United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1994 HQ Rulings > HQ 0956335 - HQ 0956469 > HQ 0956421

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 956421

September 7, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956421 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 5516.14.0010

Mr. Allan R. Grant
International Development Systems Inc.
733 15th Street, N.W.
Suite 520
Washington, D.C. 20005

RE: Classification of fabric; Heading 5516; Section 12.130, Customs Regulations

Dear Mr. Grant:

This is in response to your inquiry of May 16, 1994, requesting the country of origin and tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for certain woven printed fabric on behalf of Carolina Fabrics Limited. A sample was submitted for examination.


The submitted sample is a printed woven fabric composed of 100 percent viscose rayon. It contains 26.8 single yarns per centimeter in the warp and 23.6 single yarn per centimeter in the filling. The manufacturing process for the subject fabric is as follows: Yarn from either Indonesia or India is woven into greige goods in the United Arab Emirates [hereinafter U.A.E.]; the greige fabric will also undergo warping, sizing, weaving, inspection and packing in the U.A.E.. The fabric is then shipped to Pakistan for further processing. In Pakistan, the greige fabric will be desized, scowed (singed), semi-bleached, and printed. The fabric is then exported to the United States.


I. What is the proper tariff classification for the material at issue?

II. What is the country of origin for the material at issue?



Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's taken in order.

Heading 5516, HTSUSA, is the provision for woven fabrics of artificial staple fibers.

Note 1 to Chapter 54, HTSUSA, which defines man-made artificial fibers, states the following:

Throughout the tariff schedule, the term "man-made fibers" means staple fibers and filaments of organic polymers produced by manufacturing processes, either:

(a) By polymerization of organic monomers, such as polyamides, polyesters, polyurethanes or polyvinyl derivatives; or

(b) By chemical transformation of natural organic polymers (for example, cellulose, casein, proteins or algae), such as viscose rayon, cellulose acetate, cupro or alginates.

The terms "synthetic" and "artificial", used in relation to fibers, mean: synthetic: fibers as defined at (a); artificial: fibers as defined at (b).

The terms "man-made", "synthetic" and "artificial" shall have the same meanings when used in relation to "textile materials".

The instant fabric is a woven fabric comprised of 100 percent rayon, which is an artificial fiber and thus, the fabric fits squarely into Heading 5516, HTSUSA.


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 operations;

(iii) The complexity of the manufacturing or processing operations;

(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.

Section 12.130(e)(1) provides the following, in pertinent part:

* * * [A]n article or material usually will be a product of a particular foreign territory or country, or insular possession of the U.S., when it has undergone prior to importation into the U.S. in that foreign territory or country, or insular possession any of the following:

(i) Dyeing of fabric and printing when accompanied by two or more of the following finishing operations: bleaching, shrinking, fulling, napping, decating, permanent stiffening, weighting, permanent embossing, or moireing;

Section 12.130(e)(2) further provides:

An article or material usually will not be considered to be a product of a particular foreign territory or country, or insular possession of the U.S. by virtue of merely having undergone any of the following:

(iv) One or more finishing operations on yarns, fabrics, or other textile articles, such as showerproofing, superwashing, bleaching, decating, fulling, shrinking, mercerizing, or similar operations; or

(v) Dyeing and/or printing of fabrics or yarns.

Customs has been consistent in its determinations that where dyeing and printing are not accompanied by two or more of the operations enumerated in 12.130(e)(1)(i), or where processing involves only one or more finishing operations with no dyeing and printing, or dyeing and printing alone, substantial transformation does not occur for country of origin purposes. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 953905, dated July 30, 1993. See also, HRL 952759, dated November 25, 1992, where Customs concluded that fabric that had been manufactured in Country "A", bleached and printed in Country "B", and finally brushed, pre-shrunk, cut, hemmed, labeled, folded and packaged in Country "X" was a product of Country "A".

In the instant case as well as the cited Customs rulings, the fabric in question is not dyed and printed in addition to other processing in any single country. Instead, the subject fabric is warped, sized and woven in the U.A.E. The fabric is then shipped to Pakistan where it is desized, scowed (singed), semi-bleached, and printed. Consequently, since the fabric has not been processed in accordance with Section 12.130(e)(1)(i), it underwent its last substantial transformation in the U.A.E where the fabric was woven.

This interpretation of Section 12.130 was upheld by the United States Court of International Trade in Mast Industries Inc. v. United States, 652 F.Supp. 1531 (1987); aff'd 822 F.2d 1069 (CAFC, 1989). That case involved greige cotton fabric produced in China and sent to Hong Kong for singeing, desizing, scouring, bleaching, mercerizing, dyeing, softening, and tentering. The court stated that in determining the meaning of an agency's regulation, it would defer to that agency's interpretation unless the interpretation is plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation. The court found that Customs' interpretation was reasonable and approved of Customs denying entry to the finished product without a visa from the Government of China.

The country of origin of the subject fabric is the U.A.E.

This ruling is issued pursuant to the provisions of Part 177 Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 177). The holding in this ruling only applies to the specific factual situation presented and the merchandise identified in the ruling request. If the information furnished is not accurate or complete, or there is a change in the factual situation, this ruling will no longer be valid. In such an event, a new ruling request should be submitted.

Based on the foregoing, the subject fabric is classifiable under subheading 5516.14.0010, HTSUSA, which provides for woven fabrics of artificial staple fibers, containing 85 percent or more by weight of artificial fibers, printed, plain weave. The applicable rate of duty is 17 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 611.

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 renegotiations 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 internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection 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 applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: