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HQ 953089

March 29, 1993
CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 953089 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6209.20.5040

Mr. Philip D. Anderson
Empire Trading Company
6489 Ridings Road
Syracuse, NY 13206

RE: Classification and country of origin of diapers.

Dear Mr. Anderson:

This is in reply to your letter of December 16, 1992. That letter concerned the tariff classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of diapers, imported into Jamaica in the form of cloth produced, for the purposes of this ruling, in China. You state that this cloth may also be obtained from Pakistan or India. In addition, you requested a country of origin determination of those diapers.


The merchandise at issue consists of 12 inches x 16 inches and 14 inches x 21 inches infants 100% gauze cotton woven diapers, constructed by Meigao Jamaica Company Ltd.. The diapers are known as either 4-8-4 or 4-9-4, whereas they are eight or nine layers in the middle and four layers on the sides. They are hemmed and bartacked.

The outer cloth of the completed diaper, as imported into Jamaica, is 100% cotton single ply woven fabric with no lines of demarcation. The "filler" cloth of the completed diaper, as imported into Jamaica, is 100% cotton two ply woven fabric, with alternating single and double ply sections running lengthwise. The cloths are received in 900 foot long bales, in widths from 30 to 59 inches. The "filler" cloth is laid out on a 48 foot long table, straightened and flattened. A pattern, depending on the size and construction of the diapers to be made, is placed on the cloth and outlined in washable marking pen. It is then cut lengthwise. A bundle of ten pieces of "filler" cloth is rolled up and delivered to a storage shelf for later distribution to sewing station operators, who fold the cloth into shape and sew two center panels stitches only. The "filler" is inspected and moved to a second sewing station operator, who trims and hems the tops and bottoms for stability. It is again inspected and moved to an area for distribution and mating with the outer cloth.

The outer cloth is laid out on a 48 foot long table, straightened and flattened. A pattern is placed on the cloth and outlined in washable marking pen. The cloth is cut either to length and width or merely to length. The "filler" is placed on the outer cloth. The outer cloth is folded around the "filler," with either two or three layers used to reinforce the center panel. Sewing lines are marked on the outer cloth by hand with washable marking pen. Two center seams are sewn. The diapers are inspected and brought to another sewing station for trimming of the entire (outer and "filler") piece, and final hemming of the top and bottom. Goods are then moved to another sewing station for bar tacking of all four corners. After final trim and inspection, the diapers are moved for folding and wrapping in one dozen lots. They are then moved to a pressing machine for packing in 50 dozen bales.


How are the diapers classified under the HTSUSA? What is the country of origin of the diapers for quota/visa purposes?



The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part, that such "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings . . . ." Heading 6209, HTSUSA, provides for babies' woven garments and clothing accessories. The diapers at issue are appropriately classified herein.

Country of Origin

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.

Customs has long held that producing diapers from plain cotton fabric suitable for multiple uses is considered a substantial transformation when the manufacturing and processing operations include, inter alia, cutting to length and width or length alone, complex folding to create the diaper's unique multi-layer middle portion, hemming and/or overlocking the edges, and finishing and packaging. HRL 950849 of March 24, 1992; HRL 953078 of January 25, 1993. Contra HRL 087950 of January 9, 1991; HRL 088321 of March 7, 1991 (merely cutting fabric into squares and hemming insufficient to constitute substantial manufacturing process).

Our examination of the finished diaper has shown that the cutting, folding, sewing and hemming operations performed on the "filler" in fact create a smaller diaper virtually indistinguishable from the completed article. We note that the alternating single and double woven sections of the "filler" cloth facilitate the cutting, folding and sewing of the fabric into a diaper. The double woven sections are manufactured in this way to increase absorbency and prevent leakage throughout the diaper. The alternating single woven sections provide markers (lines of demarcation) for folding and provide a more dense and solid base for sewing the diaper.

It is our opinion that the weave structure of the "filler" fabric confirms the fact that the material is intended for use as diapers. The changing of the weaves is performed at additional cost and for the specific purpose of creating markers for folding. The outer cloth is merely folded around the already completed smaller diaper, and that smaller diaper is used as a template to hand-draw the sewing lines. As a result, no substantial transformation takes place. The diapers are therefore considered a product of China.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified as woven cotton diapers of China, classified under subheading 6209.20.5040, HTSUSA, textile category 239. The applicable rate of duty is 9.9 percent ad valorem.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent negotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

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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