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HQ 954668





November 18, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 954668 jb

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

Mr. Sudhir Mehta
Textile Concepts Limited
9 East Gate Road
Long Valley, NJ 07853

RE: Country of origin determination for fitted sheet, flat sheet, pillowcase and duvet cover; substantial transformation; 19 CFR 12.130; Belcrest Linens v. U.S., 741 F.2d 1368, Fed. Cir. 1984

Dear Mr. Mehta:

This is in response to your letter dated July 18, 1993, requesting a country of origin ruling on impending shipments of bedsheets and duvet covers. Samples were received by this office for examination.

FACTS:

The merchandise consists of 100 percent cotton or 50 percent cotton/50 percent polyester printed sheeting purchased by the British manufacturer from Pakistan. The submitted samples consist of a twin size sheet set (one top sheet, one bottom sheet and one pillowcase), one quilt cover (54 inches by 78 inches) and what you refer to as a matching pillowcover (19 inches by 29 inches). Examination of the sample pillowcover reveals that it is a pillowcase.

You state that the sheeting undergoes the following processes in the United Kingdom:

Flat Sheet

- cutting and hemming on all four sides
- piping at the top hem
- ironing, folding and labelling
- packing with cardboard inserts into plastic packets

Fitted Sheet

- cutting into lengths on all four sides
- cutting on the diagonal at the four corners and stitching to fit the mattress
- hemming on all sides
- stitching an elastic at the four corners - ironing, folding and labelling
- packing

Pillowcase

- cutting to desired specifications
- folding and sewing
- ironing, folding and labelling
- packing

Duvet Cover

- cutting to desired specifications
- sewing to form a shell to accommodate a comforter - sewing snaps or a zipper onto the open end - ironing, folding and labelling
- packing with cardboard inserts into plastic packets

ISSUE:

What is the country of origin for the bedsheet sets and duvet cover?

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Country of origin determinations for textile products are subject to Section 12.130, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130 CFR). 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) 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 any additional factors may be considered.

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 or
(iii) Commercial use.

Section 12.130(d)(2) 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 and/or technology involved (v) The value added to the article or material

As was stated in both Headquarters Ruling (HQ) 954229, dated September 2, 1993 and HQ 953566, dated June 21, 1993, regarding similar items, in order for a substantial transformation to result within the purview of Section 12.130, there must be additional processing beyond the cutting of fabric to length and width that is sufficiently complex as to constitute a substantial transformation operation. Merely 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 has been substantially transformed, the minimum processing required is cutting the fabric to length and width (i.e., cutting on at least three sides). Only after the fabric has been cut in both directions (length and width) does Customs assess any additional processing, degree of skill, value and amount of time expanded to manufacture the sheets to make a determination as to whether these additional considerations amount to a substantial manufacturing operation.

In regard to the flat sheets, in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 952909, dated April 12, 1993, Customs concluded that fabric that had been cut to length and width, coupled with the additional processing required to attach piping to flat sheets amounted to a substantial transformation. In the instant case, as the fabric is similarly cut to length and width in addition to featuring piping as an additional processing operation, a determination for substantial transformation may be made.

In HRL 953477, dated May 18, 1993, Customs distinguished fitted sheets that had merely been cut on two sides from fitted sheets that had been cut both to length and width. Customs applied the criteria stipulated in Section 12.130 and concluded that merely cutting fabric to length, hemming and adding elastic to the corners did not amount to a substantial manufacturing operation. In evaluating the processing involved in the manufacture of the fitted sheets that had been cut both to length and width, Customs decided that the processing involved amounted to a substantial manufacturing operation. In the instant case, as the fabric has been cut to length and width, in addition to the sewing operation which adds the elastic to the corners, the combined operations amount to a substantial transformation.

In determining the country of origin for pillowcases, Customs refers to Belcrest Linens v. United States, 741 F. 2d 1368, (Fed. Cir. 1984). The court held that a bolt of woven fabric that was manufactured, stenciled with embroidery and imprinted with lines of demarcation in China prior to being sent to Hong Kong where the fabric was cut, sewn into pillowcases and packaged, was subject to its last substantial transformation in Hong Kong. Similarly, with the subject merchandise, substantial transformation occurs in the country where the fabric is cut and sewn.

Similar to the pillowcases, in regard to the duvet cover, substantial transformation occurs at the time of cutting and sewing (and the addition of a zipper or snaps). These operations confer country of origin in the country in which they are performed.

HOLDING:

As both the flat and fitted sheets at issue are cut to length and width, in addition to other processing operations in the United Kingdom, they undergo their last substantial transformation in the United Kingdom. Consequently, the country of origin of these bedsheets is the United Kingdom.

Based on the foregoing, the pillowcase and the duvet cover at issue are subject to a substantial manufacturing operation in the country in which they are cut and sewn. Therefore, country of origin is conferred in the United Kingdom.

The holding set forth above applies only to the specific actual 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).

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division


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