United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1996 HQ Rulings > HQ 546132 - HQ 559010 > HQ 558892

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 558892

May 9, 1995

MAR-02 R:C:S 558892 BLS


Margaret S. Solinger, Esq.
E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company
1007 Market Street, D-8085
Wilmington, DE 19898

RE: Country of origin marking of "Tyvek"; substantial transformation; bonding; slitting; finishing operations; 19 CFR 12.130

Dear Ms. Solinger:

This is in reference to your letters dated November 2, and December 22, 1994, requesting a ruling regarding country of origin marking requirements of certain material identified as "Tyvek", returned to the U.S. after certain processing performed abroad. Samples of the product before and after processing have been furnished.


Tyvek spunbonded olefin is a sheet product made from high-density polyethylene fibers, offering characteristics of paper, film, and cloth. It is formed by a process in which very fine, 0.5-10 micrometer and non-directional fibers (plexifilaments) are first spun and then bonded together by heat and pressure, without binders and fillers. Tyvek is produced in both "hard" and "soft" structures. The "hard" structure area-bonded product is a smooth, stiff, non-directional, paper-like substrate. The "soft" structures are point-bonded with an embossed pattern, providing a fabric-like, flexible substrate.

During the solutioning and spinning process, which takes place in the U.S., high-density polyethylene pellets are mixed with a spin solution and brought to high pressure and temperature, and then discharged through an orifice, forming a fibrous web as the spin solution flashes away. The web is charged electrically and laid on a moving belt from several overlapping spinning positions to form a sheet of what is referred to internally as T-800 Tyvek. The T-800 is then wound up into 10-foot wide rolls. These rolls will be exported to DuPont's subsidiary, DuPont de Nemours (Luxembourg).

At the plant in Luxembourg, the surfaces of the T-800 will be heated to the point where the
surface fibers melt and are bonded together forming a stable surface. The interior structure remains unbonded. The degree of bonding is determined by the end use. The more the product is bonded, the higher the internal bond strength (delamination resistance) but the lower the opacity of the sheet. Two types of Tyvek products are involved, "Type 10" and "Type 14". The "Type 10" products are not softened and make a paper-like material. The surfaces of the "Type 14" products are bonded with a pattern and then softened mechanically to make a cloth-like product.

In addition to bonding, the product may be treated with lepel and/or antistat, depending on the end use. The lepel treatment makes the surface more wettable and easier to print. The antistat treatment reduces the tendency for the sheet to stick to itself from electrostatic charge buildup.

After bonding, the product will be slit and rewound to the desired width and length, wrapped for protection and shipped to the U.S. Tyvek is suitable for a variety of applications, including envelopes, books, housewrap, industrial protective clothing, kites, and laminates.


What are the country of origin marking requirements for the returned Tyvek?


Section 304 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that unless excepted, every article of foreign origin imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly, and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the english name of the country of origin of the article. Congressional intent in enacting 19 U.S.C. 1304 was that "the ultimate purchaser should be able to know by an inspection of the marking on the imported goods the country of which the goods is the product. The evident purpose is to mark the goods so that at the time of purchase the ultimate purchaser may, by knowing where the goods were produced, be able to buy or refuse to buy them, if such marking should influence his will." United States v. Friedlaender & Co., 27 CCPA 297 at 302; C.A.D. 104( 1940).

Because the articles in question are textile products subject to section 204 of the Agricultural Act of 1956, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1854), section 12.130, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130) is applicable. Section 12.130(b) provides that the country of origin of a textile product is that foreign country or insular possession where the article last underwent a substantial transformation. A textile or 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 or different article of commerce. Section 12.130(d)(2) provides generally
that in determining whether merchandise has been subjected to "substantial manufacturing or processing operations," there will be considered (1) the physical change in the material or article; (2) the time involved; (3) the complexity of the operations; (4) the level or degree of skill and/or technology required, and 5) the value added to the article abroad, as compared to its value when imported into the U.S.

Section 12.130(e)(2) (19 CFR 12.130(e)(2)) provides, in part, that an article or material usually will not be considered to be a product of a particular foreign country by virtue of merely having undergone cutting to length or width, or one or more finishing operations, such as showerproofing, superwashing, bleaching, decating, fulling, shrinking, mercerizing, or similar operations.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 734907 dated May 12, 1993, we held that bonding Canadian vinyl to U.S. foam by gluing to form foam bonded vinyl did not result in a substantial transformation of the Canadian vinyl. We noted that the operation was simple and the vinyl did not change in name, character or use as a result of the bonding operation because the vinyl retained its appearance and texture after the bonding process. See also HRL 735010 dated August 4, 1993 (bonding by gluing of imported dental dams to domestic plastic frames did not result in a substantial transformation).

In the instant case, the bonding and other processes performed abroad are more complex operations than the simple gluing operations in HRLs 734907 and 735010. However, while the outer surface of the Tyvek is changed to some degree by the operations, depending on use, the interior composition of the exported product remains unchanged. Further, the "before" and "after" samples of the sheet are similar in basic shape, although the texture of imported Type 10 has a stiff, paper quality, compared to the softer textile quality of Type 14 and the exported Tyvek. It is noted that the product retains its name after importation, and there is no change in use and essential character after the bonding process. (In this regard, we note that although imported Type 10 Tyvek has a paper-like quality, all of the exported and imported products are considered to be textile products under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS)).

We also note that the operations performed in the U.S., i.e., mixing high density polyethylene pellets with a spin solution through a spinning process, bonding by high temperature and pressure to form a fibrous web, and forming a sheet after electrical charging, are more complex operations than the bonding and other operations performed in Luxembourg. In this regard, you advise that the processing to be performed abroad in 1995 on the exported Tyvek is projected to be approximately 11 percent of the solutioning/spinning process to be performed in the U.S. We further find that the treatment of the imported product with lepel and/or antistat, and the slitting to length or width, are operations analagous to the operations described in 19 CFR 12.130(e)(2),
which alone do not usually confer origin.

Under these facts, we view the processing performed abroad as a finishing step in the completion of the Tyvek fabric, which does not result in a substantial transformation of the exported product. Accordingly, the country of origin of the returned Tyvek is the United States.


The bonding and other operations performed abroad on the exported U.S.-origin Tyvek do not result in a substantial transformation. Therefore, since the imported material remains a product of the U.S., country of origin marking is not required.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is entered. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling shouild be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling