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HQ 958659

February 28, 1996

CLA-2: RR:TC:TE 958659 PR


Alan G. Lebowitz, Esq.
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman LLP 245 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10167-0002

RE: Country of Origin of Casual Trousers; § 102.21, Customs Regulations

Dear Mr. Lebowitz:

This is in reply to your letter of January 17, 1996, on behalf of The Limited, concerning the country of origin of casual trousers. Our ruling on the matter follows.


The subject merchandise consists of men's and women's woven trousers. No sample was received by this office. It is contemplated that the production of the trousers will involve two countries. The fabric from which the trousers are made will be woven and cut into component parts in country A. The cut components are "two front panels, two back panels, a waistband, two front pockets, pocket facing, two back welt pockets, two zipper fly pieces, welt interlining, and belt loops." The processing in country A will also include pleating the front and back panels, applying pockets to both front and back panels, and sewing a zipper to the front panels. The two back panels, the two front panels (attached at the zipper by means of overlock stitching just below the zipper), and the waistband will be sent to country B for assembly into the completed trousers. The garments will then be returned to country A for minor sewing operations. These operations are stated to consist of bar tacking at points of stress (e.g. below belt loops, at pleats, etc.), putting in a button hole on each of the rear pockets and on the waistband, and sewing on corresponding buttons.


The issue presented is which country, country A or country B, is the country of origin of the trousers. LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Pursuant to the provisions of § 102.21(c), Customs Regulations (19 CFR § 102.21(c)), the country of origin of garments assembled in more than one country shall be determined in accordance with § 102.21(c)(4), and if that rule does not result in a single country of origin, then in accordance with § 102.21(c)(5).

The pertinent portions of § 102.21(c) provide:

(3) Where the country of origin of a textile or apparel product cannot be determined under paragraph (c)(1) or (2) of this section: (ii) . . . the country of origin of a good is the single country, territory or insular possession in which the good was wholly assembled.

(4) Where the country of origin of a textile or apparel product cannot be determined under paragraph (c)(1), (2) or (3) of this section, the country of origin of the good is the single country, territory or insular possession in which the most important assembly or manufacturing process occurred.

The term "wholly assembled" is defined in § 102.21(b)(6).

(6) Wholly assembled. The term "wholly assembled" when used with reference to a good means that all components, of which there must be at least two, preexisted in essentially the same condition as found in the finished good and were combined to form the finished good in a single country, territory, or insular possession. Minor attachments and minor embellishments (for example, appliques, beads, spangles, embroidery, buttons) not appreciably affecting the identity of the good, and minor subassemblies (for example, collars, cuffs, plackets, pockets), will not affect the status of a good as "wholly assembled" in a single country, territory, or insular possession.

Since the subject trousers will be assembled in more than one country, § 102.21(c)(3)(ii) is not applicable. The next rule to be applied is § 102.21(c)(4)--the country of most important processing rule.

In applying § 102 21(c), Customs is aware of the history of § 334 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, Public Law 103-465, 108 Stat. 4809, which is the basis for § 102.21, Customs Regulations. The Statement of Administrative Action, contained in the Message From The President of the United States, Transmitting the Uruguay Round Trade Area Agreements, Texts of Agreements Implementing Bill, Statement of Administrative Action and Required Supporting Statements, dated September 27, 1994, the Report of the House Committee on Ways and Means (H.R. 103-826, at page 146), and the Senate Joint Report of the Committee on Finance, the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and the Committee on Governmental Affairs (S. 103-412, at page 124), all clearly state that the rules of origin established by § 334 are intended to result in the country of origin of apparel goods imported into the United States being the country of assembly of those goods.

Accordingly, in determining the country of origin of apparel goods which have been subjected to assembly processes in more than one country, Customs will look to the country where the most important assembly occurred. In this instance, two main components of the trousers, the two front panels, are mostly assembled to each other in country A. However, in country B the assembly of those two panels is completed and all the other primary components are finally assembled. Under the fact situation presented, the assembly in country B is more complex, more extensive, and contributes more to the final finished garment than the assembly done in country A.


Country B is the country of origin of the trousers.

This ruling is issued pursuant to the provisions of Part 177 Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 177). If the specific factual situation is not as described above, this ruling may not be valid. In such an event, it is recommended that a new ruling request be submitted.


John Durant, Director

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