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HQ 956758

November 1, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956758 CAB


Robert T. Stack, Esq.
Siegal, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Astor Plaza
1515 Broadway
43rd Floor
New York, NY 10036-8901

RE: Country of origin of women's overalls; Section 12.130, Customs Regulations

Dear Mr. Stack:

This is in response to your inquiry of July 14, 1994, requesting a country of origin determination on behalf of Lazeon Corporation. It is anticipated that the subject merchandise will be entered at J.F.K. Airport or the New York Seaport. A sample was submitted for examination.


The subject merchandise is a pair of women's bleached long pants overalls, designated as Overall Style 1. The garment is constructed of 100 percent cotton material and may be produced for the men's market. The overalls contain two inset pockets in front and two patch pockets in the back, a buttoned fly front with inside plackets with a three button means of closure, a front bib in two sections, a large bib pocket, and shoulder straps,

There are two distinct manufacturing scenarios for which rulings are sought.

Scenario A is as follows: Fabric from either Hong Kong or Israel will be cut into garment pieces in Israel; The component pieces will then be transported to a third country (maybe Turkey or Egypt) where they will be assembled into the finished product; The assembly process involves sewing the cut component pieces by machine, attaching the buttons, zipper, metal strap components and label. After the finished garment is inspected, it will be washed, bleached and/or dyed, pressed and folded in the country of assembly. In addition, the finishing may involved overdyeing in lieu of, or in addition to, the above bleaching. Hang tags will be attached to the overalls and they will be packed for shipment to the United States.

Scenario B is as follows: Unmarked fabric of Hong Kong or possibly Israeli origin will be cut in China into garment pieces. The fabric will then be exported to Israel where the assembly and finishing operation is the same as in Scenario A.


What is the country of origin of the subject merchandise?


Country of origin determinations for textile products are subject to Section 12.130, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 12.130). Section 12.130 provides that a textile product that is processed in more than one country or territory shall be a product of that country or territory where it last underwent a substantial transformation. A 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 and different article of commerce.

Section 12.130(d), Customs Regulations, sets forth criteria for determining whether a substantial transformation of a textile product has taken place. This regulation states these criteria are not exhaustive; one or any combination of criteria may be determinative, and additional factors may be considered.

Section 12.130(d)(1), Customs Regulations, states that a new and different article of commerce will usually result from a manufacturing or processing operation if there is a change in:

(i) Commercial designation or identity, (ii) Fundamental character or (iii) Commercial use.

Section 12.130(d)(2), Customs Regulations, states that for determining whether merchandise has been subjected to substantial manufacturing or processing operations, the following will be considered:

(i) The physical change in the material or article;

(ii) The time involved in the manufacturing or processing operation;

(iii) The complexity of the manufacturing or processing operation;

(iv) The level or degree of skill and/or technology; and,

(v) The value added to the article or material.

Section 12.130(e)(1), Customs Regulations, describes manufacturing or processing operations from which an article will usually be considered a product of the country in which those operations occurred. Section 12.130(e)(1)(v) provides the following

Substantial assembly 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 and tailoring of all cut pieces of suit-type jackets, suits and shirts).

According to T.D., 85-38, the final document rule establishing 19 CFR 12.130:

The assembly of all cut pieces of a garment will 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 a 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.

Section 12.130(e)(2), Customs Regulations, describes the manufacturing or processing operations from which an article will usually not be considered to be a product of a particular country by virtue of merely having undergone the particular operations. Section 12.130(e)(2)(iv), Customs Regulations, provides examples of some of these simple operations that will not effect the country of origin of an article. These enumerated examples are as follows: one or more finishing operations on yarn, fabrics, or other textile articles, such as showerproofing, superwashing, bleaching, decating, fulling, shrinking, mercerizing, or similar operations. Section 12.130(e)(2)(i) includes packaging operations as a simple operation that will not effect the origin of a product.

Customs has consistently determined that cutting fabric into garment pieces constitutes a substantial transformation of the fabric and the clothing pieces become products of the country where the fabric is cut. (See e.g. Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 952531, dated November 25, 1992; HRL 089539, dated April 22, 1994).

Customs has also 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.

In both scenarios, the sewing and assembly operation performed in Israel or some other unnamed third country involve the simple assembly of garment pieces. The sewing does not amount to the complex sewing operation required by Section 12.130(e)(1)(v). Also, the washing, bleaching, and/or dyeing and pressing in the country of assembly are simple finishing operations that amount to the simple manufacturing operations cited in Section 12.130(e)(2)(i)&(iv). This processing does not confer country of origin because it does not amount to a substantial manufacturing operation. The cutting process in either Israel or China, however, does result in a substantial transformation. The cutting materially changes the fabric into designated garment pieces, which constitute new and different articles of commerce. Therefore, the subject garment is a product of the country where the fabric was cut into garment pieces, either Israel or China.


The subject overalls are product of the country where the fabric is cut into garment pieces, either Israel or China.

This ruling is issued pursuant to the provisions of Part 177 Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 177). The holding in this ruling only applies to the specific factual situation presented and the merchandise identified in the ruling request. If the information furnished is not accurate or complete, or there is a change in the factual situation, this ruling will no longer be valid. In such an event, a new ruling request should be submitted.


John Durant, Director

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