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NY J88806

October 3, 2003

MAR-2 RR:NC:MM:114 J88806


Mr. Scott Hoffman
Trans American Global Logistics Services
North American Service Center
2775 Broadway
Buffalo, NY 14227


Dear Mr. Hoffman:

This is in response to your letter dated September 12, 2003, on behalf of Optiq Ltd., requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking of prescription eyeglasses. A marked sample was not submitted with your letter for review.

You indicate that lens blanks of glass or plastic from France, Italy or Japan are imported into Canada. Plastic or metal eyeglass frames from Korea or China are imported into Canada. Customers in the United States chose a type of eyeglass frame and a type of lens from an optical store in the United States. In Canada, the lens is ground, edged, polished and coated, if required, and the frame is provided by a Canadian wholesaler which stocks the particular frame brand. The mounting of the lenses into the frames is performed in Canada. The prescription eyeglasses are then shipped to the optical store in the United States.

You ask if a sticker label stating “Made in Canada” can be placed on the outside package (the polybag) of the complete eyeglass.

Customs has ruled that personal prescription eyewear consists of frames and lenses, neither of which lose their separate identity when they are combined. The wearer is the ultimate purchase of the eyewear and is entitled to all relevant product information including the country of origin information. For country of origin marking purposes, it has been determined that the laboratories or optical houses are not the ultimate purchasers of the lenses. Lenses remain lenses, even after insertion in eyeglass frames after grinding, edging, etc.

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. However, section 134.44, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.44), generally provides that any marking that is sufficiently permanent so that it will remain on the article until it reaches the ultimate purchaser unless deliberately removed is acceptable.

Eyeglass frames imported into the United States are required to be marked with the words “Frame (Country of Origin)” or “Frame Made in (Country of Origin)” on the temple of the frame. Lenses, unless they undergo a substantial transformation to a new and different product in Canada, must be marked with their country of origin. The lenses as imported and as inserted in eyeglass frames have not undergone a substantial transformation. Grinding or edging the outer rim of the lens to fit it into a frame and adding coatings to the lens are not substantial transformations of the lens. Lenses may be marked by use of sticker labels on the lenses.

Your proposed marking of the prescription eyeglasses imported into the United States with a sticker label on the polybag stating “Made in Canada” is not acceptable and does not satisfy the marking requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134.

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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