United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1991 HQ Rulings > HQ 0088055 - HQ 0088142 > HQ 0088078

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 088078

November 14, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 088078 JS


William A. Zeitler
Bell, Boyd & Lloyd
1615 L Street, NW
Washington, D.C.

RE: Request for reconsideration of HQ 086971; surgical towels

Dear Mr. Zeitler:

By letter dated July 30, 1990, you requested reconsideration, on behalf of your client Parkins, Inc., of HQ 086971 (June 19, 1990). HQ 086971 determined that China, where raw material to be used in the manufacture of surgical towels was woven and dyed, is the country of origin pursuant to 19 CFR 12.130. Upon further review, that ruling is determined to be correct.


The merchandise at issue are surgical towels constructed of 100 percent cotton fabric which is woven, dyed and placed on rolls in China. Thereafter the goods are exported to Mexico, where they undergo the following processes: the fabric is cut and sewn, washed and dried, delinted, inspected, folded, and packaged. Furthermore, some or all of these activities are carried out in a special environment designed to protect against contamination of the goods, which complies with the manufacturing standards for surgical towels set by medical buyers.


Whether the additional information provided regarding the time, complexity and value added pursuant to the operations performed in Mexico constitute a manufacturing or processing operation resulting in a substantial transformation for purposes of 19 CFR 12.130.


Although most of the manufacturing processes at issue occur in Mexico, the weaving of the raw material in China is deemed to be the factor which contributes most to the creation of the final product. The fabric constructed in China is manufactured in such a way as to be readily identifiable in the industry as surgical toweling fabric; the special weave and the blue dye of the raw material further marks its intended use in the manufacture of these towels.

We also note that the cost of production and value added information you provided in your July 30 letter substantiates the designation of China as the country of origin, since the greater percentage of value added occurs in China rather than in Mexico.

The processing which takes place in Mexico does not indicate, as regards the time or level of skill required, that assembly requires anything more than a number of simple operations which do not constitute a substantial manufacturing or processing operation. See, HQ 086132 (February 2, 1990) and HQ 086971 (June 19, 1990)(cutting, hemming and stitching of fabric not considered substantial manufacturing process as compared to weaving of original surgical toweling material). The machines used in weaving the fabric are, as you state, operated on a 24 hour basis, as opposed to the lessor time required for the processing functions conducted in Mexico. Furthermore, the detailed information you provide regarding the Mexican manufacturing steps does not result in anything more than the cutting, hemming and stitching of specialized fabric as contemplated in the rulings above.

HQ 555590 (May 21, 1990), which you cite as precedent in part D of your letter, has been modified by HQ 733848 (October 30, 1990) to state that the country of origin for surgical toweling is the country where the fabric is made, as indicated by a long line of precedent stated therein.

Consequently, the towels have not been substantially transformed in Mexico. Wherever the fabric is produced is therefore the country of origin pursuant to 19 CFR 12.130 for quota and country of origin marking purposes.


The assembly operations performed in Mexico do not constitute a substantial transformation as required by 19 CFR 12.130. The country of origin for the merchandise at issue is China, and a Chinese visa must accompany the goods.

The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in Customs Regulations 19 CFR 177.9 (b)(1), which states that a ruling letter is issued on the assumption that all information furnished in connection with the ruling request and incorporated therein, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect. Should it be subsequently 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 that there is a change in the facts previously furnished, the country of origin determination may be affected. In such 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
Commercial Operations Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling