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HQ 956995

December 7, 1994
CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956995 CAB


Mr. Allan R. Grant
International Development Systems Inc.
733 15th Street, N.W.
Suite 520
Washington, D.C. 20005

RE: Country of origin of men's polo shirts; Section 12.130, Customs Regulations

Dear Mr. Grant:

This is in response to your inquiry of August 30, 1994, on behalf of Tung Mung International Pte Ltd, Singapore, concerning the country of origin of certain men's garments. No samples were submitted for examination.


The merchandise at issue is described as a men's 100 percent cotton short sleeve polo shirt. The fabric used for the production of the subject shirt is knit, cut, and embroidered in Singapore. The cut garment pieces are then sent to Bintan Island, Indonesia where the shirt pieces are sewn and assembled into the finished product. The finished shirt is then transported back to Singapore for dyeing, buttoning, and labeling. The garment is then exported to the United States.


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 operations;

(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 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 April 22, 1992).

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).

In this instance, the sewing and assembly operation performed in Indonesia 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 Singapore, however, does result in a substantial transformation. The cutting materially changes the fabric into designated garment pieces, which constitutes new and different articles of commerce. Therefore, the garment in question is a product of Singapore.


The country of origin of the subject shirt is Singapore.

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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