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HQ 967107

June 24, 2004

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 967107 SG


TARIFF NO.: 9819.11.12; 6217.10.9530

Ms. Janice Sarmiento
McNaughton Apparel Group, Inc.
463 Seventh Avenue
New York, New York 10018

RE: Eligibility of ladies top for AGOA; Effect of detachable flower brooch on AGOA eligibility: Findings and Trimmings; Set

Dear Ms. Sarmiento:

This ruling is in response to your letter of March 19, 2004, requesting a binding ruling from the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on the eligibility for preferential treatment under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) of a woman's top produced in Swaziland and exported to the United States with a detachable textile flower brooch made in Korea. A sample of the pullover garment and brooch was submitted for review.


The sample, style 5126, is a woman's knitted pullover of 60 percent cotton and 40 percent polyester fibers. The pullover features a floppy, wide-bodied cowl neck; 3/4 length sleeves that are hemmed; a hemmed bottom; and a textile fabric flower that is pinned to the cowl neck. The pullover is constructed of 1X1 rib knit fabric that has more than nine stitches per two centimeters measured in the direction in which the stitches are formed. The garment extends from the wearer's neck and shoulders to below the waist. The detachable textile flower brooch is constructed of 100 percent woven polyester fabric that matches the pullover in color. The brooch is pinned on to the collar of the pullover.

The pullover and brooch undergo the following production processes:


The yarn is spun
The fabric is knitted


The fabric is woven
The textile fabric flower is constructed


The fabric is cut into component panels and parts The panels and parts are assembled into the finished pullover The textile fabric flower is pinned to the neck of the pullover The pullover is shipped directly to the United States.


Is the pullover eligible for preferential treatment under the AGOA?

Does the addition of an ineligible foreign textile flower brooch to a pullover, which otherwise would qualify for preferential treatment under the AGOA, disqualify the pullover from preferential treatment?

Does the textile flower brooch qualify as a trimming under the AGOA?

Is the pullover and textile flower brooch a set?


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. Swaziland was designated a beneficiary country by Presidential Proclamation 7400 of January 17, 2001, 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 (66 Fed. Reg. 41649).

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 pullover garment subject to this ruling letter is assembled in Swaziland from fabric that is knit in Taiwan. In Swaziland, the fabric is cut into garment components and the components are sewn together to form the pullover.

AGOA eligibility requires that the apparel articles be "[w]holly assembled in" the lesser developed beneficiary sub-Saharan African country to be eligible for lesser-developed country benefits. "Wholly assembled in," for the purpose of textile and apparel articles under the AGOA, "means that all of the components of the textile or apparel article (including thread, decorative embellishments, buttons, zippers, or similar components) were joined together in one or more beneficiary countries or one or more lesser developed beneficiary countries." 19 C.F.R. 10.212. The assembly process of the woman’s pullover meets the regulatory definition of "[w]holly assembled in." Subheading 9819.11.12, HTSUS, specifically provides that the country of origin of the fabric is not a consideration. Provided the other requirements of the Act are met, the fact that the knit fabric originates in Taiwan does not have an affect on the benefit eligibility of the pullover.

We note, however, that the textile flower brooch is assembled in Korea from fabric woven in Korea and merely pinned onto the pullover garment in Swaziland. The assembly process of the textile brooch does not meet the regulatory definition of "[w]holly assembled in" and therefore does not meet the eligibility requirements for preferential treatment under the AGOA.

The issue at hand becomes whether pinning a foreign textile flower brooch to an otherwise eligible garment, i.e., the ladies' pullover, will preclude that garment's eligibility for preferential treatment.

Finding or Trimmings

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

(a) [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 or 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 or 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.

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. or 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).

While "findings and trimmings" for purposes of the AGOA were 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.

CBP has found certain fabric items to be similar to those listed in the exemplars, and thus considered findings or trimmings. 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, HTSUS (formerly 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 965426, dated April 23, 2002, CBP held that a woven decorative patch sewn to the chest area of a sleeveless knit top is a "trimming" for purposes of the CBTPA. In addition, in HQ 562027, dated May 23, 2002, we determined that foreign-origin heat transfers, which are used to provide ornamentation to t-shirts, are "trimmings". In all of these cases neither the finding nor the trimming comprised a large surface area of the garment.

