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HQ 089767

October 21, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089767 PR


Michele F. Forte, Esquire
Ross & Hardies
529 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10017-4608

RE: Country of origin of sweaters.

Dear Ms. Forte:

This is in reply to your letter of June 17, 1991, on behalf of Associated Merchandising Corporation, concerning the country of origin of certain sweaters. Our ruling on the matter follows.


Two finished garments were submitted as samples. Each garment is a slightly longer than waist-length sweater with a six button full-front opening extending to the neck, shoulder pads, and long sleeves.

The garment designated style W3204 has three nonfunctional buttons attached to a knitted strip of fabric near the sleeve opening; two pockets below the waist; a simulated chest area pocket; and knit capping which finishes the neck opening and extends down both sides of the front opening and around the bottom of the garment.

The garment labelled style S5024 has rib-knit cuffs on the long sleeves; a rib-knit waistband; after applied (linked) multicolored plackets and neckband; and frog-like closures utilizing both functional (on the left side) and nonfunctional (on the right side) nontextile buttons on the front opening.

Samples of the fabric which will be knit in Taiwan (country A) and sent to either Hong Kong or the Dominican Republic (country B) where it will be cut into sweater components using paper patterns and then assembled into complete garments were submitted. The sample for style S5024 measures approximately 175 inches by 60 inches. It is divided into seven repeats, each about 25 inches wide with a rib-knit band (which will be the waistband on each garment) running along one 60 inch edge of each section. It does not contain any discernible cutting lines or other means of identifying the individual sweater components to be cut from each 25 by 60 inch section.

Based on the size of the rib knit bands and the slight difference in pattern between the sleeve and body panels on the completed garment, it appears that the body panels will be cut from the submitted sample of fabric. For the purposes of this ruling we assume that the fabric from which the sleeve panels are cut also does not contain any cutting lines or any markings showing where the fabric is to be cut.

Two other pieces of fabric (with a blue plaid design) were submitted. We assume that this fabric is cut and made into garments represented by style W3204. Both pieces of fabric have cutting lines knitted into them. The body panels that will be cut from one fabric and the sleeve panels that will be cut from the other fabric are readily identifiable.

According to the information submitted, in country B a V-bed knitting machine will be used to knit the remainder of style W3204, i.e. plackets, pockets, waistband, and sleeve plackets. The garments are then completely assembled in country B. However, the placket for style S5024 will be knit in country A and attached to the garment in country B. No mention is made of the origin of the shoulder pads for either garment. Accordingly, for the purposes of this ruling, we will assume that the shoulder pads are a product of country B.


The issue presented is whether the cutting of the fabric into garment panels and the assembly of those cut pieces in country B is sufficient to cause those sweaters to be products of country B for duty, marking, and textile restraint purposes.


Section 12.130(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130) provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

(b) Country of origin. For the purpose of this section * * * a textile or textile product * * * which consists of materials produced or derived from, or processed in, more than one foreign territory or country, or insular possession of the U.S., shall be a product of that foreign territory or country, or insular possession 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(e)(1)(iv), of the same regulation states that the cutting of fabric into parts and the assembly of those parts into the completed article will usually result in the article being a product of the country doing the cutting and assembly. It appears, if the assumptions made above are correct, that this portion of the regulation is applicable to style S5024 and it is, therefore, a product of country B. However, note that this result will not be valid if the fabric leaving country A contains cutting lines or other markings which establish the identity of the components to be cut from that fabric.

Section 12.130(e)(2)(iii) provides that an article usually will not be considered to be a product of a second country where otherwise completed knit-to-shape component parts from one country have been merely assembled in the second country. In this regard, Customs has consistently ruled that fabric with cutting lines or other markings establishing the identity of apparel parts will be treated as knit-to-shape components. Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088069, dated January 25, 1990, illustrates this rule and also involves merchandise which is very similar to the blue plaid fabric. See also HRL 089155, dated May 20, 1991. Accordingly, garments made from that fabric are products of the country where the fabric was knit.


Based on the information submitted and the assumptions made, style S5024 is a product of country B for duty, marking, and textile restraint purposes, and style W3204 is a product of country A for duty, marking, and textile restraint purposes.


John Durant, Director

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