Thursday, June 14, 2007

When Compliance With Those Pesky Customs Regulations Gives Something Away

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

A couple of times in practice I had to deal with the requirements of the Customs Regulations under which it is mandatory that you show the country of origin on a product.  As I recall, once it had to do with whether you had to emboss the country of origin into a forged tool.  The other time it had to do with the labeling of bulk chemicals.  But it's quite clear that imported goods must show the "Made in Bouzhakistan" or they have a problem.

I just went out and bought a rocking chair from the local Ace Hardware.  It was sitting on the porch of the store.  My back has been sore (see previous post on golf), and rocking sounded nice.  It wasn't very expensive, but it was solid maple, not veneer.  I discovered it was also "some assembly required," but I take that as a challenge. 

On opening the box, I got a nice whiff of maple and polyurethane.  The pieces were nice and heavy.  The instructions appeared to be in English, and not Danish or that weird Scandinavian sign language you get sometimes.  And the sheet advised me that I had purchased a fine chair from the Hinkle Furniture Company, a family-owned operation which had been making furniture in the same location in Springfield, Tennessee since 1834.  (So far, no Hill v. Gateway 2000 issues.)

I got to work, dabbing wood glue and inserting Tab A into Slot B.  When I flipped over the seat panel, the following was imprinted on a little rectangle of white paper and stuck to the wood:  "Made in China."

Score one for the law department over marketing.

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