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HQ 561006

November 24, 1998

CLA-2 RR:CR:SM 561006 RSD


TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.90

Sergio Galindo, Esq.
Galindo Customhouse Broker
Spur 239 La Frontera Bldg, suite 1
P.O. Box 420924
Del Rio, Texas 78842

RE: Applicability of subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, to women's woven vest; findings; trimmings; zipper; NAFTA treatment

Dear Mr. Galindo:

This is in reference to your letter of June 10, 1997, requesting a ruling on behalf of Rhodes Collections of Garland, Texas, regarding the eligibility for North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) treatment of ladies woven vests assembled in Mexico. A sample of the vest was submitted with your request. We regret the delay in responding to your inquiry.


The submitted merchandise is a sleeveless vest, the shell of which is made from woven fabric consisting of 78% acetate, 16% polyester and 6% rayon yarn. The vest has oversized arm openings and a full front closure secured by a zipper. There is a patch of lining fabric located at the inside rear of the neckline which is 100% acetate.

We are advised that all of the components used in the assembly of the vest are U.S. origin with the exception of the zipper which is made in China. You state that the yarn is spun in the U.S. from fibers which also are of U.S. origin. The fabric is then woven in the U.S. and all fabric components are cut to shape in the U.S. The vest is then assembled in Mexico. You state that the cost of the zipper is $.52 while the cost of the finished vest is $10.14.


Whether the zipper may be considered a "finding or trimming" for purposes of subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS.


Appendix 2.4 of Annex 300-B of the NAFTA, provides that:

[o]n January 1, 1994, the U.S. shall eliminate customs duties on textile and apparel goods that are assembled in Mexico from fabrics wholly formed and cut in the United States and exported from and re-imported into the United States under:

(a) U.S. tariff item 9802.00.80.10; or

(b) Chapter 61, 62, or 63 if, after such assembly, those goods that would have qualified for treatment under 9802.00.80.10 have been subject to bleaching, garment dyeing, stone-washing, acid-washing or perma-pressing.

Thereafter, the U.S. shall not adopt or maintain any customs duty on textile and apparel goods of Mexico that satisfy the requirements of subparagraph (a) or (b) or the requirements of any successor provision to U.S. tariff item 9802.00.80.10.

Consequently, subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, was created to provide 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 (c) 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.

In view of the fact that the enactment of 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 9802.00.8010, HTSUS, it is Customs view that all of the policy directives implementing this program should be considered applicable in the administration of subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS. One such policy under the Special Regime Program included the allowance of "findings, trimmings, and certain elastic strips of foreign origin" to be incorporated into the assembled good "provided they do not exceed 25 percent of the cost of the components of the assembled product." See 54 FR 50425 (December 6, 1989). Examples of findings and trimmings are sewing thread, hooks and eyes, snaps, buttons, "bow buds," lace trim, zippers, including zipper tapes, and labels. See 53 FR 15726 (May 3, 1988). "Findings" are also defined as "a term referring to supplementary fabrics employed in making a garment such as zipper tapes, lining, pocketing, and waistband." See I. Wingate, Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles (1970).

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 958103 dated August 25, 1995, February 14, 1996, we determined that zippers were "findings or trimmings".

In regard to the sample vest at issue, the National Commodity Specialist reports that the vest would be classified in subheading 6211.43.0076, HTSUS. Appendix 1.1, Annex 300-B of the NAFTA, specifies that articles classified in Chapter 62 of the HTSUS, are considered "textile and apparel goods" under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, and thus the vest would qualify as a textile for purposes of duty-free treatment under subheading 9802.00.90 HTSUS. We also note that the information presented indicates that all of the fabric components used to make the vest are fully formed and cut in the United States with the exception of the zipper. In addition, it appears that the fabric components of the vest are not improved in condition or advanced in value in Mexico excepted for the purpose of being assembled into the finished vest. Because the value of the zipper would not exceed 25% of the total cost of the finished vest's components, the zipper would be an acceptable finding or trimming, and hence its presence in the garment would not disqualify it from eligibility for duty-free treatment under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS. Accordingly, because the information submitted indicates that all of the elements for eligibility for a claim under subheading 9802.00.90 are satisfied, the vest would qualify for duty-free treatment under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS.

Although your request specifically concerned whether the vest would qualify as a NAFTA originating good, inasmuch as the vest would be eligible for duty-free treatment under 98020.00.90, we believe that it is unnecessary to also address whether the vest would qualify as a NAFTA originating good.


Based upon the information provided, it is our opinion that the zippers are considered "findings or trimmings." Therefore, vests made with foreign zippers may qualify for duty-free treatment under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, assuming that the zippers do not exceed 25 percent of the total cost of all of the vest's components, and all of the fabric components are U.S.-formed (i.e., the fabric is woven or milled in the U.S.) and cut in the U.S., and the vests are assembled in Mexico.

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


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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