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HQ 956495

September 7, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956495 CMR


Robert Stack, Esq.
Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Astor Plaza
1515 Broadway
43rd Floor
New York, New York 10036-8901

RE: Country of origin of certain men's shirts; 19 CFR 12.130

Dear Mr. Stack:

This ruling is in response to your submission of May 25, 1994, on behalf of your client, Intimo Ltd., requesting a country of origin determination for certain men's shirts processed in Hong Kong and China. Samples of the subject shirts, styles 300000 and 330000, were received with your request along with samples of the cut parts for style 300000. Customs will return the samples as requested under separate cover.


The garments at issue are identified as styles 300000 and 330000. Style 300000 is a Henley collar woven silk shirt. The garment is constructed with one front panel, one back panel, short sleeves (each of one piece of fabric), a chest patch pocket with a contrast print edging piece, a round neckline with a contrast print collar band composed of three sections, and a three button partial front placket opening constructed with two strips of contrast print fabric, and a straight hemmed bottom with side vents. The shirt consists of eleven cut pieces.

Style 33000 is a pointed collar woven casual shirt. The garment is constructed with one back panel, two front panels, a two-ply shoulder yoke, short sleeves (each of one piece of fabric), a two-ply collar band, a two-ply pointed collar, and a chest patch pocket. The garment features a full front opening (no placket) secured by seven buttons and a slightly rounded hemmed bottom. The shirt consists of twelve cut pieces.

Both garments are made of sueded silk. Styles 300000 and 330000 will be produced in both solid and print silk fabric. The style numbers will vary with the print, but the first two numbers -2-
will remain the same for identification purposes. The 100 percent silk woven fabric (either of charmeuse woven silk or sueded woven silk) will be obtained form sources in either Hong Kong, Korea or China. It is expected that the majority of the silk fabrics used in the manufacturing will be woven and printed in China. The buttons, fusible interlining and other accessories may be sourced from various other countries.

The manufacturing of the shirts will occur in Hong Kong and China. In Hong Kong, the unmarked fabric will be cut into garment pieces. The cut pieces will be shipped to China for assembly by machine sewing into the completed shirts. The button holing and attachment of textile labels and buttons will also be performed in China. In the case of style 330000, the assembly includes the attachment of interlining fused by ironing.

The cutting operation in Hong Kong involves spreading several layers of fabric flat, placing a pattern on the top ply and cutting out the pattern through all the plies of fabric with an electric knife. The assembly in China consists of sewing the cut pieces together using a combination of single needle and double needle sewing machines and overlock machines. After assembly, the assemblers trim off excess material and inspect the garments. The garments are then washed, pressed and folded, any applicable hang tags are attached, and the garments are packed for shipment to the United States.


What is the country of origin for the subject woven shirts which are assembled in China of garment pieces cut in Hong Kong?


Country of origin determinations for textiles and textile articles are governed by the terms of section 12.130 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130). Section 12.130(b) provides that a textile or textile product which is processed in more than one country will be considered a product of that country where it last underwent a substantial transformation. A substantial transformation is defined therein as a transformation by means of substantial manufacturing or processing operations into a new and different article of commerce.

Section 12.130(d)(1) provides 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. -3-

Section 12.130(d)(2) sets out factors which will be considered in determining if merchandise has been subjected to substantial manufacturing or processing operations. These factors are:

(i) The physical change in the material or article as a result of the manufacturing or processing operations (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 (v) The value added to the article or material in each foreign territory or country compared to its value which imported into the U.S.

Section 12.130(e)(1)and (e)(2) set out processes which will normally be considered to be substantial and those which will not be considered substantial. Section 12.130(e)(1) states, in pertinent part, that an article will usually be a product of a particular country which it has undergone in that particular country:

(iv) Cutting of fabric into parts and the assembly of those parts into the completed article; or

(v) Substantial assembly by sewing and/or tailoring of all cut pieces of apparel article 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).

Customs has consistently held that the cutting of fabric into garment pieces is a substantial transformation of the fabric and the garment pieces become a product of the country in which they are cut. See, HRL 731028 of July 18, 1988, HRL 951426 and rulings cited therein. We have also consistently held that when garment parts are cut in one country and the garment is assembled in another country, unless the assembly operation is a substantial assembly such as that referred to in 12.130(e)(1)(v), the country of origin remains the country in which the garment parts are cut as that it where the last substantial transformation occurred. See, HRL 088235 of March 15, 1991, and rulings cited therein.

In regard to the subject garments, the cutting of the fabric into garment pieces in Hong Kong is a substantial transformation of the fabric and thus the origin of the garment pieces is Hong Kong. The assembly of the garment pieces into finished men's -4-
shirts does not constitute a substantial transformation as it only requires simple sewing and so does not meet the substantial assembly requirement of section 12.130(e)(1)(v). Specifically on point in regard to the Henley collar shirt, style 300000, is Customs ruling in HRL 955125 of January 27, 1994 (and see, rulings cited therein) in which Customs ruled the origin of several short sleeved knit and/or woven pullover shirts was the country in which the garment pieces were cut, not the country in which they were assembled.

The assembly of the pointed collar woven shirt, style 330000, is distinguishable from the assembly of tailored woven shirts with full-front openings with plackets, collars, long sleeves with sleeve cuffs and shoulder yokes. See, HRL 953640 of August 19, 1993. The shirt at issue lacks features normally associated with tailored garments which require greater care and skill in assembly.


The country of origin of the subject shirts is the country in which the last substantial transformation occurs, i.e., where the garment pieces are cut, Hong Kong.

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.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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