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HQ 957309

March 9, 1995

CLA CO:R:C:T 957309 jb


Patrick T. O'Brien, Esq.
Greenberg Traurig Hoffman Lipoff Rosen & Quentel, P.A. 1221 Brickell Avenue
Miami, Florida 33131

RE: Country of Origin determination for wedding dress; spinning of fibers into yarn, dyeing, cutting and assembly in country A; 19 CFR 12.130(b),(d),(e); sewing constitutes substantial transformation

Dear Mr. O'Brien:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of November 7, 1994, requesting a country of origin determination for a wedding dress. Three boxes containing samples of the garment were submitted to this office for examination, representing the sample garment in the three stages of the manufacturing process.


The subject wedding dress, referenced style number 1721, is comprised of cut fabric panels of 100 percent polyester satin, 100 percent polyester tullonette and 100 percent polyester taffeta. The accessories include imitation pearls, lace medallions, self-covered buttons, hook and eye closures, snaps, shoulder pads, labels and a zipper. A poly bag is also required for shipping.

You state that the manufacturing process will be a three stage operation as follows:


Country A

- designing the dress
- sourcing and purchasing material manufactured in country A, from yarn spun in country
- making the pattern
- grading for size
- dyeing
- marking
- cutting the fabric


Country B

- beading
- cording
- embroidery
- where necessary, to properly attach some of the beaded appliques which cover more than one fabric panel, those panels will be assembled together


Country A

- sewing of side seams, waists and hems
- quality control inspection
- completed garments packed and shipped to the United States


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


Section 12.130 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130) sets forth the principles of country of origin for textiles and textile products subject to Section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1854).

Pursuant to 19 CFR 12.130(b), the standard of substantial transformation governs the country of origin determination where textiles and textile products are processed in more than one country. The country of origin of textile products is deemed to be that foreign territory or country where the article last underwent a substantial transformation. Substantial transformation is said to occur when the article has been transformed into a new and different article of commerce by means of substantial manufacturing or processing.

The factors to be applied in determining whether or not a manufacturing operation is substantial are set forth in 19 CFR 12.130(d)(2). The following are 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) describes manufacturing or processing operations from which an article will usually be considered a product of the country in which those operations occurred:

(i) Dyeing of fabric and printing when accompanied by two or more of the following finishing operations: bleaching, shrinking, fulling, napping, decating, permanent stiffening, weighting, permanent embossing, or moireing;

(ii) Spinning fibers into yarn;

(iii) Weaving, knitting or otherwise forming fabric;

(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 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 of all cut pieces of suit-type jackets, suits and shirts).

We have previously held that cutting of fabric into pattern pieces constitutes a substantial transformation of the fabric, resulting in the apparel pieces becoming a product of the country where the fabric is cut (See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 952531, dated November 25, 1992; HRL 953697, dated July 26, 1993; and HRL 955125, dated January 27, 1994).

As was stated by Customs in Treasury Decision (T.D.) 85-38 (19 Cust. Bull. 58, 70; 50 FR 8714), the final document rule establishing 19 CFR 12.130, in pertinent part:

[T]he 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 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).

Though in some cases a sub-assembly operation of components is required for the proper attachment of beaded appliques, this is only a minor part of the complete assembly of the garment and does not control country of origin (See, HRL 953638, HRL 953639, HRL 953640 and HRL 953641, dated August 18, 1993, where in a discussion of the country of origin of men's shirts, it was determined that the sub-assembly of minor components did not confer country of origin).
Accordingly, it is our opinion that the sewing operation performed in country A goes beyond a simple assembly operation. The sewing involves the complexity contemplated by Section 12.130(e)(1)(v), as for example, that found in the assembly and tailoring of all cut pieces of suit-type jackets, suits and shirts (See, HRL 954475, dated October 21, 1993, discussing the country of origin of a wedding dress, where it was determined that the country of origin was conferred at the time of assembly).


The country of origin of the submitted wedding dress, referenced style number 1721, is country A. It is at the assembly process, in country A, that the textile product last undergoes a substantial transformation and is transformed into a new and different article of commerce.

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 of the information furnished in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect.

Should it be subsequently 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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