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HQ 559981

March 26, 1997



Port Director
9400 Viscount
El Paso, Texas 79925

RE: Application for Further Review of Protest No. 2402-96-100010; subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS; Article 509

Dear Sir:

This is in reference to your memorandum dated June 12, 1996, forwarding the above-captioned protest timely filed on April 9, 1996, on behalf of Little Laura of California. This matter concerns a claim for duty-free entry under subheading 9802.00.90, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), for wearing apparel imported from Mexico.


Protestant states that the fabric from which the apparel was made was woven in the U.S.; that it was delivered to the importer's facility in the U.S. where it was cut to shape and pattern; and that it was exported to Mexico where it was assembled into wearing apparel and then returned to the U.S.

The processing in Mexico is described as follows:

Style 769 - Sew lace on top; 3/8" cover stitch on armhole; 1" elastic waist with overlock, and topstitch; 1/2" cover stitch

Style 8212 - 3/8" cover stitch on neck; overlock and 1/4" top stitch on armhole;
1" elastic overlock and top stitch

Style 892 - 3/8" cover stitch on neck; 1" top stitch; sew overlock on waist;
1" elastic on waist; overlock and top stitch

Style 208 - 3/8" cover stitch on neck; overlock and 1/4" top stitch on armhole;
1/4" baby hem; 1" elastic waist overlock and top stitch; 1/2" cover stitch on hem

Style 831 - 3/8" cover stitch on neck; overlock and 1/2" top stitch; 1/4" speed hem; 1" elastic overlock and top stitch

Style 332 - overlock all seams; single needle in neck, and back facing; sheer sleeves; sleeves and neck binding; cover stitch hem on top and elastic waist; back button with button machine

The merchandise was entered as various items of womens' and girls' apparel, duty-free under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS. However, the import specialist denied the claim for duty-free entry, due to a lack of documentation required to establish the claim under that provision. Specifically, that the importer failed to provide the shipper's export declarations for the merchandise. In addition, the import specialist noted that the quantities that were cut at the cutting facility did not match the quantities entered; and that most of the styles lacked bills of lading from the mills.
The entries were liquidated under subheading 9802.00.8065, HTSUS.

Protestant states that it was unable to obtain and therefore did not submit proof of export documentation upon entry due to a dispute with its agent. However, protestant contends that sufficient information was furnished to Customs to establish that the subject merchandise qualifies for duty-free treatment under subheading 9802.00.90. Documentation in support of this claim for the various styles are submitted with the protest. Protestant explains the documentation submitted for Style #208, claimed to be representative of the submitted documentation for the various styles, as follows:

Exhibit A - Cutting tickets for certain wearing apparel dated November 3, 1994.

Exhibit B - Certificate executed on August 7, 1995, by the Cutting Room Manager of Little Laura certifying that the subject style numbers were cut at its facility.

Exhibit C - A fabric purchase order from Little Laura to the seller, Waverly, dated September 19,

Exhibit D - A certificate from Waverly that appears to be dated October 13, 1994 certifying that the fabric purchased by Little Laura was formed in the U.S.

Exhibit E - Waverly's invoice to Little Laura dated September 14, 1994 for the purchase of the fabric.

Exhibit F - Bill of lading for the transportation of the fabric from the mill to Little Laura. It appears to be dated in September of 1994.

Exhibit G - Packing slip for the fabric dated September 14, 1994.

Exhibit H - Invoice for the fabric purchased from Atlas Knitting Mill dated
October 31, 1994.

Exhibit I - Packing slip for the fabric dated October 31, 1994.

Exhibit J - Little Laura's purchase order to Atlas for the fabric.

Exhibit K - Certificate of origin of Atlas dated October 14, 1994, stating that the fabric was formed in the U.S.

Exhibit L - Little Laura's letter to Customs dated February 25, 1995, providing a breakdown of the component value of the finished garment and country of origin.


Whether the subject wearing apparel is entitled to duty-free treatment under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS.


One of the special provisions contained in Annex 300-B of the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA") is Appendix 2.4, which provides for the elimination of customs duties on textile and apparel goods that are assembled in Mexico from fabrics wholly formed and cut in the U.S. To implement this provision,
subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS was created providing for the duty-free entry of:

Textile and apparel goods, assembled in Mexico in which all fabric components were wholly formed and cut in the United States, provided that such fabric components, in whole or in part, (a) were exported in condition ready for assembly without further fabrication,
(b) have not lost their physical identity in such articles by change in form, shape or otherwise, and have not been advanced in value or improved in condition abroad except by being assembled and except by operations incidental to the assembly process; provided that goods classifiable in chapters 61, 62, or 63 may have been subject to bleaching, garment dyeing, stone-washing, acid-washing or perma- pressing after assembly as provided for herein.

Therefore, provided the protestant in this case can establish through documentary evidence that all fabric components were cut and formed in the U.S., that such components were exported in condition ready for assembly without further fabrication, and were so assembled abroad in accordance with the statutory provision, the goods will be entitled to duty-free entry under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS.
Protestant has submitted extensive documentation that in connection with each of the entered styles, the fabric was cut and formed in the U.S. and that the fabric components were exported to Mexico where they underwent acceptable assembly operations, prior to return of the completed garments to the U.S. In our opinion, this evidence is sufficient to establish that the garments satisfy the statutory criteria for entry under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS.

We note further that the concerned import specialist's liquidation of the subject entries under subheading 9802.00.80, reflected a recognition that the imported garments had been assembled in Mexico from U.S.-origin components. Thus, specific export documentation was not deemed to be necessary to establish the U.S-origin of the components for purposes of subheading 9802.00.80. Moreover, any information regarding the milling of the fabric, i.e., the additional criteria under subheading 9802.00.90 that the fabric be "formed" and cut in the U.S. is not the type of information that would be typically provided on any export documentation. In this regard, we note that there is no regulatory requirement pursuant to subheading 9802.00.80 or subheading 9802.00.90 that export documentation be presented with
the entry. It is noted that subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, specifically was intended to extend duty-free and quota-free status to all goods assembled in Mexico, which previously were eligible for entry under the Special Regime Program administered under U.S. tariff item 9802.00.80. However, while the Special Regime
Program included a requirement that the same firm act as the exporter of the cut components and importer of the imported assembled articles, this requirement was not incorporated into the statutory criteria for entry under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS. Therefore, specific export documentation is not a requirement for entry in the case of subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS.

In view of the sufficient documentary evidence that the criteria under subheading 9802.00.90 were met, we find that the garments were properly entered free of duty under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS.


The evidence establishes that the imported garments satisfy the requirements for duty-free entry under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS. Therefore, the protest should be granted in full.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be mailed by your office to the protestant attached to the Form 19, Notice of Action, no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to customs personnel via the Customs Ruling Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.



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