRING MARKING
  • What articles are excepted from marking by Section 304 of the Tariff Act?
  • "J" list
  • Are there other articles not required to be marked with the country of origin?
  • When an article is not required to be marked with the country of origin, does the immediate container have to be marked?

  • REPACKED ARTICLES

  • SANCTIONS FOR NOT MARKING


    General Information

    Every article of foreign origin entering the United States must be legibly marked with the English name of the country of origin unless an exception from marking is provided for in the law.

    The purpose of this web page is to acquaint manufacturers and exporters in other nations with the country of origin marking requirements for goods imported into the United States.

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    What is the purpose of marking?

    To inform the "ultimate purchaser" in the United States of the country in which the imported article was made.

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    Who is the "ultimate purchaser"?

    • The ultimate purchaser is generally the last person in the United States who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported.
    • If the article is a good of a NAFTA country (Mexico or Canada), the ultimate purchaser is the last person in the United States who purchased the good in the form in which it was imported.
    • If the article will be used in manufacture, the manufacturer or processor in the United States converting or combining the imported article into a new and different article is the ultimate purchaser.
    • If the article is sold at retail in its imported form, the purchaser at retail is the ultimate purchaser.
    • If an imported article is distributed as a gift, the recipient of the gift is the ultimate purchaser of the article, except if the good is a good of a NAFTA country, in which case the purchaser of the gift is the ultimate purchaser.

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    What is meant by "country"?

    "Country" means the political entity known as a nation. Colonies, possessions, or protectorates outside the boundaries of the mother country are considered separate countries.

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    What is the "country of origin"?

    The country of manufacture, production, or growth of the article.


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    Does altering the article in a second country change the country of origin?

    • Only if the further work or material added to an article in the second country constitutes a substantial transformation, or, for a good of a NAFTA country, only if under the NAFTA Marking Rules (19 CFR Part 102) the second country is determined to be the country of origin of the good.
    • A substantial transformation occurs if a new article with a different name, character or use is created.


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    Is it necessary for the words "made in" or "product of" to precede the name of the country of origin?

    The phrase "made in" is required only in the case where the name of any locality other than the country or locality in which the article was manufactured appears on the article or its container. The marking "made in (country)," "product of (country)," or other words of similar meaning must appear in close proximity to and in comparable size letters of the other locality to avoid possible confusion.

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    Should the marking be of a particular size?

    The marking must be legible. This means it must be of an adequate size, and clear enough, to be read easily by a person of normal vision.

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    Where should the marking be located?

    In a conspicuous place. It need not be in the most conspicuous place, but it must be where it can be seen with a casual handling of the article. Markings must be in a position where they will not be covered or concealed by subsequent attachments or additions. The marking must be visible without disassembling the item or removing or changing the position of any parts.

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    How permanent must the marking be?

    The article should be marked as indelibly and permanently as the nature of the product will permit. However, any reasonable method of marking that will accomplish the purpose of the law is acceptable. Marking that will not remain on the article during handling or for any other reason except deliberate removal is not a proper marking.

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    Abbreviations and Variant Spellings

    Abbreviations which unmistakably indicate the name of a country, such as "Gt. Britain" for Great Britain or "Luxemb" for Luxembourg, are acceptable. Variant spellings which clearly indicate the English name of the country of origin, such as "Brasil" for Brazil and "Italie" for Italy, are acceptable.

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    Forms of Marking

    What are the acceptable forms of marking?

    The best form of marking is one which becomes a part of the article itself, such as branding, stenciling, stamping, printing, molding, and similar methods. Other forms of marking also will be acceptable if it is certain that the marking used will remain on the article, and will remain legible and conspicuous, until the article reaches the ultimate purchaser in the United States. It is important that this marking withstand handling. This means it must be of a type that can be defaced, destroyed, removed, altered, obliterated, or obscured only by a deliberate act.

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    May adhesive labels be used?

    Labels may be used in some instances, but this is not a recommended form. Often labels become loose due to weather, unsatisfactory adhesive, or other conditions. If this happens, the importer may be subject to the expense of remarking the merchandise.

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    What about tags?

    When tags are used, they must be attached in a conspicuous place and in a manner which assures that, unless deliberately removed, they will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser.

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    Marking of Combined Articles

    An article that is to be combined with another article in the United States but which will retain its identity and will not become substantially transformed must be marked '(Name of imported article) made in (country).'

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    Marking of Containers

    • Unusual containers imported empty, to be filled in the United States, must be marked "Container made in (country)."
      Ordinary disposable containers imported empty to be filled, or in the case of a good of a NAFTA country, disposable and non-disposable containers, empty or filled, may be exempted from individual marking if they reach the person or firm that will fill them in a carton or other container marked with the country of origin.
    • Generally, containers imported filled must be marked with the name of the country of origin of the contents of the container, unless the contents are marked with the country of origin and the containers can be readily opened for inspection of the contents.

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    What is an unusual container?

    • These may include containers not ordinarily sold at retail with their contents or containers which have further use or value after their contents are consumed.
    • Unusual types of containers must be marked to indicate their own origin when imported filled, in addition to any marking required to indicate the origin of their contents.

