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HQ 956496

September 26, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956496 CAB


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

RE: Country of origin of men's trousers and shorts; Section 12.130, Customs Regulations

Dear Mr. Stack:

This is in response to your inquiry of May 25, 1994, requesting a country of origin determination on behalf of Intimo, Ltd. The merchandise at issue is men's shorts and trousers. Samples were submitted for examination.


The merchandise in question includes Style No. 170000, which is a man's 100 percent silk jam length short that contains an elasticized waistband, a drawstring means of closure, a back patch pocket, and a button fly front. Style No. 510000, which is also at issue is a man's pair of 100 percent silk pull-on trousers. These trousers contain an elasticized waistband, a drawstring means of closure, a back patch pocket, and a button fly front. Style No. 130013 is a man's 100 percent boxer style short with an elasticized waistband, button fly front, and side slits. All of the subject merchandise will be produced in both charmeuse woven silk or sueded woven silk fabrics, with various colors and/or prints.

The manufacturing process is as follows: The silk fabric will be sourced from either Hong Kong, Korea, or China. The silk fabric will then be transported to Hong Kong for the purpose of cutting the garment component pieces. The component pieces will then be transported to China. In China, the opening for the jam shorts' back pocket, the elastic, and the fly placket buttonholes will be cut and all of the garment pieces will be sewn together to produce the finished products.


What is the country of origin of the merchandise at issue?


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 in the manufacturing or processing operations; and,

(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 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 situations as they arise, utilizing the criteria in Section 12.130.

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, 1994).

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 082787, dated March 9, 1989; and HRL 089539, dated April 22, 1992).

In this instance, the sewing and assembly operation that will be performed in China involves the simple assembly of garment pieces. The sewing does not amount to the complex sewing operation required by Section 12.130(e)(1)(v). The cutting process in Hong Kong, however, does result in a substantial transformation. The cutting materially changes the fabric into designated garment pieces, which constitute new and different articles of commerce. Therefore, the garments in question are products of Hong Kong.


The country of origin of the subject trousers and shorts is 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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