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HQ 952531

November 25, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952531 CAB


Mr. Bruce Shulman, Esq.
Stein Shostak Shostak & O'Hara
1620 L Street, N.W.
Suite 807
Washington, D.C. 20036-5605

RE: Country of origin of men's golf and polo shirts

Dear Mr. Shulman:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of August 31, 1992, on behalf of your client, BCTC, requesting a country of origin determination of men's polo and gulf shirts. No samples were submitted for examination.


The merchandise at issue will be constructed of pique knit fabric manufactured in Taiwan. The fabric will also be cut into garment pieces in Taiwan. After the processing in Taiwan, all the fabric pieces will be sent to China for final assembly which includes, sewing, ironing, folding, and packaging. The finished product will then be exported to the United States.

You state that the processing time in Taiwan is 13.3 minutes while the processing time in China is 7.05 minutes. Also, the total cost of processing in Taiwan is $4.07 and it is $1.325 in China.


What is the country of origin for the merchandise at issue?


Country of origin determinations for textile products are subject to Section 12.130, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130). Section 12.130 provides that a textile product that is processed in more than one country or territory shall be a product of that country or territory where it last underwent a substantial transformation. A 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(d), Customs Regulations, sets forth criteria for determining whether a substantial transformation of a textile product has taken place. This regulation states these criteria are not exhaustive; one or any combination of criteria may be determinative, and additional factors may be considered.

Section 12.130(d)(1), Customs Regulations, 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.

Section 12.130(d)(2), Customs Regulations, states that for 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

(ii) The time involved in the manufacturing or processing

(iii) The complexity of the manufacturing or processing

(iv) The level or degree of skill

(v) The value added to the article of material

Section 12.130(e)(1), Customs Regulations, describes manufacturing or processing operations from which an article will usually be considered a product of the country in which those operations occurred. Section 12.130(e)(1)(v) provides the following:

Substantial assembly by sewing and/or tailoring of all cut pieces of apparel articles which have been cut from fabric in another foreign territory or country, or insular possession, into a completed garment (e.g. the complete assembly and tailoring of all cut pieces of suit-type jackets, suits and shirts).

According to T.D. 85-38, the final document rule establishing 19 CFR 12.130:

The assembly of all the cut pieces of a garment usually is a substantial manufacturing process that results in an article with a different name, character, or use than the cut pieces. It should be noted that not all assembly operations of cut garment pieces will amount to a substantial transformation of those pieces. Where either less than a complete assembly of all the cut pieces of a garment is performed in one country, or the assembly is a relatively simple one, then Customs will rule on the particular factual situation as they arise, utilizing the criteria in section 12.130(d).

Customs has consistently determined that cutting of fabric into garment pieces constitutes a substantial transformation of the fabric, whereby the clothing pieces become a product of the country where the fabric is cut. (See e.g. Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 089539, dated April 22, 1992; HRL 951426, dated April 8, 1992; HRL 089834, dated September 26, 1991; and HRL 084979, dated October 23, 1989.)

Also, Customs has long held that the mere assembly of goods, entailing simple combining operations, trimming or joining together by sewing is not enough to substantially transform the components of an article into a new and different article of commerce. (See e.g. HRL 082787, dated March 9, 1989; and HRL 082747, dated February 23, 1989.)

The sewing operation performed in China involves the simple assembly of several cut pattern pieces. The sewing does not involve the complex sewing operation required by Section 12.130(e)(1)(v). The cutting process in Taiwan, however, does constitute a substantial transformation. The processing materially changes the fabric into designated garment pieces, which constitutes new and different articles of commerce. Thus, the country of origin of the articles in question is Taiwan.


The country of origin of the articles in question is Taiwan.

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 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
Commercial Rulings Division

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