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HQ 959396





July 25, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959396 NLP

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

Mr. Donald Stein
Manatt Phelps Phillips
1501 M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005

RE: Country of origin determination for women's skorts; 19 CFR Section 102.21(c)(4)

Dear Mr. Stein:

This is in reply to your letter of June 25, 1996, on behalf of Tarrant Apparel Group (dba Fashion Resource), requesting a country of origin determination for women's skorts. A sample of the skort was submitted for our examination.

FACTS:

The garment at issue is a women's skort made of 100 percent woven cotton. The skort features a back flap pocket, a front zipper and a three button closure on the front flap, which crosses over the short portion of the garment. You presented this office with two different manufacturing scenarios by which the subject merchandise will be produced. They are described as follows:

SCENARIO #1

HONG KONG AND CHINA

Fabric is formed

HONG KONG

Cutting of the following components:
2 front panels
2 back panels
1 piece front flap
3 pieces of the inside waistband
1 piece of the inside flap waistband
2 pieces of the pocket flap
1 piece of the neck pocket
1 piece of the pocket facing
2 pieces of the pocket lining

CHINA

Sewing front darts and back darts and front flap dart Sewing back pocket flap
Setting back neck pocket and back pocket flap and pocket lining
Joining inside waistband piece to the front flap and making side placket with hem

HONG KONG

Joining front rise and setting zipper
Joining back rise
Joining side seam and putting front flap together Joining inseam
Putting inside waistband on
Hemming

CHINA

Putting button holes and bartacking
Washing
Cutting the threads
Inspection of the garment
Pressing
Putting buttons on
Final inspection
Packing

SCENARIO #2

Scenario 2 is identical to Scenario 1 except that the fabric, with the exception of the two piece pocket lining, is cut into component pieces in China.

ISSUE:

What is the country of origin of the subject skorts in the two manufacturing scenarios presented?

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

On December 8, 1994, the President signed into law the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. Section 334 of that Act provides new rules of origin for textiles and apparel entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption, on and after July 1, 1996. On September 5, 1995, Customs published Section 102.21, Customs Regulations, in the Federal Register, implementing Section 334 (60 FR 46188). Thus, effective July 1, 1996, the country of origin of a textile or apparel product shall be determined by sequential application of the general rules set forth in paragraphs (c)(1) through (5) of Section 102.21.

Paragraph (c)(1) states that "The country of origin of a textile or apparel product is the single country, territory, or insular possession in which the good was wholly obtained or produced." As the subject merchandise is not wholly obtained or produced in a single country, territory, or insular possession, paragraph (c)(1) of Section 102.21 is inapplicable.

Paragraph (c)(2) states that "Where the country of origin of a textile or apparel product cannot be determined under paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the country of origin of the good is the single country, territory, or insular possession in which each foreign material incorporated in that good underwent an applicable change in tariff classification, and/or met any other requirement, specified for the good in paragraph (e) of this section."

Paragraph (e) states that "The following rules shall apply for purposes of determining the country of origin of a textile or apparel product under paragraph (c)(2) of this section:"

6201-6208 (1) If the good consists of two or more component parts, a change to an assembled good of heading 6201 through 6208 from unassembled components, provided that the change is the result of the good being wholly assembled in a single country, territory, or insular possession.

Section 102.21(b)(6) defines wholly assembled as :

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.

The skorts are classifiable in heading 6204, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). However, as the skorts are not wholly assembled in a single country, Section 102.21(c)(2), is not applicable. Accordingly, our hierarchical application of Section 102.21(c) continues.

Section 102.21(c)(3) states that "Where the country of origin of a textile or apparel product cannot be determined under paragraph (c)(1) or (2) of this section:

(i) If the good was knit to shape, the country of origin of the good is the single country, territory, or insular possession in which the good was knit; or

(ii) Except for goods of heading 5609, 5807, 5811, 6213, 6214, 6301 through 6306, and 6308, and subheadings 6209.20.5040, 6307.10, 6307.90, and 9404.90, if the good was not knit to shape and the good was wholly assembled in a single country, territory, or insular possession, the country of origin of the good is the country, territory, or insular possession in which the good was wholly assembled.

Section 102.21(c)(3) does not provide the relevant country of origin analysis inasmuch as the skorts are not knit to shape and, as stated above, they did not undergo assembly in a single country, territory, or insular possession.

Section 102.21(c)(4) provides:

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.

In both Scenarios 1 and 2, the most important assembly operation takes place in Hong Kong, where the front rise is joined, the zipper is set, the back rise is joined, the side seam is joined, the front flap is attached, the inseam is joined and the inside waistband is attached to the front and back panels. Therefore, pursuant to Section 102.21(c)(4), the country of origin of the skorts in both Scenarios 1 and 2 is Hong Kong.

In your submission to this office, you request that Customs confirm that any goods produced in Hong Kong utilizing Hong Kong's Outward Processing Arrangement will be deemed to be presumptively of Hong Kong origin for purposes of Section 102.21, Customs Regulations. Customs cannot make such a confirmation. Each request for a country of origin determination is made on a case by case basis, which allows Customs to carefully consider the particulars of individual manufacturing scenarios. Pursuant to the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, for textile
or apparel products entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after July 1, 1996, Customs will base its country of origin determinations on U.S. law only, specifically Section 102.21, Customs Regulations.

HOLDING:

In both Scenarios 1 and 2, the country of origin of the skort is Hong Kong.

The 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 19 C.F.R. on the assumption that all of the information furnished in the ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect.

Should it be subsequently determined that the information furnished is not complete and does not comply with 19 C.F.R. revocation. In the event there is a change in the facts previously furnished, this may affect the determination of country of origin. Accordingly, if there is any change in the facts submitted to Customs, it is recommended that a new ruling request be submitted in accordance with 19 C.F.R. ?177.2.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director

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