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HQ 953233

March 22, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 953233 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6209.20.5040

Mr. Philip D. Anderson
Empire Trading Company Ltd.
6489 Ridings Road
Syracuse, N.Y. 13206

RE: Classification and country of origin of diapers.

Dear Mr. Anderson:

This is in reply to your letter of December 30, 1992. That letter concerned the tariff classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), and country of origin determination, of diapers, produced in either China or Jamaica.


The merchandise at issue consists of 14 inches by 21 inches "2-6-2" ply children's diapers weighing 2.2 pounds, for sale to diaper services. One hundred percent cotton fabric with reinforced edges is imported into Jamaica from China (Sichuan Textiles I/E Corp.) in 35 inches wide by 900 foot long bales. The fabric is composed of a series of double woven sections separated by single woven sections, forming pockets throughout the width of the cloth. The weave direction reverses as the fabric alternates between single and double weave. The cloth is softened by storage for 60 days.

The cloth is laid out on a 48 foot long table, straightened and flattened. A pattern to make the 14 inch by 21 inch diapers is placed on the cloth and marked with washable marker ink. The fabric is then cut lengthwise, and a bundle of 10 dozen cloth pieces is rolled up and delivered to a storage shelf for later distribution to sewing station operators.

The sewing operators fold the diapers into the appropriate configuration so that the reinforced edges are on the outside. Two center panel stitches are made. The goods are then inspected and sent to a second sewing operation which trims and hems the top of the pieces. The bottoms are then trimmed and hemmed. The goods are reinspected.

The goods are moved to a third sewing operation, where the hem threads are trimmed and individually bar tacked on each of the four corners. The goods are moved to another area, where they are folded and packaged in one dozen diaper lots. These lots are moved to a pressing machine for packaging into 50 dozen bundles. The bundles will be imported through the New York and Philadelphia ports.


How are these goods classified under the HTSUSA? What is there country of origin 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). As was demonstrated by you at conference with the Assistant Commissioner, Commercial Operations and members of my staff, the alternating single and double woven sections of the 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 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. 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 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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