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HQ 954872

December 2, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 954872 SK


Jacqueline M. Sierra
L.S. Quilting, Inc.
P.O. Box 362385
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936-2385

RE: Country of origin determination; 19 CFR 12.130; bed linen; for both flat and fitted sheets cutting to length and width, hemming and some other additional processing necessary in order for a substantial transformation to take place; HRL's 733180 HRL 953750 (6/21/93); Belcrest Linen v. U.S., 741 F.2d 1368 (1984).

Dear Ms. Sierra:

This is in reply to your letter of July 23, 1993, requesting a country of origin determination for a bed linen set. Two versions of a printed 50 percent polyester/ 50 percent cotton woven full size bed set were submitted to this office for examination. One version of the set has been submitted in its finished state, the other set consists of the cut unassembled components.

A response to your inquiry regarding eligibility for a partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), is forthcoming from the Headquarters Special Classification branch and will be sent to you under separate cover.


The bed linen set at issue consists of a flat sheet, fitted sheet and two pillow cases. The set will also be made in queen size and twin size (with only one pillow case in the twin size set). Woven printed fabric is imported from Pakistan. You do not specify whether the fabric is manufactured in Pakistan, but for purposes of this ruling, Customs will assume that to be the case. The fabric is sent to Puerto Rico where it is cut into component parts. The components are then sent to the Dominican Republic along with U.S. thread, elastic and packing materials for assembly.

The fabric for the pillowcases is cut on all four sides in Puerto Rico. In the Dominican Republic, these pieces are then sewn together on three sides and hemmed on the fourth.

The flat sheet components consist of an approximately 11 inch by 82 inch rectangle cut on all four sides and an 89-1/2 inch by 81-1/2 inch rectangle that has been cut on two sides. The top and bottom edges of the flat sheet have selvaged edges. In the Dominican Republic the smaller piece is sewn to the top edge of the flat sheet in a manner similar to capping and the two sides are hemmed.

The fitted sheet is cut on two sides and has a selvaged top and bottom edge. The fitted sheet is assembled in the Dominican Republic by folding and stitching the four corners. Elastic is sewn to the top and bottom edge and the two sides are finished with a merrow machine.

There is a difference between the finished fitted sheet sample and the component sample submitted to this office. The component sample has a selvage on the top and bottom while the finished sample does not. The component sample matches the description in your ruling request and will be used as the basis for our country of origin determination.


What is the country of origin of the subject merchandise?


Section 12.130 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130) is applicable to the merchandise at issue. Section 12.130(b) of the Customs Regulations 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 meets a two- pronged test: 1) the article must have been transformed by means of substantial manufacturing or processing operations; and 2) a new and different article of commerce must have been created.

Section 12.130(d) of the Customs Regulations sets forth criteria in determining whether a substantial transformation of a textile product has taken place. Section 12.130(d)(1) 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;
(iii) Commercial use.

Section 12.130(d)(2) of the Customs Regulations states that in 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 and/or technology required in the manufacturing or processing operations;
(v) The value added to the article or material;

Customs has previously dealt with the issue as to what manufacturing operations performed on bed linen will and will not be considered "substantial manufacturing operations" for purposes of conferring country of origin status under Section 12.130 of the Federal Regulations. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 733180, dated December 13, 1990, this office determined that fabric for a fitted sheet that had been cut to both length and width, hemmed and fitted with elastic at each of the four corners in country B was deemed to have undergone a substantial manufacturing operation. The flat sheet in HRL 733180 had also been cut to length and width and hemmed in country B, but had not undergone any additional processing and the sum total of the operations performed on the flat sheet were not deemed to be substantial in nature. In HRL 952225, dated December 8, 1992, Customs held that where a flat sheet had been cut to length and width, hemmed, and decorative ruffles had been affixed by sewing in country B, a substantial transformation had occurred. In HRL 952212, dated April 5, 1993, Customs determined that a flat sheet with two selvaged edges (indicating it had been cut in only one direction) did not undergo a substantial manufacturing process in the country where the cutting and sewing took place. In that ruling Customs stated, "... the mere cutting to length of a fabric [is not] a substantial manufacturing process as set forth in Section 12.130(e)(2)(ii)." This position was reiterated in HRL 953630, dated May 27, 1993, and in HRL 953750, dated June 21, 1993, where this office held that "[M]erely cutting fabric on two sides, hemming, and adding elastic is a simple processing operation. When making a determination as to whether fabric used to make sheets [whether flat or fitted] has been substantially transformed, the minimum processing required is cutting the fabric to length and width."

In essence, Customs mandates that in order for flat and fitted sheets to be deemed to have undergone a substantial manufacturing process in a particular country or foreign territory, the fabric must undergo, at a minimum, the cutting to length and
width of fabric, hemming and yet another processing step. Whether the processing operations performed on the sheet fabric, in addition to the cutting to length and width and hemming, constitute a substantial manufacturing operation which creates a new and different article of commerce will be analyzed by Customs on a case by case basis. In order to dispel any ambiguity as to what constitutes "cutting to length and width", Customs defines this term as cutting on all four sides of the fabric so as to create a component with no selvaged edges.

In the instant case, the cutting of the fabric for the sheets and pillow cases is performed in Puerto Rico. As set forth in 12.130(e)(2)(ii), the cutting of fabric to length or width (both the fitted and the flat sheet samples have two selvaged edges), will not confer country of origin status to an article. Accordingly, the articles of bed linen at issue are not products of Puerto Rico.

The assembly operations that take place in the Dominican Republic (i.e., the affixation by sewing of the top panel of the flat sheet, the affixation of the elastic to the fitted sheet, and the sewing on three sides of the pillow cases and hemming of the fourth side) are, by themselves, simple assembly operations and do not entail the requisite degree of complexity or skill to constitute substantial manufacturing operations for purposes of conferring country of origin status in the Dominican Republic.

We note that the manufacturing scenario in the instant case is to be distinguished from that presented in Belcrest Linens v. United States, 741 F.2d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 1984). In Belcrest, bolts of fabric were woven in China and stenciled with an embroidery design, cutting marks, and a scalloped edge, and then embroidered on the embroidery design. The fabric was shipped to Hong Kong where it was cut and the three sides of the pillow cases were sewn together. The court held that these pillow cases were substantially transformed in Hong Kong and therefore were products of Hong Kong for country of origin purposes. Based on Belcrest, this office issued HRL 086523, dated April 25, 1990, in which Customs determined that pillow cases, which were both cut and sewn together in a single country, were a product of that country. In the case before us, however, the pillow cases do not undergo both cutting and sewing in any one country; rather, the cutting takes place in Puerto Rico and the sewing in the Dominican Republic. Therefore, Belcrest Linen is not precedential in this instance and no substantial transformation is deemed to have occurred in either Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic.

The country of origin of the flat and fitted sheets and the pillow cases is where these articles last underwent a substantial
transformation. As the fabric for the sheets was formed in Pakistan, this is the country of origin of the flat and fitted sheets and pillow cases pursuant to 19 CFR 12.130(e)(1)(iii) which states that "an article or material usually will be a product of a ... country ... when it has undergone prior to importation into the U.S. ... weaving, knitting or otherwise forming fabric."


The country of origin for the flat and fitted sheets and the pillow cases is Pakistan.

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 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).


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