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    What is a usual container?

    • The ordinary container in which an imported article will reach the ultimate purchaser.
    • Usual or ordinary types of containers or holders, if not designed for or capable of reuse, are not required to be marked with their own origin when imported filled.
    • Usual containers which are a good of a NAFTA country are not required to be marked with their own origin, whether or not filled.

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    Special Statutory Marking

    What are the special marking requirements for watches and clocks?

    Chapter 91, Additional U.S. Note 4, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, sets forth special marking requirements applicable for watches and clocks:

    (a) Watch movements shall be marked on one or more of the bridges or top plates to show:
    (i) The name of the country of manufacture
    (ii) The name of the manufacturer or purchaser
    (iii) In words, the number of jewels, if any, serving a mechanical purpose, as frictional bearings.
    (b) Clock movements shall be marked on the most visible part of the front or back plate to show:
    (i) The name of the country of manufacture
    (ii) The name of the manufacturer or purchaser
    (iii) The number of jewels, if any.
    (c) Watch cases shall be marked on the inside or outside of the back to show:
    (i) The name of the country of manufacture
    (ii) The name of the manufacturer.
    (d) Clock cases shall be marked on the most visible part of the outside of the back to show the name of the country of manufacture.

    The above movements and cases must be conspicuously and indelibly marked by cutting, die-sinking, engraving, stamping or mold-marking. Movements with ~opto-electronic display only and cases designed for use therewith, whether entered as separate articles or as components of assembled watches or clocks, are excepted from these special marking requirements. Watches and clocks are also subject to the normal country of origin marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304, and under these requirements, the country of origin of the movement should appear conspicuously and legibly on the face of the dial or on the outside of the back. In addition, watch bands should be marked with the country of manufacture of the band, if it is made in a country different from the country of origin of the watch.

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    Special Markings on Certain Articles

    The following articles and parts thereof, unless otherwise subject to the marking exceptions provided for in Section 304 of the Tariff Act, must be marked legibly and conspicuously with their country of origin by die-stamping, cast-in-mold lettering, etching (acid or electrolytic), engraving, or by means of metal plates which bear the prescribed marking and which are securely attached to the article in a conspicuous place by welding, screws, or rivets:

    Knives, forks, steels
    Cleavers, clippers, shears
    Scissors, safety razors, blades for safety razors
    Surgical instruments, dental instruments Scientific and laboratory instruments
    Pliers, pincers, nippers and hinged hand tools for holding and splicing wire
    Vacuum containers and parts of the above articles.



    What are the special marking requirements for other articles?

    Pipes and pipe fittings of iron, steel or stainless steel must be marked by means of die stamping, castin-mold lettering, etching, engraving, or continuous paint stenciling. If it is commercially or technically infeasible to mark by one of these five methods, the marking may be done by an equally permanent method of marking, or, in the case of small-diameter pipe, tube and fittings, by tagging the bundles.

    Compressed gas cylinders designed for use for the transport and storage of compressed gases must be marked by means of die stamping, molding, etching, raised lettering or an equally permanent method of marking.

    Manhole rings or frames, covers, and assemblies thereof must be marked on the top surface by means of die stamping, cast-in-mold lettering, etching, engraving, or an equally permanent method of marking.

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    Articles Not Requiring Marking

    What articles are excepted from marking by Section 304 of theTariff Act?

    1. An article that is incapable of being marked;
    2. An article that cannot be marked prior to shipment to the United States without injury to the article;
    3. An article that cannot be marked prior to shipment to the United States except at an expense economically prohibitive of its importation;
    4. When the container of an article reasonably indicates the origin of the article; that is, the marked container reaches the ultimate purchaser unopened;
    5. The article is a crude substance;
    6. The article is imported for use by the importer and is not intended for sale in its imported or any other form;
    7. The article is to be processed in the United States by the importer, or for his account, in such a manner that any marking would be permanently concealed, obliterated, or destroyed;
    8. When the ultimate purchaser, by reason of the character of the article or by reason of the circumstances of its importation, necessarily must know, or in the case of a good of a NAFTA country, reasonably must know, the country of origin of such article even though it is not marked to indicate its origin;
    9. The article was produced more than 20 years prior to its importation into the United States;
    10. Articles of a class or kind (listed below) imported in substantial quantities for a five-year period immediately preceding January 1, 1937, and which were not required to be marked.

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      "J" list

      Art, works of.
      Articles classified under subheadings 9810.00.15, 9810.00.25, 9810.00.40 and 9810.00.45, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.
      Articles entered in good faith as antiques and rejected as unauthentic.

      Bagging, waste.
      Bags, jute.
      Bands, steel.
      Beads, unstrung.
      Bearings, ball 5/8-inch or less in diameter.
      Blanks, metal to be plated.
      Bodies, harvest hat.
      Bolts, nuts, and washers.
      Briarwood in blocks.
      Briquettes, coal or coke.
      Buckles, one-inch or less in greatest dimension.
      Burlap.
      Buttons.

