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HQ 960884





November 10, 1997
CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 960884 jb

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

Victor Chiang
Mei Lai Garment Factory Limited
Avenida do Almirante Lacerda, No. 35-37
Macau

RE: Country of origin determination for knit pullover garment; 19 CFR ?102.21(c)(4); most important assembly process

Dear Mr. Chiang:

This is in reply to your letter dated July 14, 1997, requesting the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) and a country of origin determination for a knit garment which will be imported into the United States.

FACTS:

The submitted merchandise, referenced style number 17M609, is a women's long sleeve knitted pullover featuring rib knit cuffs, a rib knit waistband, a deep-V neck front covered with an embroidered triangular shaped knitted insert, shoulder pads, and a four button faux front opening on a placket. Each of the two front panels is separately constructed from five strips of knit fabric pieces, some of which are embroidered. The stitch count of the back panel, ten fabric pieces composing the two front panels and the fabric piece insert at the neckline, are all more than nine stitches per two centimeters measured in the direction in which the stitches are formed. No information was provided regarding the fiber content or the surface breakdown of the different fabric sections of the subject garment. The manufacturing operations are as follows:

China fabric is cut into component pieces embroidery of two of the five strips which comprise one half of the front panel embroidery of one of the five strips which comprises the other half of the front panel embroidery of fabric knit insert

Country X assembly of five strips into a completed half of the front panel assembly of five strips into a completed second half of the front panel

Macau assembly and trimming of the two halves of the front panel into one completed front panel sewing together of the front panel, V-shape insert, rib knit cuffs, rib at hem, back panel, two sleeves, and buttons ironing and packing

We assume any reference to Country X does not include Israel or a NAFTA party.

ISSUE:

1. What is the classification of the subject merchandise?

2. What is the country of origin of the subject merchandise?

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Classification

Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's taken in order.

GRI 3 states, in pertinent part:

When by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Memorandum 084118, dated April 13, 1989, addressing the essential character of garments, stated:
a. For upper or lower body garments, if one component exceeds 60 percent of the visible surface area, that component will determine the classification of the garment unless the other component:

(1) forms the entire front of the garment; or (2) provides a visual and significant decorative effect (e.g. a substantial amount of lace); or
(3) is over 50 percent by weight of the garment; or
(4) is valued at more than 10 times the primary component.

If no component comprises 60 percent of the visible surface area, or if any of the above four listed conditions are present, classification will be according to GRI 3(b) or 3(c), as appropriate.

As the subject garment features different fabric compositions (i.e., panels with different stitch counts per two centimeters) we must resort to a GRI 3(b) analysis for a classification determination. In your submission you did not provide us with a breakdown by surface area, weight and value of each of the fabric sections which compose the subject pullover. Furthermore, you did not provide us with information regarding the fiber content of the fabrics used to make this garment. Accordingly, for the purposes of this ruling, we will assume that the back and sleeve panels, which are constructed with the same knitted fabric, constitute more than 60 percent of the surface area of the garment and impart the essential character to this garment. We will also assume that the predominant fiber composition of this fabric is either cotton or man-made. If either of these assumptions are incorrect you should contact this office with the appropriate information.

Chapter 61, HTSUS, provides for articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted. Statistical Note 3 to chapter 61, HTSUS, states:

For the purposes of this chapter, statistical provisions for sweaters include garments, whether or not known as pullovers, vests or cardigans, the outer surfaces of which are constructed essentially with 9 or fewer stitches per 2 centimeters measured in the direction the stitches were formed, and garments, known as sweaters, where, due to their construction, the stitches on the outer surface cannot be counted in the direction the stitches were formed.

Heading 6110, HTSUS, provides for, among other things, sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted. Having determined that the essential character of this garment is imparted by the back and sleeve panels, each composed of a stitch count which exceeds the nine stitches per two centimeters required by Statistical Note 3 to chapter 61, the garment is classified as an "other" pullover in the appropriate provisions of heading 6110, HTSUS. If predominant weight of cotton fiber, the subject garment is classified in subheading 6110.20.2075, HTSUSA, which provides for, sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests), and similar articles, knitted or crocheted: of cotton: other: other: women's or girls'. If predominant weight of man-made fiber, the subject garment is classified in subheading

6110.30.3055, HTSUSA, which provides for, sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests), and similar articles, knitted or crocheted: of man-made fibers: other: other: other: other: women's or girls'.

Country of Origin

On December 8, 1994, the President signed into law the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. Section 334 of that Act (codified at 19 U.S.C. 3592) 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 of the 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":

6101-6117 If the good is not knit to shape and consists of two or more component parts, a change to an assembled good of heading 6101 through 6117 from unassembled components, provided that the change is the result of the good being wholly assembled in a single country, territory, or insular possession.

The subject knit garment is classifiable in heading 6110, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Although the subject garment is not knit to shape and consists of two or more component parts, it is not wholly assembled in a single country, territory, or insular possession. Accordingly, the terms of the tariff shift are not met.

Paragraph (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.

As the subject merchandise is neither knit to shape nor wholly assembled in a single country, territory, or insular possession, paragraph (c)(3) is inapplicable.

Paragraph (c)(4) states that, "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 the case of the subject knit garment, the sewing together of the two halves of the front panel into one completed front panel, the sewing together of the completed front panel with the V-shape insert, rib knit cuffs, back panel, rib at hem, and sleeve panels, in Macau, constitutes the most important assembly process. As such the country of origin of the subject knit garment is Macau.

HOLDING:

The subject merchandise, referenced Style number 17M609, if predominant weight of cotton fiber, is classified in subheading 6110.20.2075, HTSUSA, which provides for, sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests), and similar articles, knitted or crocheted: of cotton: other: other: women's or girls'. The applicable rate of duty is 19.4 percent ad valorem and the quota category is 339.

If the predominant weight is of man-made fiber, the subject garment is classified in subheading 6110.30.3055, HTSUSA, which provides for, sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests), and similar articles, knitted or crocheted: of man-made fibers: other: other: other: other: women's or girls'. The applicable rate of duty is 33.5 percent ad valorem and the quota category is 639.

The country of origin of the subject knit garment is Macau.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the
time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

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 CFR 177.9(b)(1). This sections states that a 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 CFR 177.9(b)(1), the ruling will be subject to modification or 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 CFR 177.2.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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