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1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20229

HQ 966439

June 5, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 966439 KSH


TARIFF NO.: 9819.11.12

Ms. Linnea Bucher
Carmichael International Service
533 Glendale Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90026-5097

RE: African Growth and Opportunity Act; Knit Polo Shirt; Lesser Developed Country; Swaziland

Dear Ms. Bucher:

This is in response to your letter dated April 1, 2003, requesting a binding ruling on the eligibility of a women’s cotton knit polo shirt for preferential treatment under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).


You have submitted a 100% cotton short sleeved knitted polo shirt. The shirt is identified as style number 2003 and features a knitted polo collar and cuffs, taped side vents, hemmed bottom, and a partial placket opening with a three button right over left closure. You state that the knit fabric and knit to shape collar and cuffs will all be sourced from Singapore. You further state that the cutting of the fabric and sewing and assembly of the garments will take place in Swaziland. No information was provided regarding the country of origin of the buttons or neckline and vent tape. Therefore, for purposes of this ruling we assume that the origin of these components is foreign. The sample is being returned in accordance with your request.


Whether the subject apparel article is eligible for preferential treatment 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 Africa 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. Swaziland was designated a beneficiary country by Presidential Proclamation 7400, published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2001, 66 Fed. Reg. 7373. It was determined to be eligible for textile benefits under the AGOA by the USTR effective July 26, 2001. See 66 Fed. Reg. 41648, dated August 8, 2001.

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).

Apparel articles wholly assembled in a sub-Saharan African lesser
developed beneficiary country (LDC) and directly imported into the U.S. are
entitled to duty free status, subject to certain restrictions. Such articles are
entered under subheading 9819.11.12, HTSUS, which provides as follows:

Apparel articles wholly assembled, or knit-to-shape and wholly assembled, or both, in one or more such lesser developed countries enumerated in U.S. note 2(d) to this subchapter, subject to the provisions of U.S. note 2 to this subchapter, regardless of the country of origin of the fabric or the yarn used to make such articles, if entered during the period beginning on the date announced in a Federal Register notice issued by the United States Trade Representative and continuing through September 30, 2004, inclusive

U.S. Note 2(d) lists Swaziland as qualifying for designation as a LDC. U.S. Note

2, Subchapter XIX, Chapter 98, HTSUS, provides for a quantitative restriction for
apparel articles classified in subheading 9819.11.12.

The statute allowing for duty free entry of apparel articles from LDC’s, 19

U.S.C. 3721(b)(3)(B)(i), as amended by section 3108(a)(3)(B) of the Trade Act
of 2002, provides as follows:

In general --Subject to subparagraph (A), preferential treatment under this paragraph shall be extended through September 30, 2004, for apparel articles wholly assembled, or knit-to-shape and wholly assembled, or both, in one or more lesser developed beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries regardless of the country of origin of the fabric or the yarn used to make such articles.

The provisions of the AGOA only allow foreign yarn or fabric to be used in the manufacture of apparel articles in LDC’s. It does not extend duty-free treatment to foreign formed textile components (i.e. cut to shape or knit to shape collars and cuffs). See HQ 965871, dated September 25, 2002 and HQ 562612, dated April 30, 2003. We need not address whether the neckline and vent tape are findings or trimmings as the LDC rule permits fabric to be used from any country of origin. The neckline and vent tape is a narrow fabric. We presume for purposes of this ruling that the cost of the buttons will not exceed 25% of the cost of the components of the assembled article. As the sample shirt incorporates collars and cuffs that are sourced from Singapore, the shirt does not qualify for duty free status under the AGOA.


The women’s knit polo shirt wholly assembled in an AGOA LDC from fabric originating in Singapore incorporating textile components from Singapore is not eligible for preferential tariff treatment under subheading 9819.11.12, HTSUS.

The sample is classified in subheading 6106.10.0010, HTSUSA, which provides for “Women’s or girls’ blouses and shirts, knitted or crocheted: Of cotton, Women’s.” The rate of duty is 19.8% ad valorem. The textile category is 339. As a product of Swaziland, the women’s knit polo shirt is not subject to quota.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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