The question was forwarded to the gotheborgList and "Tim" supplied the answer that in 1893 the USA - being a rising power - passed a law that all imported items must be marked by the country of origin having until 1923 for complete marks. In the meantime countries like England and France just marked their pieces with "England" instead of "Made in England", which was required in 1923.
Some less sophisticated countries simply marked their goods "foreign" between 1893 and 1923 meaning it was their export product, going outside their own country.
Personally I can't remember ever having seen a Chinese piece just marked "Foreign". It seems that the first export mark was "CHINA" to be followed by "Made in China" much the same as above. Kindly see the MARKS section for more information on this.
More information on this would be greatly appreciated.