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August 19, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 966428 TMF


TARIFF NO.: 5806.10.2400

T. James Min II
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt, LLP 245 Park Avenue, 33rd Floor
New York, New York 10167-3397

RE: hook and loop fastener tape as a finding under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)

Dear Mr. Min:

This is in response to your letter dated April 17, 2003, on behalf of your client, Mast Industries, Inc., in which you requested a binding ruling on the status of certain woven nylon hook and loop fastener tape that will be used in a skirt under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA). Your request along with one sample was sent to our office.


You stated that your client, Mast Industries, Inc. will import various apparel articles made in the Republic of South Africa. In particular, you reference a corduroy skirt, described as a “Classic Jean Skirt”, which is designed with two front pockets and two back pockets. The two front pockets have small flaps over the top opening of the pockets. The small flaps will be fasten onto the top front pockets by way of a woven nylon hook and loop fastener.

The subject hook and loop fastener is a narrow woven nylon fabric that is manufactured in Hong Kong from nylon yarns and is similar in its appearance to Velcro® . You stated that the subject fastener will be cut to length in South Africa. Thus, we assume it is imported into South Africa on rolls. The subject fastener’s backing is woven. One tape has hooks and one has loops. The purpose of the hooks and loops are to work congruently as a unit to fasten the flap onto the top portion of the front pockets.

ISSUE: Whether the subject woven nylon hook and loop fastener tape that is to be used in the subject skirt is considered a “finding” under the AGOA?


The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) provides certain specified trade benefits for countries of sub-Saharan Africa. These benefits include duty-free treatment for certain non-textile articles previously excluded from preferential treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences, and duty- and quota-free treatment for certain textile and apparel articles which meet the requirements set forth in Section 112 of the Act (codified at 19 U.S.C. 3721). Beneficiary countries are designated by the President of the United States after having met eligibility requirements set forth in the AGOA. Once designated, a beneficiary country is entitled to the duty-free treatment for the designated non-textile articles determined not to be import-sensitive in the context of imports from the beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries. A second designation by the United States Trade Representative (USTR), published in the Federal Register, that a beneficiary country has taken the measures required by the Act to prevent unlawful transshipment and has adopted an effective visa system, is necessary before a beneficiary country may enjoy the duty- and quota-free benefits extended to textile and apparel articles under the Act. South Africa was designated a beneficiary country by Presidential Proclamation 7350, published in the Federal Register on October 4, 2000 (65 Fed. Reg. 59321). It was determined to be eligible for textile benefits under the AGOA by the USTR effective March 7, 2001 (66 Fed. Reg. 14425).

The provisions implementing the textile provisions of the AGOA in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) are contained, for the most part, in subchapter XIX, Chapter 98, HTSUS (one provision may be found in subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS). The regulations pertinent to the textile provisions of the AGOA may be found at §§ 10.211 through 10.217 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.211 through 10.217).

You requested that CBP assume that the corduroy skirt, which is identified by you as style number SH68303H3

Note: This skirt, designated as a “Classic Jean Skirt” is identified as style number BS0913 on your client’s forms., qualifies for preference under the AGOA and rule only on whether the subject hook and loop fastener tape, as used in the sample skirt before us, qualifies as a “finding” under the AGOA.

Classification of Hook and Loop Fastener Tape

The instant fastener tape is manufactured in Hong Kong and imported into South Africa. It is classifiable in subheading 5806.10.2400, HTSUSA, which provides for “[n]arrow woven fabrics, other than goods of heading 5807; narrow fabrics consisting of warp without weft assembled by means of an adhesive (bolducs): Woven pile fabrics (including terry toweling and similar terry fabrics ) and chenille fabrics: Of man-made fibers: Fastener fabric tapes.” For further reference on substantially similar hook and loop fastener tape, we refer you to New York Ruling Letter 896863, dated April 19, 1994 (fastener tape from Japan); and NY F82071, dated January 21, 2000 (referring, in pertinent part, to the narrow fabric sample “C” designation.)

Finding and Trimming

Note 3, Subchapter XIX, Chapter 98, provides, in relevant part, that:

[a]n article otherwise eligible for preferential treatment under any provision of [subchapter XIX] shall not be ineligible for such treatment because the article contains—

(i) findings or trimmings of foreign origin, if the value of such findings and trimmings does not exceed 25 percent of the cost of the components of the assembled article;

(b) For purposes of subdivision (a)(i) above, findings and trimmings eligible under such subdivision include sewing thread, hooks and eyes, snaps, buttons, "bow buds", decorative lace trim, elastic strips, and zippers (including zipper tapes) and labels. Elastic strips are considered findings and trimmings only if they are each less than 2.54 cm in width and used in the production of brassieres. For purposes of articles described in subheading 9819.11.06 and 9819.11.30, sewing thread shall not be considered to be findings or trimmings.

While "findings and trimmings" for purposes of the AGOA was not specifically defined, the examples set forth above, such as zippers, buttons, decorative lace trim and labels are indicative of the types of components which are considered to be within the purview of this provision. The exception for findings and trimmings 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. and sub-Saharan African beneficiary countries. "Findings" are generally accepted to be sewing essentials used in textile goods while "trimmings" have been defined as "decoration or ornamental parts." See M. Picken, The Fashion Dictionary (1973).

With regard to what items constitute "findings" or "trimmings," Customs has previously held under subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUSA, that fabric items such as shoulder pads, sleeve headers, and velveteen collars are not "findings and trimmings." See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 559552, dated February 14, 1996, and HQ 558954, dated June 30, 1995. In HQ 559738, dated July 2, 1996, Customs held that a synthetic suede yoke and elbow patches are not "findings and trimmings" because they comprise a large surface area of the garment and serve more than decorative purposes. However, embroidered patch labels which indicate or symbolize the brand name and provide ornamentation have been held to be "findings and trimmings" for purposes of subheading 9802.00.90, HTSUSA (formerly known as the “Special Regime Program”) and the Special Access Program. See HQ 560520, dated September 22, 1997, and HQ 560726, dated December 12, 1997. Moreover, in HQ 956426, dated April 23, 2002, Customs held that a woven decorative patch sewn to the chest area of a sleeveless knit is a "trimming" for purposes of the CBTPA.

Upon examination of the submitted sample woven nylon hook and loop fastener tape strip, it is our opinion that this article which will be used to fasten the flap onto the top portion of the front pockets of the corduroy skirt sample, is a “finding” because it is used in the same manner as buttons or zippers, which are examples of findings because they fasten garments together. Further, the subject tape is displayed and marketed in sewing notion departments of retailers as findings.

Accordingly, we find that the subject woven nylon hook and loop fastener tape, used in the manner previously described, is a “finding” for purposes of the AGOA.


The foreign origin hook and loop fastener tape, as used in the subject corduroy skirt is considered a "finding" for purposes of the AGOA. The use of the foreign origin hook and loop fastener tape in the garment will not render the skirt ineligible for preferential treatment under the AGOA provided the skirt otherwise meets the requirements for classification within an AGOA provision and the value of the hook and loop fastener tape and all of the findings and trimmings used in the skirt combined does not exceed 25 percent of the total cost of the components of the garment.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is 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.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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