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HQ 732334

September 15, 1989

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 732334 jd


James C. Anderson, Esq.
Patricia T. Bozer, Esq.
Loomis, Owen, Fellman & Howe
2020 K Street, N.W.
Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20006

RE: Request for reconsideration of that portion of ruling 554914 concerning the country of origin marking requirements applicable to certain opthalmic plastic lenses from Mexico

Dear Mr. Anderson and Ms. Bozer:

This is in response to your letter of April 18, 1989, requesting reconsideration of that portion of Customs ruling letter 554914 (August 11, 1988) concerning the application of country of origin marking requirements to opthalmic plastic lenses from Mexico.


In ruling letter 554914, Customs held that country of origin marking requirements applicable to certain imported opthalmic plastic lenses could be satisfied by means of adhesive stickers affixed directly to the lenses. Our holding was based in large part on the fact that the lenses under consideration had a company logo on them and we reasoned that a sticker placed near the logo would survive the grinding process to which the lenses were subjected after importation.

You have now indicated to us that adhesive stickers would damage the lenses and have submitted material supporting this claim. You request reconsideration of our holding.

According to your submission, opthalmic plastic lenses, although imported with corrective qualities, i.e., the power or prescription, already in place, are considered unfinished because approximately 80 percent of lenses will have some type of coating applied. One or more coatings may be applied to lenses to tint them, make them scratch resistant, or make them anti-reflective.

Lens industry experts have determined there is no adhesive product available that would not leave some residue on the lens
surface after a sticker is removed. This residue would interfere with the application of the various polymeric coatings necessary to complete the lenses. Specifically, the adhesive residue on the lens would result in a surface that would not dye uniformly, and would resist the application of scratch resistant or anti- reflective coatings. These problems are worsened by the fact that lenses are often stored for extended periods before use and the adhesive on a sticker, as well as the ink used to imprint the sticker, could migrate into the lens itself. Finally, there is great potential for physical damage to a lens during removal of a sticker. Rubbing or scraping could result in scratching the surface.

Your submission has clarified the nature of the company logo referred to in ruling 554914. The logo is a small (one to two millimeters in length) inscription or etching used to aid a laboratory in alignment of a progressive lens. A progressive lens is one providing correction for more than one viewing distance where the power changes continuously rather than discretely. Since this logo is inscribed or etched, not topically applied, it does not interfere with coating.


Must country of origin marking of imported opthalmic plastic lenses be accomplished by marking actually affixed to the lenses, e.g., by an adhesive sticker, or is marking of the container sufficient?


Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), generally requires that every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the United States shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or container) will permit in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the United States the English name of the country of origin of the article.

Section 134.32(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.32(b)), provides that articles that cannot be marked prior to shipment without injury are excepted from individual marking. However, { 134.22(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.22(a)), provides that articles so excepted from individual marking shall bear marking on their outermost holder or container.

Based on the information now presented to us, we agree that adhesive stickers are not a feasible method of compliance with country of origin marking requirements for opthalmic plastic lenses. The adhesive on the sticker would injure the lenses.

Similarly, country of origin marking either inscribed or etched into a lens, as is the small company logo, is not practical. Marking on the same scale as the logo would be too small to be readable, and larger lettering would interfere with the field of vision of the lens.


Country of origin marking of imported opthalmic plastic lenses by means of adhesive stickers affixed to the lenses, or by means of marking worked into the lens, is not required. Such marking would be injurious to the lenses. Ruling 554914 indicated that lenses are imported in envelopes bearing marking, the envelopes are placed in packages, and the packages are placed in lenses cases also bearing marking. Such properly marked envelopes and cases will satisfy the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304.


Harvey B. Fox

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