      Cards, playing.
      Cellophane and celluloid in sheets, bands, or strips.
      Chemicals, drugs, medicinal and similar substances, when imported in capsules, pills, tablets, lozenges, or troches.
      Cigars and cigarettes.
      Covers, straw bottle.

      Dies, diamond wire, unmounted.
      Dowels, wood.

      Effects, theatrical.
      Eggs.

      Feathers.
      Firewood.
      Flooring: not further manufactured than planed, tongued and grooved.
      Flowers, artificial, except bunches.
      Flowers, cut.

      Glass, cut to shape and size for use in clocks, hand, pocket, and purse mirrors, and other glass of similar shapes and sizes, not including lenses or watch crystaIs.
      Glides, furniture, except glides with prongs.

      Hairnets.
      Hides, raw.
      Hooks, fish (except snelled fish hooks).
      Hoops (wood), barrel.

      Laths.
      Leather, except finished.
      Livestock.
      Lumber, sawed.

      Metal bars, except concrete reinforcement bars; billets; blocks; blooms; ingots; pigs; plates; sheets, except galvanized sheets; shafring; slabs; and metal in similar forms.
      Mica not further manufactured than cut or stamped to dimensions, shape or form.
      Monuments.

      Nails, spikes, and staples.
      Natural products, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, berries, and live or dead animals, fish, and birds, all the foregoing which are in their natural state or not advanced in any manner further than is necessary for their safe transportation.
      Nets, bottle, wire.

      Paper, newsprint.
      Paper, stencil.
      Paper, stock.
      Parchment and vellum.
      Parts for machines imported from some country as parts.
      Pickets, wooden.
      Pins, tuning.
      Plants, shrubs and other nursery stock.
      Plugs, tie.
      Poles, bamboo.
      Posts (wood), fence.
      Pulpwood.

      Rags (including wiping rags).
      Rails, joint bars, and tie plates covered by subheadings 7302.90.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.
      Ribbon.
      Rivets.
      Rope; including wire rope; cordage, cords; twines, threads, and yarns.

      Scrap and waste.
      Screws.
      Shims, track.
      Shingles (wood), bundles of-except bundles of red cedar shingles.
      Skins, fur, dressed or dyed.
      Skins, raw fur.
      Sponges.
      Springs, watch.
      Stamps, postage and revenue, and other articles covered in subheadings 9704.00.00 and 4807.00.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.
      Staves (wood), barrel.
      Steel, hoop.
      Sugar, maple.

      Ties (wood), railroad.
      Tiles, not over one inch in greatest dimension.
      Timbers, sawed.
      Tips, penholder.
      Trees, Christmas.

      Weights, analytical and precision, in sets.
      Wicking, candle.
      Wire, except barbed.

    11. The article cannot be marked after importation except at an expense that would be economically prohibitive (unless the importer, producer, seller, or shipper failed to mark the article before importation to avoid meeting the requirements of the law).

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    Are there other articles not required to be marked with the country of origin? Yes, the following:

    1. Articles valued at not more than $5 which are passed without the filing of a customs entry.
    2. Articles brought into a foreign-trade zone or a bonded warehouse for immediate exportation or for transportation and exportation.
    3. Products of American fisheries which are free of duty.
    4. Products of possessions of the United States.
    5. Products of the United States exported and returned.
    6. Bona fide gifts from persons in foreign countries; provided the aggregate value of articles received by one person on one day and exempted from the payment of duty shall not exceed $50 retail value.
    7. Goods of a NAFTA country which are original works of art.
    8. Ceramic bricks; diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices; photosensitive semiconductor devices, electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies which are goods of a NAFTA country.

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    When an article is not required to be marked with the country of origin, does the immediate container have to be marked?

    Yes, unless the article is excepted from marking under clause (F), (G), or (H) indicated above.

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    Repacked Articles

    Are articles which are to be repacked in the United States subject to the marking requirements of Section 304, Tariff Act?

    Yes, unless the repacker is the ultimate purchaser.


    What are the obligations of an importer concerning the marking of repacked goods?

    If an article is intended to be repacked in new containers for sale to an ultimate purchaser after its release from Customs custody, the importer must certify that if he does the repacking, he shall not obscure or conceal the country of origin marking, or that the new container will be properly marked. If the article is intended to be sold or transferred to a subsequent purchaser or repacker, the importer must certify that he will notify the subsequent purchaser or repacker (in writing) of the marking requirements.
    Failure to comply with the certification requirements may subject the importer to additional duty and penalties.

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    Sanctions For Not Marking

    Marking duties

    Articles that are not marked with the English name of their country of origin at the time of their importation into the United States shall be subject to additional duties unless properly marked, exported, or destroyed under Customs supervision prior to liquidation of the entry.


    Criminal penalties for removal of markings

    Any person who removes, destroys, alters, covers or obliterates with the intent of concealing the country of origin marking on an imported article could be subject to prosecution and criminal penalties.

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    Revised February 1995 ---- ---- ---- Customs Pub. No.539

    DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
    U.S. CUSTOMS SERVICE