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HQ 957944

August 17, 1995
CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 957944 SK


Stuart Glenwick
Signature Sales & Marketing
One Burrows Court
New City, N.Y. 10956

RE: Country of origin determination; 19 CFR 12.130; compact disc/audio cassette carrying case; compact disc organizer; material cut in Taiwan; assembly of pre-cut components in China; mere assembly is not substantial transformation; HRL's 951899 (10/31/92); 954225 (8/30/93); 956634 958222 (7/28/95).

Dear Mr. Glenwick:

This is in response to your letter of May 3, 1995, in which you request a country of origin determination for a soft-sided compact disc/audio cassette carrying case and a compact disc organizer. This office was provided with samples of the finished articles, as well as detailed descriptions of the manufacturing processes which occur in Taiwan and the People's Republic of China.


The subject compact disc/audio cassette carrying case and compact disc organizer have not been designated with style numbers. For purposes of identification in this ruling, we will henceforth refer to them as carrying case #1 and #2 respectively. The carrying cases are specially shaped and fitted to accommodate compact discs and cassette tapes. The cases' outer surfaces are of man-made textile materials which have been laminated with polyurethane and internally padded with foam. Both cases feature zipper closures on three sides and adjustable braided textile handles which can expand into shoulder straps.

Case #1 features an internal 3-ring metal binder and 14 pages of removable, soft
plastic leaves which are designed to accommodate compact discs or cassettes. Case #2 features an internal, rigid plastic tray which can accommodate over 50 compact discs.

The material for both cases is sourced in Taiwan and this is also where the fabric is cut into component pieces. The component parts are then shipped to the People's Republic of China for assembly by sewing.

In your submission to this office, you state that the various weaving, dyeing, laminating, pattern making and cutting operations in Taiwan take approximately 56 minutes per case. The total cost per unit that is incurred in Taiwan is $3.65.

The sewing and assembly operations that take place in the People's Republic of China take approximately 25 minutes. The total cost per unit that is incurred in the People's Republic of China is $1.80.


What is the country of origin of the subject merchandise?


Section 12.130(b) of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130(b)) provides that textile products that are processed in more than one country or territory shall be products of that country or territory where they last underwent a substantial transformation. Your attention is directed to Section 12.130(e)(v) of the Customs Regulations which states that an article will usually have undergone a substantial transformation (change in country of origin) if it has undergone a substantial assembly of all cut pieces into a completed article.

Customs has 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 Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 082747, dated February 23,
1989, in which Customs determined that the assembly of jeans was not a substantial transformation and HRL 082787, dated March 9, 1989, which reached a similar conclusion with regard to a jogging suit.

In the instant case, the assembly process in the People's Republic of China which involves the sewing together of components cut from fabric in Taiwan does not involve sufficient skill or complexity to constitute a substantial assembly as defined by the regulations set forth supra. See HRL 951899, dated October 31, 1992, in which Customs issued a country of origin determination for soft-sided luggage manufactured in a similar manner. See also HRL 956634, dated September 29, 1994.

The country of origin of both carrying cases is Taiwan as that is the country where the articles last undergo a substantial transformation. It is in Taiwan that the articles undergo a substantial manufacturing process (cutting) which transforms fabric into a new and different article of commerce (compact disc/cassette carrying cases).


The country of origin of both cases is Taiwan.

The country of origin 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
Commercial Rulings Division

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