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 > 1995 HQ Rulings > HQ 953430 - HQ 953932 > HQ 953565

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 953565

April 26, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 953565 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6110.30.3055

Ms. Andrea Bushee
Vital International Freight
625 First Ave., #5
Seattle, WA 98104

RE: Classification of women's upper body garment; cardigan; jacket; sweater; Heading 6110; Heading 6102; Statistical Note 3, Chapter 61, Section XI; Country of origin determination; 19 CFR 12.130, Customs Regulations

Dear Ms. Bushee:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of January 28, 1993, requesting a country of origin determination and a tariff classification for a woman's upper body garment under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). You are acting on behalf of the A.J. Brandon Company. Both a completed sample garment and seven fabric pieces that will form the body and sleeves of the subject garment were submitted for examination.


The garment in question, Style 1325, is an upper body garment which contains a V-shaped neckline, a full frontal opening with four button closures, four embroidered appliques sewn on the right front side, a ribbed waistband, and long sleeves with ribbed knit cuffs. The garment is designed to extend below the waist of the wearer. The sample garment is labeled 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton. The cardigan style garment is also finely knit and has more than nine stitches per two centimeters measured in the horizontal direction.

In your submission you state that the fabric is knitted, dyed, and cut in Korea. The garment pieces along with various other accessories (including labels, sewing thread, hang tags, buttons, bags) are then exported to China for sewing and assembly into the finished product. The costs incurred in Korea for the processing and materials amount to 88.82 percent of the total expenses while the cost of processing in China amounts to 11.18 percent of the total cost of producing the finished product.


I. What is the proper tariff classification for the garment in question?

II. What is the country of origin for the garment in question?



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.

The garment in question is potentially classifiable in two distinct headings. One possible heading is Heading 6102, HTSUSA, which provides for women's or girls' overcoats, carcoats, capes, anoraks (including ski-jackets), windbreakers and similar articles, knitted or crocheted. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN), although not legally binding, are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The EN to Heading 6102, HTSUSA, state that garments classified in that heading are generally worn over other clothing for protection against the weather. However, the merchandise at issue is not necessarily classifiable under Heading 6102, HTSUSA, simply because it is worn over outer clothing.

Although the instant item appears to be constructed for wear over other clothing, it is not one of, or similar to, any of the named articles of Heading 6102, HTSUSA. Also, the garment in question is not constructed of a material that would protect the wearer against the elements. Consequently, the subject garment is not classifiable under Heading 6102, HTSUSA.

The alternative heading is Heading 6110, HTSUSA, which provides for sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted. The submitted article resembles a sweater both in use and appearance.

Sweaters are only provided for under Heading 6110, HTSUSA, at the statistical level. In this regard, Statistical Note 3, Chapter 61, Section XI, HTSUSA, which provides the criteria for the classification of sweaters, states the following:

For the purposes of this chapter, statistical provisions for sweaters include garments, whether or not known as pullovers, vests or cardigans, which are constructed essentially with 9 or fewer stitches per 2 centimeters measured in the horizontal direction.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 084972, dated October 12, 1989, a cardigan garment similar to the instant article was at issue. Customs stated that a cardigan may be a sweater, or may be a jacket. Cardigan refers to the styling of the garment; it is not dispositive as to its classification.

After examining the general appearance of the garment at issue, it appears that it contains the characteristics of a sweater. The fabric forming the sample garment provides for warmth and not protection against inclement weather. The subject garment qualifies in all respects, except the stitch count, for classification as a sweater. Consequently, the garment at issue is classifiable in Heading 6110, HTSUSA. This conclusion conforms with prior Customs rulings which dealt with the classification of upper body cardigan garments. (See e.g., HRL 082061, dated December 28, 1989 and HRL 088482, dated May 13, 1991.


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

(iii) The complexity of the manufacturing or processing

(iv) The level or degree of skill

(v) The value added to the article or material

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 operations 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 ruled 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 951424, dated April 24, 1992, and HRL 082787, dated March 9, 1989.

The issue in this instance is similar to the question Customs confronted in HRL 951524. In HRL 951524 Customs determined the country of origin of men's shirts that had been processed in more than one country. The shirts were marked and cut in Singapore, and then sent to Malaysia for simple assembly. Customs decided that the final substantial transformation occurred in Singapore because the cutting process materially altered the fabric into designated parts. In this case, the material used for the garment at issue is knitted, dyed, and cut in Korea. The material is then sent to China for sewing and assembly into the final product. The manufacturing operation in China entails minor processing and finishing. The processing in China does not materially alter the garment at issue. However, the cutting and sewing operation performed in Korea substantially transforms the fabric into designated garment pieces. Also, the costs incurred for the manufacturing operation in Korea amount to 88.82 percent of the total cost of producing the finished product, while the costs incurred for the processing operation in China amount to only 11.18 percent of the total manufacturing cost. Thus, the value attributable to the finished product in Korea is significant. Consequently, the garment in question underwent its last substantial transformation in Korea.


Style 1325 is classifiable in subheading 6110.30.3055, HTSUSA, which provides for sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, The applicable duty rate is 34.2 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 639.

The country of origin for Style 1325 is Korea.

The 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 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 applicability of any import restraint requirements.

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
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: