Harmonized Tariff Services

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Country of Origin Determinations

There are two dimensions to country of origin determination and marking:

  • marking and declaring the correct country of origin on imports, and
  • affirmatively marking “Made in the USA” on goods for sale in the United States.


Customs requires that “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 such marking is to “inform the ultimate purchaser in the United States of the country in which the imported article was made.”  Understanding the regulations and the numerous exceptions is extremely complex and many importers have had neither the resources nor expertise to create and implement a consistently accurate process.  Our assistance typically includes the following:

  • Identify the high volume import items and their countries of origin;
  • Review the existing control process and quantify the current compliance rate;
  • Design a work process specific to the importer that brings the marking into compliance; and
  • Train the compliance staff to self-audit and identify appropriate corrective action as required.

“Made in the USA” on Goods Sold in the United States

“The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is charged with preventing deception and unfairness in the marketplace.  The FTC Act gives the Commission the power to bring law enforcement actions against false or misleading claims that a product is of U.S. origin.”  While there is no requirement that most goods for sale in the U.S. be marked, there are strict regulations controlling all affirmative “Made in the USA” claims.   Our assistance typically includes the following:

  • Assess the validity of all affirmative claims;
  • Identify the available options for those items not qualifying for affirmative claims; and
  • Train the compliance staff to create and maintain a compliant marking process.

For more information about what Harmonized Tariff Services can do for your business, please review our Tariff Classification Services and Trade Agreement Services.