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HQ 086229

April 11, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086229 CRS


Martin J. Lewin, Esq.
Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon
2121 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037

RE: Country of Origin of Cotton Work Gloves Sewn in Country B from Parts Cut in Country A; Request for Reconsideration of HRL 732623

Dear Mr. Lewin:

This is in response to your letter dated December 12, 1989, on behalf of your client Saf-T-Gard International, Inc. (formerly Latex Glove Co., Inc.), in which you requested reconsideration of Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 732623 dated November 6, 1989, subsequently published as C.S.D. 90-20 (24 Cust. B. & Dec. 10 (March 7, 1990)), regarding imported cotton work gloves. Cut pieces of an unassembled glove, a sample finished glove, and a video tape of the assembly operation were submitted with your request.


C.S.D. 90-20 concerned the country of origin marking of cotton industrial work gloves. Glove fabric is purchased and cut into pieces in country A. The cut pieces are then shipped to country B for sewing, turning, pressing, matching into pairs, packing and shipment to the United States. The gloves are manufactured in two sizes: men's; and women's. In C.S.D. 90-20 it was held that country A was the country of origin of the gloves; however, you believe the country of origin to be Country B and have requested reconsideration.

You assert that whereas little skill is required to cut bulk fabric into glove parts, the sewing of a completed glove involves a high degree of skill. In support of this you state that the cutting time for the clute pattern work gloves at issue is 0.0188 man-hours per dozen pairs and that the sewing time is 0.64 man- hours per dozen pairs. Turning time for the gloves is 0.25 man- hours per dozen pairs, while ironing and joining time consume an additional 0.2833 man-hours per dozen pairs.

You describe the sewing operations performed in country B as some of the most complex in the apparel trade. The clute pattern glove at issue consists of five cut pieces of different sizes and shape and requires six separate stitching operations. The five seams are short and frequently curve and change direction.

Value added in country B exceeds that in country A. In your original ruling request you estimated the value added in country A to be $0.027 compared to a value added in country B of $0.293. You also advise that sewing requires more training and greater capital investment than does cutting.


Whether the sewing and finishing in country B of fabric parts cut in country A constitutes a substantial manufacturing or processing operation such that the gloves in question will be considered to be a product of country B.


Pursuant to section 12.130, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130), a textile or textile product which consist of materials produced or derived from, or processed in, more than one foreign territory or country shall be a product of that foreign territory or country where it last underwent a substantial transformation. A textile or textile product will be considered to have undergone a substantial transformation if it has been transformed by means of substantial manufacturing or processing operations into a new and different article of commerce.

Section 12.130(d) establishes criteria for determining whether an article has been substantially transformed. However, the criteria set forth in 19 CFR 12.130(d) are not exhaustive; one or any combination of these criteria may be determinative and additional factors may be considered.

According to 19 CFR 12.130(d)(2), the following factors are to be considered in determining whether merchandise has been subjected to substantial manufacturing or processing operations: the physical change in the material or article, the time involved in the manufacturing or processing operations, the complexity of the operations, the level or degree of skill and/or technology required, and the value added to the article. In this regard you state that the sewing operations performed on the gloves in question are among the most complex in the apparel trade, that a significantly greater investment of time and capital is required in sewing the gloves as opposed to cutting them, and that sewing demands a high degree of training and skill.

Section 12.130(e), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130(e)) provides further guidance as to what constitutes substantial manufacturing or processing operations. In particular, 19 CFR 12.130(e)(1)(v) provides that an article will usually be the product of that country in which it has been sewn or tailored from fabric pieces cut in another country, as for example, with the complete assembly and tailoring of all cut pieces of suit- type jackets, suits and shirts.

According to T.D. 85-38 (19 Cust. Bull. 58, 70), published in the Federal Register on March 5, 1985, (50 FR 8714), which is the final document rule establishing 19 CFR 12.130:

[T]he assembly of all the cut pieces of a garment usually is a substantial manufacturing process that results in an article with a different name, character or use than the cut pieces. It should be noted that not all assembly operations of cut garment pieces will amount to a substantial transformation of those pieces. Where either less than a complete assembly of all cut the pieces of a garment is performed in one country, or the assembly is a relatively simple one, then Customs will rule on the particular factual situations as they arise, utilizing the criteria in 12.130(d).

Thus when factual situations are not squarely within the examples of section 12.130(e), an article's country of origin will be decided in accordance with section 12.130 (d). Here, the intricacy of the sewing operation is less than the complexity involved in sewing a suit-type jacket, suit or shirt; therefore, as the factual situation is not squarely within the examples of section 12.130(e), country origin is determined by reference to the criteria of section 12.130(d).

You have compared the gloves in question with those at issue in Cardinal Glove v. United States, 4 C.I.T. 41 (1982), which also concerned the country of origin of cotton work gloves. However, the country of origin marking requirements embodied in 19 CFR 12.130 were issued subsequent to the decision in Cardinal Glove. Although the gloves in Cardinal Glove were of simpler construction than those now at issue, the fact that the gloves in question are relatively more complex is not determinative. The Regulations do not contemplate that all sewing operations will constitute a substantial transformation, but only those where there has been substantial sewing and/or tailoring. This is not the case here.

In C.S.D. 90-19 (24 Cust. B. & Dec. 10 (March 7, 1990)), the issue was the country of origin marking of sweatshirts. Fabric was cut to shape in Korea, then exported to Jamaica for assembly into finished sweatshirts. A total of twenty-eight manufacturing operations were performed in Jamaica, including sixteen sewing operations and one embroidery operation. The sweatshirts were sewn on machines which cost $5,000; training costs were estimated to be $20,000. Nevertheless, the sewing and assembly operations were determined not to be substantial.

Similarly, in HRL 731036 of July 18, 1989, knit cotton polo-style shirts were cut into twelve components in country A. These were then sewn and finished in country B in a process involving nineteen separate operations. The time required to sew one dozen shirts was estimated to be 1.752 hours, compared to the 1.1733 hours needed to sew the work gloves in question. Four different types of sewing machines were used. However, since many of the operations involved limited skill and there was no evidence that highly skilled or trained workers were required, the country of origin was held to be country A.

The sewing together of industrial work gloves is not more complex in nature than the assembly by sewing of sweatshirts and polo-style shirts, indeed it is Customs' view that it is less so. Moreover, the cutting of fabric into glove pieces is not without complexity. Apparel cutters must also be skilled since mistakes can be costly in terms of wasted fabric and can delay or prevent a planned assembly run. See HRL 081155 dated February 3, 1988. In addition, Customs is not persuaded that sewing cut pieces into finished gloves is inherently complex. Although the purchase of sewing machines may require a significant capital investment, the operation of the machines involves little more than a steady feeding of cut glove fabric into a machine. As a result, it remains Customs' view that the gloves have not been substantially transformed.


The country of origin of the industrial work gloves at issue is country A. The sewing and assembly operations performed in country B do not constitute a substantial transformation as required by 19 CFR 12.130.

The video tapes submitted in connection with your request are being returned under separate cover.


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