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HQ 087949

January 8, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087949 CRS


Mr. Bryce Haynes
Executive Vice President
The Bibb Company
P.O. Box 4207
Macon, GA 31208

RE: Country of origin of diapers; cutting and sewing constitute substantial transformation.

Dear Mr. Haynes:

This is in reply to your letter dated September 6, 1990, in which you requested a ruling concerning the country of origin of cotton diapers.


The merchandise in question consists of a 100 percent cotton pre-folded birdseye diaper measuring 14 inches by 20 inches. The fabric is made and bleach finished in the People's Republic of China (PRC). From the PRC the fabric is shipped in 300-400 yard rolls to Thailand where the fabric, which has no lines of demarcation, is cut and sewn into individual diapers.

With regard to the manufacture of the prefolded diapers in Thailand you have provided the following information:

A. The fabric is run approximately 36" wide. The roll is positioned behind a machine that will continuously prefold the fabric to the 14" configuration. As the fabric leaves the prefolder it is guided to a double head chain stitch sewing machine which stitches the fabric in the warp direction. The two (2) stitch lines are approximately 4" apart.

B. The next operation is the cutting. This operation is similar to the previous cutting operation. The 14" width prefolded fabric is spread on a table. It is then marked every 21 inches. Then with an electric knife the fabric is cut into 21 inch lengths. At this point, the diapers are about 14" by 21".

C. From the cutting operation, the stacks of diapers are sent to a second sewing operation where they are surged at the two raw cut edges to close the ends.

D. From surging, the diapers are inspected and placed into stacks of one dozen and then folded to approximately 7" x 9". These stacks are then placed in poly bags. The bags are sealed at the end....

The finished diapers are shipped to the United States through the port of Savannah.


Whether cutting and sewing of Chinese fabric in Thailand constitute a substantial manufacturing operation such that the merchandise is deemed to have been substantially transformed pursuant to 19 CFR 12.130.


Pursuant to section 12.130, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130), a textile or textile product which consists 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.

Nevertheless, section 12.130(e)(2) provides that an article will usually not be considered to be a product of a particular country merely by having undergone:

(ii) Cutting to length or width and hemming or overlocking fabrics which are readily identifiable as being intended for a particular commercial use....

In this case, when the cotton fabric exported from China it is not identifiable as being intended for use as diapers. As we stated in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 086779 dated April 25, 1990:

Upon exportation...the merchandise is mere cotton fabric, suitable for multiple uses. There is no evidence, i.e., lines of demarcation, that...the fabric is meant to be diapers.

Moreover, in Thailand, the fabric is prefolded and stitch sewn into the 14 width configuration, cut to length, and then sent to a second sewing operation where the raw cut edges are closed. Based on the foregoing, Customs' is of the view that the above constitute substantial manufacturing or processing operations under 19 CFR 12.130(e)(1). Consequently, Customs' considers the fabric has been substantially transformed pursuant to 19 CFR 12.130.


The cutting and sewing operations performed in Thailand constitute a substantial transformation as required by 19 CFR 12.130. The country of origin of the instant merchandise is Thailand.

The holding in this ruling applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in section 177.9(b)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.9(b)(1)). This section states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all of the information furnished in connection with the ruling request and incorporated in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect. Should it subsequently be determined that the information furnished is not complete and does not comply with 19 CFR 177.9(b)(1), the ruling will be subject to modification or revocation. In the event there is a change in the facts previously furnished this may affect the determination of country of origin. In such a case, it is recommended that a new ruling request be submitted in accordance with section 177.2, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.2).


John Durant, Director

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