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HQ 955208

January 13, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955208 CAB


Mr. Samuel Chow
Taiwan Garments Manufacturing
Company Ltd.
P.O. Box 82
Taipei, Taiwan

RE: Country of origin of men's trousers

Dear Mr. Chow:

This is in response to your inquiry of October 8, 1993, requesting a country of origin determination for men's trousers. A sample was submitted for examination.


The trousers in question which are referred to as Style 6068, contain a zippered closure, side pockets, double front pleats, two back pockets with a button closure and belt loops. The pants are constructed of 50 percent polyester/50 percent rayon fabric and other materials that are produced in Taiwan. The fabric will also be cut into garment pieces in Taiwan. The cut clothing pieces will then be exported to Country B or any other 3rd country for sewing and assembly into the finished product. The finished product will then be packaged and exported to the United States.


What is the country of origin of the merchandise in question?


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 operation

(iii) The complexity of the manufacturing or processing operation

(iv) The level or degree of skill and/or technology required

(v) The value added to the article or 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 operation 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 fabric into garment pieces constitutes a substantial transformation of the fabric and the clothing pieces become products of the country where the fabric is cut. (See e.g. Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 952531, dated November 25, 1992, HRL 089539, dated April 22, 1992).

Customs has also 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 HRL 092787, dated March 9, 1989; and HRL 082747, dated February 23, 1989).

In this instance, the sewing operation performed in Country B or any other third country involves the simple assembly of various garment pieces. The sewing does not amount to the complex sewing operation required by Section 12.130(e)(1)(v). The cutting process in Taiwan, however, does result in a substantial manufacturing operation. The cutting materially changes the fabric into designated garment pieces, which constitutes new and different articles of commerce. Also, the value added to the subject garment in Taiwan is substantially more than the value added to the goods in the country of assembly. Therefore, the trousers at issue are a product of Taiwan.


The country of origin of Style 6068 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

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