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NY D83025

October 29, 1998

CLA-2-42:RR:NC:3:341 D83025


TARIFF NO.: 9802.00.90

Mr. Jack Broer
Jantzen, Inc.
P.O. Box 3001
Portland, OR. 97208

RE: Applicability of subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, to a backpack of man-made textile materials; Special Regime Program; findings and trimmings; HTS 4202.92.3020, Mexico

Dear Mr. Broer:

In your letters dated October 6, September 24 and June 1, 1998 you requested a tariff classification ruling.

A sample of a finished backpack, style 43763, and all unassembled components necessary to finish the pack have been submitted. The finished backpack consists of a main body of manmade textile materials and a rubber bottom. The overall measurements of the backpack are approximately 18" high x15" wide x5" gusset, and the bottom rubber portion measures approximately 2" high.

You have stated that all of the components, cut pieces and trim are of United States origin except the rubber bottom which is from Taiwan. The finished backpack is wholly assembled in Mexico.

Your June 1, 1998, letter requests a ruling on whether the rubber bottom component should be considered in the determination of eligibility within the Special Regime Program, tariff number 9802.00.90, Harmonized tariff schedules of the United states Annotated (HTSUSA).


I. Applicability of subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS

Subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, provides for the duty-free treatment 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.

The initial question we must address is whether the subject backpacks are considered "textile and apparel goods" under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUSA. Heading 4202, HTSUSA, provides in part for "backpacks" of textile materials or wholly or mainly covered with such materials.

The instant backpack is classified under subheading 4202.92.3020, HTSUS, which provides, in part, for "Other" containers, of textile materials, travel, sport and similar bags, with outer surface of textile materials, of manmade fibers, backpacks.

Specifically, "textile and apparel goods" eligible for duty-free treatment under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, are listed in Appendix 1.1 of Annex 300-B of the NAFTA. Appendix 1.1 specifically includes subheading 4202.92, HTSUS. Thus, under the facts presented, the subject backpack qualifies as "textile and apparel goods" for purposes of subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS.

The enactment of subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUS, was specifically 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 subheading 9802.00.80.10, HTSUS.

The Special Regime Program permitted limited use of foreign origin "findings and trimmings" in assembly operations, provided that such findings and trimmings do not exceed 25 percent of the cost of the components of the assembled product. 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 Fed. Reg. 15724, 15726 (May 3, 1988).

The exception for findings, trimmings and elastic strips under the Special Regime Program, was necessarily intended to be of a restrictive nature, as the intent of the statute was to ensure that all fabric components be formed and cut in the U.S.

The term "findings" has been defined as "threads, tapes, buttons, bindings, hooks and eyes, slide fasteners, featherbone, belting, braids, and other sewing essentials used in garment making"and the term "trimming" is defined as "decoration or ornamental parts." See M. Picken, The Fashion Dictionary, (1973). "Findings" have also been 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). While "findings and trimmings" for purposes of the Special Regime Program are not specifically defined, the examples set forth above, such as thread, lace trim and labels (as well as elastic trim less than one inch in width), are indicative of the types of components which may be considered exceptions to the requirement that all fabric components be formed and cut in the U.S.

Having determined that the backpack, style 43763, is "OF TEXTILE MATERIALS" and that it is classifiable within the eligible tariff subheading, 4202.92, the rubber bottom of the backpack is disregarded in determining eligibility within tariff number 9202.00.90, HTSUSA.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Kevin Gorman at 212-466-5893.


Robert B. Swierupski

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