MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 732228 NL

Susan Pomerantz, President
Priority One Brokers, Inc.
4101 Airtrade Street
Orlando, Florida 32827

RE: Country of Origin Marking of Sunglasses

Dear Ms. Pomerantz:

This is in response to your letter of March 14, 1989, requesting advice concerning the country of origin marking of imported sunglasses and a clear polybag in which they are imported. We regret the delay in responding.


The submitted sample is a clear plastic bag, approximately 9" by 3", upon which is printed the words "Made in Taiwan". You advised a member of my staff that the sunglasses, which are of an inexpensive, nonprescription type, are individually packed in Taiwan in the unsealed plastic bags for sale to ultimate purchasers in the U.S. The sunglasses are imported in containers holding 24 pairs each. The sunglasses themselves, which were not submitted as a sample, contain no country of origin marking.


Does the above-described marking satisfy the country of origin marking requirements?


Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin 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 U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article. Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304.


An article may be excepted from country of origin marking pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1304(a)(3)(D) and 19 CFR 134.32(d) when the marking of its container will reasonably indicate the origin of the article to the ultimate purchaser. However, in granting this exception we require assurances that in all foreseeable circumstances, the article will reach the ultimate purchaser in its original unopened marked container. See T.D. 74-122; HQ Ruling 729075 (Jan. 13, 1986). Here, where the unsealed package affords the opportunity for a retailer or wholesaler easily to remove the articles and offer them for sale without country of origin marking, an exception from country of origin marking cannot be approved. We note, however, that the country of origin marking on the plastic bags is legible, permanent and conspicuous within the meaning of 19 U.S.C. 1304. We cannot issue a binding ruling without reviewing a sample, but it is possible that an exception could be approved if the bag were sealed such that in all foreseeable circumstances the ultimate purchaser would receive the article in the marked, sealed plastic bag.

In this instance the articles themselves must be marked with their country of origin. As you are aware, in T.D. 74-38 we ruled that imported eyeglass and sunglass frames must be marked by die stamping in a contrasting color, by raised lettering, or by engraving. Please note, however, complete sunglasses may also be marked by means of labels or tags which are attached to the sunglasses securely enough to remain on until the sunglasses reach the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. See C.I.E. 1884/65 (Nov. 9, 1965), letter rulings 710832 (Sept. 12, 1979), 720967 (Dec. 13, 1982), and 726183 (Aug. 29, 1984).


Imported sunglasses packed in unsealed individual plastic containers bearing country of origin marking must themselves be marked with their country of origin.


Marvin M. Amernick
Chief, Value, Special Programs
and Admissibility Branch