Upon examination of the items determined to be findings or trimmings, we have ascertained that in all instances although trimmings are not necessary structural components, they have been incorporated into garments, and are not removable without causing some permanent damage to the garment. The brooch on the other hand is merely pinned to an existing garment as a decorative item. It is easily removed and in fact would need to be removed prior to laundering. As previously indicated, the exception for findings and trimmings was necessarily intended to be of a restrictive nature. For a foreign textile to fall within the terms of the exception, it must either be named in the examples of findings or trimmings, or be substantially similar to those articles. The textile brooch does not meet this criterion. Accordingly, we find that the textile brooch which is imported pinned to the pullover does not constitute "trimmings" for purposes of the AGOA, the use of which will not disqualify garments otherwise eligible for duty preference under section 112(b)(1) or (b)(3) of the Act, provided that their value does not exceed the 25% limitation for these foreign-origin items.


If the pullover and brooch meet the requirements of a set, they can be classified in accordance with GRI 3(b) under the heading applicable to the particular component that imparts the essential character to the set.

GRI 3(b) provides the following:

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 . . ..

The EN's for GRI 3(b) provide the following:

(X) For the purposes of this Rule, the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale" shall be taken to mean goods which:

(a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings.;

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

While requirements (a) and (c) are satisfied, we must ascertain whether requirement (b) is met insofar as the pullover and brooch are being dedicated to a particular need or specific activity.

Components put up together that are dedicated to more than one purpose (that is, more than one particular need or specific activity) cannot be considered sets under GRI 3(b). This is made apparent in the examples of proper sets presented in the EN's for GRI 3(b). (See the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Volume 1, p. 4-5.) Each example shows that a proper set's contents are dedicated exclusively to one specific purpose; for example, all contents of the spaghetti meal set (package of uncooked spaghetti, sachet of cheese, and can of tomato sauce) are dedicated to the preparation of a spaghetti meal and all contents of the hairdressing set (electric hair clippers, comb, pair of scissors, brush, and towel) are dedicated to the dressing (cutting and/or arranging) of hair. Further, the components of these sets are not only dedicated to a single purpose; they are also related to one another. That is, they are used in conjunction with one another toward the fulfillment of that single purpose.

The pullover is dedicated to clothing (covering) the body. The brooch is decorative and dedicated to adorning items such as wearing apparel; it is therefore completely unrelated to the purpose of covering or clothing the body. While it might be suggested that the brooch and pullover qualifies as a set because its components are also dedicated to looking good while dressed, we believe that is too broad an application of the single purpose requirement. The brooch is not capable of use in conjunction with the pullover's purpose, clothing the body. The pullover and brooch are therefore dedicated to more than one purpose.

When articles put up together are determined not to form a proper set for GRI 3(b) purposes, they are classified individually. Therefore, we conclude that the pullover and brooch will have to be classified separately.

Having established that the pullover and brooch are classified separately, the fact that the brooch is precluded from receiving preferential treatment under the AGOA will not effect the eligibility of the pullover to receive those benefits.


Importing a woman's pullover which is wholly assembled in Swaziland with a detachable textile fabric brooch which is assembled in Korea pinned to its collar will not preclude the pullover from being eligible for preferential treatment under the AGOA provided the pullover meets the requirements for preferential treatment under the AGOA.

The pullover meets the requirements of subheading 9819.11.12, HTSUSA, as well as the U.S. Notes to Subchapter XIX and is, therefore, eligible to receive the preferential tariff and quota benefits provided for by the AGOA.

The applicable subheading for the textile brooch will be 6217.10.9530, HTSUSA, which provides for: "Other made up clothing accessories; parts of garments or of clothing accessories, other than those of heading 6212: Accessories: Other: Other: Of man-made fibers". The column one general rate of duty will be 14.6 percent ad valorem. The textile brooch falls within textile category designation 659.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the 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 you check, close to the time of shipment, the Textile Status Report for Absolute Quotas, which is available on the CBP Website at www.cbp.gov.

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

A copy of this ruling 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 CBP officer handling the transaction.


Myles B. Harmon, Director Commercial Rulings Division

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