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NY J83691

May 7, 2003

MAR-2 RR:NC:MM:114 J83691


Ms. Hayley van der Nagel
Jai Kudo Eyewear London
1st Floor, Hill House
17-19 Highgate Hill
London N19 5NA
United Kingdom


Dear Ms. van der Nagel:

This is in response to your letter dated April 8, 2003 requesting a ruling on country of origin marking of eyeglass frames. Samples were submitted with your letter for review.

The metal eyeglass frames are manufactured in China. The processing in China is called Phase 1 and includes tooling and setting, production of the metal parts and other materials (the temple tips and nose pads), welding the metal parts together and polishing the eyeglass frames. The products shipped from China are the assembled and shaped metal eyeglass frames, the temple tips and the nose pads.

The unplated assembled and shaped metal eyeglass frames and the temple tips and nose pads are shipped to Jai Kudo London and then forwarded to Switzerland for phase 2 of the production process. In Switzerland the frames are plated, the country of origin is printed onto the temple, the temple tips and nose pads are assembled to the frame and the frame is packaged.

The finished frames are shipped to Jai Kudo London for quality control and export packing, and then exported to the United States.

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

As provided in section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), the country of origin marking is considered conspicuous if the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. is able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

With regard to the permanency of a marking, section 134.41(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(a)), provides that as a general rule marking requirements are best met by marking worked into the article at the time of manufacture. For example, it is suggested that the country of origin on metal articles be die sunk, molded in, or etched. Eyeglass frames must be marked on the temples by silk screening or printing with the words: Frame (country of origin) or Frame Made in (country of origin). Marking the country of origin on eyeglass frames by means of stickers or hangtags is not acceptable.

Country of origin is defined in 19 CFR 134.1(b) as the country of manufacture, production or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the U.S. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a “substantial transformation” in order to render such other country the “country of origin”. In determining whether further work or material added to an article has effected a substantial transformation, it must be established that the article, after the further work or added material, emerges having a different name, character or use. If the article has a different name, character or use, the imported article will be considered to have been substantially transformed in the second country.

We are of the opinion that the unplated assembled frames are not substantially transformed in the second country by the electroplating operation and the assembly of the frame tips and nose pads to the frame. The frame is considered to be unfinished at the time of shipment to Switzerland; the plating process is considered a finishing operation, which does not change the character or use of the frames. The assembly of frame tips and nose pads to the frame is an incidental operation. The eyeglass frames are not substantially transformed into an article having a different name or character or use in the second country.

The frames must be marked with country of origin China in the following manner: “Frame China” or “Frame Made in China” must be silk screened onto the temple in accordance with the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Barbara Kiefer at 646-733-3019.


Robert B. Swierupski

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