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HQ 952536

February 1, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952536 HP


Mr. William W. Jackson
Woo Brown Jackson
P.O. Box 779 Boroko
Papua New Guinea

RE: Country of origin of t-shirts.

Dear Mr. Jackson:

This is in reply to your letters of September 10, 1992, and January 12, 1993. Those letters requested a country of origin determination of t-shirts. Please reference your client Woo Textile Corp. Pty. Ltd.


The merchandise at issue consists of either knitted or woven t-shirts, either 100 percent cotton or a 65 percent polyester / 35 percent cotton blend. Presently, the knitted fabrics come into Papua New Guinea (PNG) from either Australia, Japan, Hong Kong or Singapore in rolled bundles with an average weight of 45 pounds. The woven material comes from the same countries, "rolled normally with 44/45 x 120 yards." At this time, the garments are cut, sewn, trimmed and finished in PNG.

You now question as to the country of origin of "pre-cuts to be finished off in PNG" for export to the United States. It is our understanding that the fabric will be either knitted or woven and cut to patterned sizes and shapes in either Australia, Japan, Hong Kong or Singapore, and the patterned pieces assembled into t-shirts, packaged and shipped in PNG.


Whether the assembly in PNG of the cut patterned pieces results in a substantial transformation for purposes of 12.130, Customs Regulations?


Textile commodities produced in more than one foreign country are subject to the country of origin requirements delineated in section 12.130 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 12.130). These regulations provide that:

. . . a textile product . . . which consists of materials produced or derived from, or processed in, more than one foreign . . . country shall be a product of that foreign . . . country where it last underwent a substantial transformation.

12.130(b). A textile product undergoes a substantial transformation when it is ". . . transformed by means of substantial manufacturing or processing operations into a new and different article of commerce."

Section 12.130 of the regulations outlines the criteria used to determine the country of origin for textiles and textile products. Specifically, this provision of the regulations is considered in determining whether a textile product has undergone substantial manufacturing or processing operations, and what constitutes a new and different article of commerce. The factors considered are not exhaustive. In fact, "one or any combination of criteria may be determinative, and additional factors may be considered." In determining whether merchandise has undergone substantial manufacturing or processing operations, we consider the (1) physical change in the material or the article; (2) time involved; (3) complexity of the operations; (4) level or degree of skill and/or technology required; and (5) value added to the article in each country.

It is well accepted that the cutting of fabric into necessary patterned pieces and assembly of those pieces into the completed article results in a substantial transformation of the fabric. See HRL 734394 of February 10, 1992; HRL 556070 of July 1, 1991. A substantial transformation does not occur, however, when those patterned pieces are shipped to a third country and merely assembled. See HRL 555489 of May 14, 1990; HRL 086229 of April 11, 1990; HRL 731036 of July 18, 1989.

Examining the merchandise at issue, it is our opinion that the assembly operations performed in PNG do not substantially transform the t-shirts into products of PNG. Those operations constitute a simple sewing of the cut patterned pieces into a t- shirt. This assembly is distinguished from the complex sewing operations required when manufacturing a suit, suit-type jacket, or tailored shirt. See 12.130(e)(v), Customs Regulations. The t-shirts would therefore be considered products of the country where the fabric was created and the patterned pieces cut to shape.


As a result of the foregoing, the t-shirts are considered a product of country "A", where the fabric was created and the patterned pieces cut to shape.

The holding in this ruling applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in 177.9(b)(1), Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 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 C.F.R. 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. In such a case, it is recommended that a new ruling request be submitted in accordance with 177.2, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177.2).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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