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HQ 088245

March 26, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088245 JS


Rashid Humayun
Brexco, Inc.
P.O.Box 3322
Arlington, VA 22203

RE: Country of Origin of Surgical Towels

Dear Mr. Humayun:

This is in reference to your letter of November 20, 1990, requesting a country of origin determination for surgical towels imported from Bangladesh.


The sample at issue is 100 percent cotton fabric which is woven in China and then exported to Bangladesh in uncut, unmarked rolls of 100 meter lengths and 36 or 54 inch widths.

You state that the manufacturing processes which occur in Bangladesh are as follows:

- the fabric is bleached white by a mechanized process

- the bleached fabric is dyed blue and dried by mechanized processes in accordance with USFDA regulations

- testing for color fastness and toxicity is conducted

- the fabric is cut into 18 inch x 29 inch rectangles by a process which is partially mechanized and partially manual

- the cut fabric is manually sewn and hemmed

- the towels are manually folded and packed


Whether cutting, hemming and sewing in Bangladesh of fabric woven in China constitutes a substantial manufacturing process such that the completed surgical towels would be considered a manufacture of Bangladesh for purposes of 19 CFR 12.130.


The country of origin of textiles and textile products is determined by the application of Section 12.130 of the Customs Regulations. In determining the country of origin of textile or textile products which consist of materials produced or derived from, or processed in, more than one country, the imported article is considered to be a product of the country in which the last substantial transformation took place. A product has 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. A new and different article of commerce will usually result when there is a change in commercial designation or identity, fundamental character or commercial use.

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.

In accordance with 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.

Although most of the manufacturing processes at issue occur in Bangladesh, 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 of the raw material marks it for use as surgical towels.

The processing which takes place in Bangladesh 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 information you provide regarding the manufacturing steps carried out in Bangladesh do not result in anything more than the cutting, hemming and stitching of specialized fabric as contemplated in the rulings above. Consequently, the towels have not been substantially transformed in Bangladesh. 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 Bangladesh 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 Rulings Division

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