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China Labeling to be Required for Imports from Hong Kong

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced that imported goods produced in Hong Kong will have to be marked to indicate China as their country of origin rather than Hong Kong. CBP is granting importers a 45-day transition period for this change, which will take effect for goods entered or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption on or after Sept. 25.

19 USC 1304 requires articles of foreign origin to be marked so as to indicate to purchasers the country of origin of imported goods. Pursuant to a July 14 executive order, CBP states that it suspending the application of section 201(a) of the U.S.-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, under which the U.S. continued to treat Hong Kong as a separate customs territory after it reverted to Chinese control in July 1997, to 19 USC 1304. As a result, goods of Hong Kong will have to be labeled as products of China.

However, this change also raises concerns that goods produced or substantially transformed in Hong Kong will be treated as having originated in China for purposes of the Section 301 tariffs the U.S. currently levies against products of China. This is because CBP generally follows a substantial transformation test to identify the country of origin for purposes of 19 USC 1304.

This requirement change and its effects are still developing. OTS will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates accordingly. Please contact your OTS Sales Representative with any questions or concerns.

FAQ: Guidance on Marking Requirements of Hong Kong Goods

Q: How does the Hong Kong marking executive order (EO) impact imported goods that are products of Hong Kong after the transition period?

Every article of foreign origin or its container imported into the Customs territory of the United States shall be marked in a conspicuous place and in such manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin of the article (19 U.S.C. §1304 and 19 CFR 134.11). Imported goods that are produced in Hong Kong that are entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption into the United States after the transition period must be marked to indicate that their origin is “China” for purposes of 19 U.S.C. § 1304.

Goods that are not marked properly after the transition period may be brought into a Foreign Trade Zone to be properly marked under a permit to manipulate issued by the Port Director. Similarly, goods which are improperly or falsely marked may be brought into an FTZ under a permit to manipulate to correct or remove such marking so as to comply with the laws and regulations (19 CFR 134.13(b)). See Foreign Trade Zone Manual, Publication #: 0000-0559A (2011), Chapter 8, Paragraph 8.5, available at:

Q: How does the marking rule affect the country of origin for purposes of assessing ordinary duties under Chap 1-97 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) or temporary or additional duties under Chapter 99 of the HTSUS?

The change in marking requirements does not affect country of origin determinations for purposes of assessing ordinary duties under Chapters 1-97 of the HTSUS or temporary or additional duties under Chapter 99 of the HTSUS. Therefore, goods that are products of Hong Kong should continue to report International Organization for Standardization (ISO) country code “HK” as the country of origin when required.

Q: How does the EO marking rule affect entry summary requirements, such as country of origin reporting, duty payments, etc.?

This rule only applies to marking requirements under 19 U.S.C. 1304. Entry summary procedures have not changed. Filers should continue to file their entry summaries and duty payments according to current regulation and policy.

Q: What if goods are marked as “Made in China” but qualify for outward processing treatment (OPA) as Hong Kong origin goods?

CBP’s FRN affects marking requirements not country of origin. There is no change with regard to the Outward Processing Arrangements (OPA).