United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2004 HQ Rulings > HQ 967039 - HQ 967115 > HQ 967115

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 967115

July 21, 2004

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 967115 TMF


TARIFF NO.: 9820

Mr. Ken Skillman
VF Intimates, LP
3025 Windward Plaza,
Suite 600
Alpharetta, GA 30005

RE: Molded Polyester Fiberfill Bust Cups Used in Brassieres under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA)

Dear Mr. Skillman:

This is in response to your letter, dated March 16, 2004, in which you requested a binding ruling on the status of certain foreign bust cups used in brassieres under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA). Your request along with one sample was sent to our office.


The subject merchandise is a foreign origin brassiere cup that will be used in a brassiere, identified as style #4875320. The subject cup consists of 100 percent U.S. origin polyester fiberfill that is cut and molded in the Dominican Republic and exported to the United States.

The bust cups, which were the subject of New York Ruling Letter (NY) K84300, dated April 16, 2004, were classified in subheading 6212.90.0030, HTSUSA. The process used to produce the cups is described in NY K84300 as follows:

[The bust cups are] made of polyester fibers that are laid on a conveyor belt and sprayed with poly vinyl acetate to get the fibers to stick together. A curing process follows which produces a roll of material. The roll is exported to the Dominican Republic where it is cut and heat-molded into the bust cup.

You also provided a sample brassiere, identified in the attached label as Style 75-320, which has a label that states it is assembled in Mexico, a fact you asked that we disregard. You stated in a supplemental submission that the submitted brassiere sample, also known as style #4875320, will be assembled in Honduras, Guatemala or El Salvador.


Whether the subject molded bust cup used in style #4875320, that is made of U.S. originating 100 percent polyester fiberfill, is a fabric, trim or neither under the CBTPA.


The United States-Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) provides certain specified trade benefits for countries of the Caribbean region. The Act extends North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) duty treatment standards to non-textile articles that previously were ineligible for preferential treatment under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA) and provides for duty-free and quota-free treatment for certain textile and apparel articles which meet the requirements set forth in Section 211 of the CBTPA (amended 213(b) of the CBERA, codified at 19 U.S.C. 2703(b)). Beneficiary countries are designated by the President of the United States after having met eligibility requirements set forth in the CBPTA. Eligibility for benefits under the CBTPA is contingent on designation as a beneficiary country by the President of the United States and a determination 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 implement and follow, or is making substantial progress toward implementing and following, certain customs procedures, drawn from Chapter 5 of the NAFTA, that allow the United States to verify the origin of products. Once both these designations have occurred, a beneficiary country is entitled to preferential treatment provided for by the CBTPA. The Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador were designated beneficiary countries by Presidential Proclamation 7351 of October 2, 2000, published in the Federal Register (65 Fed. Reg. 59329). They were determined to have met the second criteria concerning customs procedures by the USTR and thus eligible for benefits under the CBTPA effective October 2, 2000. See 65 Fed. Reg. 60236.

The provisions implementing the textile provisions of the CBTPA in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) are contained, for the most part, in subchapter XX, Chapter 98, HTSUS (two provisions may be found in subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS). The regulations pertinent to the textile provisions of the CBTPA may be found at §§10.221 through 10.228 of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.221 through 10.228).

You requested that CBP provide you with a determination as to whether the subject cup is a fabric, trim or neither for purposes of the CBTPA. Consequently, we will not rule as to whether the brassiere, identified as style #4875320, is per se eligible for CBTPA preferential treatment.

"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). Note 3, Subchapter XX, Chapter 98, provides, in relevant part, that:

[a]n article otherwise eligible for preferential treatment under any provision of this subchapter 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, zippers (including zipper tapes) and labels and other similar products. 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 9820.11.06, 9820.11.18 and 9820.11.33, sewing thread shall not be considered to be findings or trimmings.

We note that NY K84300 describes the instant fiberfill cups as being made of polyester fibers that are laid on a conveyor belt and sprayed with poly vinyl acetate that sticks the fibers together followed by a curing process that produces a roll of material in the United States (which is subsequently cut and heat-molded to make the bust cups in the Dominican Republic). This process is similar to the description found in Note A to Explanatory Note 56.01, which states:

[w]adding treated with an agglutinating substance and in which that substance has penetrated into the inner layers is classified as a non-woven in heading 56.03, even if the fibres of the inner layers are readily separable.

In this instance, the subject polyester fiberfill is a non-woven, described in EN 56.03 as “a sheet or web of predominantly textile fibres oriented directionally or randomly and bonded.” As the fibers are produced into a roll of material with an agglutinating substance, we consider the subject bust cups to be made from non-woven fabric that is classifiable in heading 5603, HTSUSA.

Further, we note that NY K84300 indicates that the polyester fiberfill material is of U.S. origin. NY K84300 also indicates that the fiberfill is cut and molded in the Dominican Republic to form the cups.

In its condition as a cup, the subject cup is a fabric component and not fabric. In fact, CBP has ruled that foreign-origin polyurethane brassiere cups were neither textile nor “findings” or “trimmings” in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 562018, dated March 22, 2002, for purposes of the CBTPA “because the cups give the shape and form to the finished brassiere [which] would not be analogous to the examples of findings or trimmings set forth in Note 3(b), Subchapter XX, HTSUS.” In this instance, the same rationale applies. Although the subject molded polyester fiberfill cup originates in the U.S. and is subsequently cut and molded in the Dominican Republic, it is not fabric, but a fabric component. Further, it is not a finding and trimming for purposes of the CBTPA as its function remains the same; which is, to provide shape and form to a brassiere upon its inclusion therein.

Therefore, we find the subject molded fiberfill brassiere cup is a fabric component and not fabric nor a “finding” for purposes of the CBTPA. Further, as you have not provided the origin of the fabric contents of the submitted brassiere, style #4875320, we cannot rule on whether the brassiere receives preference under the CBTPA.


The subject molded polyester fiberfill bust cup that will be used in brassiere style #4875320 is considered a fabric component for purposes of the CBTPA. Therefore, the fabric and component formation must be taken into consideration in determining whether the requirements for CBTPA preference have been met.

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

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: