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HQ 734631

September 4, 1992
MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 734631 ER


Mr. Arnold Edelman
Vice President
Sabtex (N.Y.) Ltd.
120 Van Nostrand Avenue
P. O. Box 1255
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632

RE: Country of origin marking of imported flat and fitted bed sheets and pillow cases; 19 CFR 12.130; substantial transformation; greige fabric; textiles.

Dear Mr. Edelman:

This is in response to your letter dated May 5, 1992, in which your request a country of origin ruling regarding imported flat and fitted bed sheets and pillow cases.


Greige fabric produced in country A is shipped to country B for further processing. There, the greige fabric will be: (a) desized; (2) scoured; (c) shrunk; (d) bleached; (e) singed; (f) sized and finished; (g) stentor dried and shrunk; and (h) calendered. Upon completion of these processes the bleached fabric is cut and sewn into flat and fitted sheets of various sizes and pillow cases. The merchandise is then folded and packaged for either retail or institutional sales, packed and shipped to the U.S. Neither samples nor details of the processing were provided.


What is the country of origin for marking purposes of the bed sheets and pillow cases?


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.

Section 12.130, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130), sets forth the principles for making country of origin determinations for textile and textile products subject to section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1854).

Pursuant to 19 CFR 12.130, the standard of substantial transformation governs the determination of the country of origin where textiles and textile products are processed in more than one country. The country of origin of textile products is deemed to be that foreign territory, country, or insular possession where the article last underwent a substantial transformation. Substantial transformation is said to occur when the article has been transformed into a new and different article of commerce by means of substantial manufacturing or processing operations.

Section 12.130(d), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130(d)) sets forth criteria in determining whether a substantial transformation of a textile product has taken place. This regulation states that these criteria are not exhaustive; one or any combination of criteria may be determinative, and additional factors may be considered.

19 CFR 12.130(d)(1) states that a new and different article of commerce will usually result from a manufacturing or processing operation if there is a change in:

(i) Commercial designation or identity,
(ii) Fundamental character or
(iii) Commercial use.

19 CFR 12.130(d)(2) of the Customs Regulations states that in determining whether merchandise has been subjected to substantial manufacturing or processing operations the following will be considered:

(i) The physical change in the material or article as a result of the manufacturing or processing operations in each foreign territory or country, or insular possession of the U.S.

(ii) The time involved in the manufacturing or processing operations in each foreign territory, or country, or insular possession of the U.S.

(iii) The complexity of the manufacturing or processing operations in each foreign territory or country, or insular possession of the U.S.

(iv) The level or degree of skill and/or technology required in the manufacturing or processing operations in each foreign territory or country, or insular possession of the U.S.

(v) The value added to the article or material in each foreign territory or country, or insular possession of the U.S., compared to its value when imported into the U.S.

Section 12.130(e), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130(e)) provides the following:

An article or material usually will be a product of a particular foreign territory or country, or insular possession of the U.S., when it has undergone prior to importation into the U.S. in that foreign territory or country, or insular possession any of the following:

(i) Dyeing of fabric and printing when accompanied by two or more of the following finishing operations: bleaching, shrinking, fulling, napping, decating, permanent stiffening, weighting, permanent embossing, or moireing.

The Customs Service has consistently held that in order to comply with Section 12.130(e)(1)(i) of the Customs Regulations, a fabric must be both dyed and printed, as well as being subjected to the other required processing. See HQ 950780 (August 14, 1992). The fabric as issue is not both dyed and printed and does not meet the requirements of section 12.130(e)(1)(i).

The cutting and sewing of the fabric to make the flat bed sheets are not complex operations and do not require a high degree of skill or technology. This conclusion is consistent with prior rulings concerning the country of origin of bed sheets. (See, e.g., HQ 950780 (August 14, 1992).) Consequently, the flat bed sheet is not substantially transformed in country B, and the country of origin for this article is the country in which the fabric is formed.

The fitted bed sheet undergoes additional processing following the cutting of the fabric to size and pattern in that it must be cut at the corners and elastic must be sewn into the article so that the corners will fit securely over a mattress. These processes take more time and skill, and are more complex, than cutting and hemming in straight lines used in making flat bed sheets. Therefore, consistent with HQ 950780 (August 14, 1992), we conclude that the fitted sheet undergoes substantial manufacturing and processing operations in country B. Consequently, the country of origin of this article is country B.

In Belcrest Linens v. U.S., 741 F.2d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 1984), the court held that the process of making a bolt of woven fabric which was pre-marked into a pillowcase was a substantial transformation. In addition, in HQ 950780 (August 14, 1992), a decision involving merchandise identical to that at issue in the instant case, Customs ruled that a substantial transformation occurred where greige fabric from one country was sent to another country for processing, cutting and hemming to produce the finished pillow case and fitted sheet. Therefore, consistent with the Belcrest Linens decision and HQ 950780, the pillow cases at issue have been substantially transformed in country B and are products of country B for country or origin purposes.


The country of origin of the flat bed sheet is the country in which the fabric is woven. The country or origin of the fitted bed sheet and pillow case is country B.

This holding 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. Accordingly, 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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