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HQ 734670

December 3, 1992

MAR-2-05 CO:R:C:V 734670 RSD


Edward Otrompke
Customs Compliance Manager
Kmart Fashions
7373 West Side Avenue
North Bergen, New Jersey 07047-6411

RE: Country of origin marking requirements for imported hair bows; sewing; simple assembly; 19 CFR 12.130; 19 CFR 134.1(b); HQ 733603

Dear Mr. Otrompke:

This is in response to your letter dated April 22, 1992, addressed to the national import specialist at the New York Seaport regarding the country of origin marking requirements for imported hair bows. The national import specialist has forwarded your letter to our office for a reply. Accompanying your letter were samples of a finished hair bow and an unassembled hair bow.


Kmart Corporation is planning to import hair bows. The hair bow is composed of a textile fabric and a metal clip, both of which are made in Taiwan. The fabric is also cut in Taiwan. The pieces of fabric and the clip are sent to China for sewing and assembly into the finished hair bow. Based on the samples submitted, the fabric appears to be twisted into the shape of the finished bow before it is sewn together. No description of the sewing operation, including the time it takes and the skill level, was furnished. However, it appears that the sewing operation is not especially complicated. The finished bow is about 7 inches wide and about 4 inches long at the widest point.


Does the sewing of the fabric and the assembly of the hair bow constitute a substantial transformation?


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. Congressional intent in enacting 19 U.S.C. 1304 was "that the ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of the marking on the imported goods the country of which the goods is the product. The evident purpose is to mark the goods so that at the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were produced, be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will." United States v. Friedlaender & Co., 27 C.C.P.A. 297 at 302 (1940).

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. Section 134.1(b), Customs Regulations ( 19 CFR 134.1(b))), defines "country of origin" as the country of manufacture, production or growth of any article of foreign origin entering the U.S. Further work or material added to an article in another country must effect a substantial transformation in order to render such other country the country of origin within the meaning of the marking laws and regulations. The case of U.S. v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., Inc., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (C.A.D. 98) (1940), provides that an article used in manufacture which results in an article having a name, character, or use differing from that of the constituent article will be considered substantially transformed.

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)("section 204"). According to T.D. 90-17, published in the Federal Register on March 1, 1990, (55 FR 7303), the principles of country of origin for textiles and textile products contained in 19 CFR 12.130 are applicable to such merchandise for all purposes, including duty and marking. Customs has determined that 19 CFR 12.130 will be applied to determine the country of origin of all imported articles which are classified in Section XI, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, or to any imported article classified outside of Section XI, HTSUSA, under a subheading which has a textile category number associated with it.

Although the hair bows are composed largely of fabric, we have been informally advised by the Textile Classification Branch that at present the bows are not classified in section XI or under a subheading which has a textile category number associated with it, but this determination is now under a review. Accordingly, for the purposes of this ruling, the regular substantial transformation rules will be applied to determine the country of origin of the hair bows. In the event the hair bows are reclassified to a subheading that has a textile category number associated with it, the substantial transformation rules of 19 CFR 12.130 would apply.

In HQ 733603 October 15, 1991, Customs considered the country of origin for a barrette made up of a base metal clip and fabric bow. The clip was made in France and the fabric bow was made in Canada. The clips were attached to the bows in Canada. We determined that the manufacturing process in Canada, wherein a Canadian-made bow was combined with a French-made clip, was a substantial transformation of the clip. In another words, the country of origin of the finished barrette was Canada.

This case is distinguishable from HQ 733603 because in that case one of the two major components of the hair bow originated from the same country where the assembly was performed. Conversely, in the instant case, neither component originates from China, the place of assembly. The simple stitching together in China of Taiwanese fabric which is pre-cut to size in Taiwan and the subsequent attachment of a clip of Taiwanese origin to the bow constitute simple finishing operations which do not change the essential character of the fabric and clip. (See HQ 734350, April 9, 1992) where Customs ruled that where neither of the two components used to create a hair bow originated from the same country as the country of assembly, no substantial transformation could be said to occur.) Therefore, we find that the fabric and clip are not substantially transformed in China.


The assembly in China of a clip and bow, both of Taiwanese origin, to form a hair bow does not result in a substantial transformation of the components. The country of origin of the hair bow is Taiwan. Accordingly, the hair bow should be permanently legibly, and conspicuously marked to indicate that its country of origin is Taiwan.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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