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HQ 956618

September 29, 1994

CO:R:C:T 956618 SK


Roger Lew
Janeve Sport, Inc.
13837 Magnolia Ave.
Chino, CA 91710

RE: Country of origin of women's garments; crew neck, long sleeve top with rib knit cuffs and neck; pants with elasticized waist and drawstring; country of origin; fabric knit and cut in Taiwan; simple assembly in China; 19 CFR 12.130(b)(d)(e); cutting constitutes substantial transformation.

Dear Mr. Lew:

This is in response to your letter of June 1, 1994, requesting a country of origin determination for a women's top and pants. Samples of the finished garments were submitted to this office for examination.


You have requested a country of origin determination for a women's top and pants, referenced style number 90909. You submit that the garments are constructed of 65 percent polyester and 35 percent jersey knit cotton. The label on the inside of the top, however, states that the garments are made of 60 percent cotton and 40 percent polyester. The full-length pants feature a rolled elastic waistband, two side pockets and a drawstring. The top features a double ribbed crew neckline, long sleeves with applied rib knit cuffs and shoulder pads. The top consists of ten panels, excluding the rib knit neck and cuffs (each sleeve is constructed from two panels, the front and back of the top are constructed from six panels, sewn horizontally across the chest). The top has a straight hem with two side vents.

In Taiwan, the fabric for the garments is knit, dyed, and cut.

In China, the cut component pieces are sewn together and the garments are packed for shipment.


What is the country of origin of the women's garments at issue?


Country of origin determinations for textile products are subject to Section 12.130 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130). Section 12.130(b) 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) of the Customs Regulations sets forth criteria in determining whether a substantial transformation of a textile product has taken place. This regulation states that 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) 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;
(iii) Commercial use.

Section 12.130(d)(2) of the Customs Regulations states that in 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 required in the manufacturing or processing operations;

(v) The value added to the article or material;

Section 12.130(e)(1)(v) of the Customs Regulations describes manufacturing or processing operations by which an article will usually be considered a product of the country in which these operations occur:

(v) 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). [emphasis added]

According to T.D. 85-38 (19 Cust. Bull. 58, 70; 50 FR 8714), the final document rule establishing 19 CFR 12.130:

"[T]he 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 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(d)." [emphasis added]

This office has consistently 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 Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRL's) 082747, dated February 23, 1989; 086665, dated March 23, 1990; 951169, dated April 1, 1992; 951437, dated July 17, 1992; 952647, dated January 27, 1993.

In the instant case, the assembly operations performed in China are mere combining and sewing operations and do not possess the requisite degree of complexity to be deemed substantial manufacturing processes for purposes of conferring country of origin status. These operations do not meet the standard set forth in Section 12.130(e)(1)(v), cited supra. No great degree of skill or advanced technology is required, nor is tailoring involved. The cutting of the fabric into constituent garment pieces in Taiwan, however, is deemed to materially alter the
fabric so as to create a new and different article of commerce (i.e., fabric is transformed into recognizable garment pieces) by means of a substantial manufacturing process (i.e., cutting). This constitutes a substantial transformation of that fabric.


The country of origin of the women's top and pants, referenced style 90909, is Taiwan. It is during the cutting process in Taiwan that the fabric undergoes a substantial transformation and is transformed into new and different article of commerce (top and pants) by means of substantial manufacturing operations (cutting the fabric into designated garment pieces).

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 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

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