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NY I81333

May 31, 2002

CLA-2-:RR:NC:N3:360 I81333


TARIFF NO.: 6211.43.0091

Mr. W.J. Gonzalez
General Manager
Trans-Union Customs Service, Inc.
11941 S. Prairie Ave.
Hawthorne, CA 90250

RE: The tariff classification of unfinished women’s garments from China

Dear Mr. Gonzalez:

In your letter dated April 26, 2002, you requested a classification ruling on behalf of Silk Bead, Inc. The samples submitted with your request will be returned to you under separate cover.

The submitted sample, no style designation provided, is an unfinished garment made from 100% polyester woven fabric. Although you have stated that the imported component will be incorporated into a finished women’s dress in the U.S., upon importation the item is an almost complete camisole missing only a means of closure. The unfinished garment is lined and extends to the waist. It has narrow shoulder straps and features beading on the front panel. The back of the garment is cut straight across the top edge from side seam to side seam and lacks a closure.

You state that the country of origin of the fabric is unknown and varies. It is bought in the US and shipped to China in roll form. The beading work is done on the un-cut fabric. After the beading is completed, the fabric is cut and the top is assembled into its incomplete, imported condition. The only item missing from the camisole is a closure.

In your letter you pose three questions:

What is the applicable tariff number for the tops? Does the incomplete/unfinished top need to be marked with the country of origin at the time of importation? If not, does the complete dress have to be marked with a country of origin. If so, how should it be marked, i.e. dress made in USA top made in China?

As noted above, in its imported condition, the garment will be considered an unfinished women’s camisole. Classification of unfinished items are generally governed by rule 2(a) of the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS).

General Rule of Interpretation 2(a) states:

Any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also include a reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), entered unassembled or disassembled.

The Explanatory notes to the HTS further explain this rule, as follows:

The first part of Rule 2 (a) extends the scope of any heading which refers to a particular article to cover not only the complete article but also that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as presented, it has the essential character of the complete or finished article.

With respect to this rule, merchandise can be deemed to have the essential character of a camisole only if some significant assembly operations have taken place joining some of the components of the garment together. In China the fabric is beaded and then cut into component parts and assembled into an unfinished or incomplete camisole. At the time of importation, the garment is recognizable as a camisole missing only a means of closure. The garment possesses the essential character of a camisole.

The applicable subheading for the components constituting an unfinished or incomplete blouse will be 6211.43.0091, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for other garments women’s or girls’: of man-made fibers, other. The duty rate will be 16.2 percent ad valorem.

This product falls within textile category designation 359. Based upon international textile trade agreements products of China are currently subject to quota and the requirement of a visa.

The designated textile and apparel categories and their quota and visa status are the result of international agreements that are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes. To obtain the most current information, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the U.S. Customs Service Textile Status Report, an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available at the Customs Web site at www.customs.gov. In addition, the designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected and should also be verified at the time of shipment.

You have also raised questions concerning the marking of the imported garment. The marking statute, section 304, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1304), provides that, unless excepted, every article of foreign origin (or its container) imported into the U.S. shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or its container) will permit, in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. the English name of the country of origin of the article.

Part 134, Customs Regulations (19 CFR Part 134), implements the country of origin marking requirements and exceptions of 19 U.S.C. 1304. Section 134.41(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 134.41(b)), mandates that the ultimate purchaser in the U.S. must be able to find the marking easily and read it without strain. Section 134.1(d), defines the ultimate purchaser as generally the last person in the U.S. who will receive the article in the form in which it was imported. 19 CFR 134.1(d)(1) states that if an imported article will be used in manufacture, the manufacturer may be the ultimate purchaser if he subjects the imported article to a process which results in a substantial transformation of the article. The case of U.S. v. Gibson-Thomsen Co., Inc., 27 C.C.P.A. 267 (C.A.D. 98) (1940), provides that an article used in manufacture which results in an article having a name, character or use differing from that of the constituent article will be considered substantially transformed and that the manufacturer or processor will be considered the ultimate purchaser of the constituent materials. In such circumstances, the imported article is excepted from marking and only the outermost container is required to be marked. See, 19 CFR 134.35.

You state that the importer turns over the imported item to dress manufacturers in the U.S. but cannot offer a more detailed explanation of the processing. Without further information we cannot rule upon the exception under 19 CFR 134.35, however, it may apply based on the specific circumstances at the time of importation.

You also wanted to know how the finished dress should be marked. As the completed dress (incorporating the foreign made top) will be manufactured in the United States, the dress is not required to be marked as a foreign article for purposes of 19 U.S.C. 1304 as previously required. However, separate Federal Trade Commission marking requirements exist regarding country of origin, fiber content, and other information that must appear on many textile items. For more information on the applicability of the requirements under the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (TFPIA), you should contact the Federal Trade Commission, Textile Program, Division of Enforcement, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., 20580.

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 Patricia Schiazzano at 646-733-3051.


Robert B. Swierupski

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