Marking Imports into the U.S.

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Import Marking

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires that each good produced abroad and imported into the United States must be marked with the good’s country of origin. Marking is intended for the “ultimate purchaser” of the article, or the last person in the United States who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported.

The marking on the article — or its container, when the container and not the article must be marked — must be located in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article permits. If the article or container are not properly marked at the time of importation, a marking duty equal to 10 percent of the article’s customs value will be assessed. This duty can be avoided if the unmarked article is exported, destroyed, or properly marked under CBP supervision before the entry is liquidated.

There are further requirements if the imported article is normally combined with another article after importation but before delivery to the ultimate purchaser. For example, if an empty bottle is imported with the intention of being filled in the United States, that article should be marked with words such as, “Bottle made in (name of country).”

Failure to comply with these requirements may leave you subject to fines from CBP and/or additional costs related to bringing the unmarked merchandise into compliance. Certain imported goods require special marking or are exempt from marking, which will be discussed further below. For a full list of exempt goods and other exceptions, please visit this CBP webpage.

Special Marking Requirements

Certain articles are subject to special country of origin marketing requirements. For example, iron and steel pipe and pipe fittings; manhole rings, frames, or covers; and compress gas cylinders must be marked by one of four methods:

  1. die-stamped,
  2. cast-in-mold lettering,
  3. etching (acid or electrolytic),
  4. or engraving.

For a full list of special marking requirements, please visit this CBP webpage.

Additionally, certain imported articles may require marking other than country-of-origin. These special requirements are specified by other agencies and we recommend you contact that agency for any special marking or labeling requirements.

Marking is another important aspect of importing into the U.S., and Trans-Border is here to assist you at every step of the way. If you have any questions, please reach out to Bill Carey, Import Compliance Manager, at, or give us a call at (800) 493-9444.

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