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HQ 732485

January 18, 1990

MAR 2-05 CO:R:C:V 732485 pmh


Mr. Alan R. Klestadt
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, NY 10017

RE: Country of origin marking requirements for imported cotton T- shirts

Dear Mr. Klestadt:

This is in response to your letter dated June 13, 1989, on behalf of your client, International Knitwear Co. (the importer), requesting a ruling on the country of origin marking requirements for cotton T-shirts.


Tubular cotton cloth is knit in continuous lengths in either India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt or Turkey. The fabric is bleached, dyed and shipped in 20-40 kilo bales to Malta. The fabric is not marked for cutting prior to shipment. In Malta the fabric is cut into multiple layers and subsequently cut into T- shirt components (i.e., a tubular T-shirt body, sleeves and slips which are used to form the taping in the neck and shoulders). The ribbed neckband is the only component that is knit in Malta. It also is subsequently cut to size. All the cut components, including the neckband, are then sewn together and hemmed to form a finished T-shirt. A textile label bearing the country of origin, the fiber content and the size and care instructions, will be permanently sewn into the finished garment. The garments are shipped to the U.S. in individual polybags.


Whether Malta is the country of origin of the subject T- shirts, for purposes of 19 U.S.C. 1304.

Whether the proposed label satisfies 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 U.S. 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. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), provides that the marking of an imported product must be conspicuous enough so that the ultimate purchaser will be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain.

Because the articles in question are textile products subject to section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1854), section 12.130, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130) is applicable. Section 12.130 provides that the country of origin of a textile product is that foreign territory, country or insular possession where the article last underwent a substantial transformation. Section 12.130(e)(iv), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130(e)(iv)) states that the cutting of fabric into parts and the assembly of those parts into the completed article will usually result in the processing country being the country of origin. Furthermore, Customs has held that the cutting of fabric (which contains no indication where that fabric is to be cut) into garment parts, constitues a substantial transformation of the fabric and the parts become a product of the country where the fabric is cut. (See ruling 731028, dated July 18, 1988.)

In this case, the cotton fabric is imported unmarked for cutting, cut into pieces and the pieces assembled into finished T-shirts in Malta. We find, therefore, that Malta is the country of origin of the finished T-shirts.

With regard to the proposed label bearing the name of the country of origin, since you have not submitted a sample of the label, we can not rule definitively on whether the marking in this case is in compliance with the country of origin marking requirements. However, a textile label which clearly indicates Malta as the country of origin and otherwise satisfies the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134, would be acceptable.

You have not indicated where on the T-shirt the fabric label will be affixed. Customs ruled in T.D. 54640(6) that shirts, blouses and sweaters must be marked by means of a fabric label sewn on the inside center of the neck midway between the shoulder seams. We suggest you place the label in this location so that it is readily visible to the ultimate purchaser at the time of purchase. If, at the time of retail, the T-shirts are packaged in such a way so that the fabric label is obscured, the retail package should be marked with the country of origin in compliance with 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134.


The T-shirts in this case are products of Malta and should be marked accordingly by means of a fabric label sewn into the neck area of each T-shirt. Such label must satisfy the requirements of 19 U.S.C. 1304 and 19 CFR Part 134. If the T- shirts are sold in packaging that obscures the fabric label, the packaging must also be marked in compliance with the country of origin marking requirements.


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