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NY K82675

February 19, 2004
CLA-2-61:RR:NC:N3:TA-359: K82675


TARIFF NO.: 6110.20.2075; 9819.11.12

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

RE: The tariff classification; the status under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and the country of origin marking for women’s knitwear from Lesotho. Treasury Decision (T.D.) 91-7.

Dear Ms. Sarmiento:

In your letter dated January 27, 2004, you requested a ruling on behalf of a division in your company, Miss Erika, on the tariff classification, the status under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the country of origin marking of an item of women’s knitted wearing apparel. The sample that you submitted is returned, as you requested.

Style 77436 is a woman’s knitted pullover that consists of 60% cotton, 40% polyester fibers. The pullover features a floppy, wide-bodied cowl neck; ¾-length sleeves that are hemmed; a hemmed bottom and a decorative, non-functional plastic button that is sewn to the cowl neck. The 1X1 rib knit fabric of the pullover has more than nine stitches per two centimeters, measured in the direction in which the stitches were formed.

You have also provided the following production information: In Taiwan
-spin the yarn
-knit the fabric;

In China
-construct the decorative plastic button;

In Lesotho
-sew the fabric panels and parts into the finished pullover -sew the decorative plastic button to the neck of the pullover.

The applicable subheading for the pullover, Style 77436, will be 6110.20.2075, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for sweaters, pullovers --- and similar articles, knitted or crocheted: of cotton other: other: other: women’s. The general duty rate will be 16.5% ad valorem.

The pullover, Style 77436, falls within textile category designation 339. Based upon international textile trade agreements this product of Lesotho is neither subject to quota nor to the requirement of a visa.

The provisions implementing the textile sections of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) are contained in Subchapter XIX, Chapter 98, HTS. Apparel articles wholly assembled in a sub-Saharan African lesser developed beneficiary country (LDC) and directly imported into the United States are entitled to duty free status, subject to certain restrictions. Such articles are entered under subheading 9819.11.12, which provides for

Apparel articles wholly assembled, or knit to shape and wholly assembled, or both, in one or more lesser developed countries enumerated in U.S. Note 2(d) to this subchapter, and 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), Subchapter XIX, HTS, lists the Kingdom of Lesotho as qualifying for designation as a lesser developed sub-Saharan African beneficiary country. Duty free status is granted to apparel articles wholly assembled in one or more lesser developed beneficiary countries regardless of the country of origin of the fabric used to make those articles. Further, eligibility for such status requires that the apparel article be “wholly assembled in” the lesser developed beneficiary sub-Saharan African country “. The term “wholly assembled” 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 lesser developed beneficiary country.” (Customs Regulations, C.R., Section 10.212).

U.S. Note 3(a), Subchapter XIX, Chapter 98, HTS, states that

An 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 articles does not exceed 25 percent of the cost of the components of the assembled article. The decorative plastic button qualifies as a finding or trimming. Headquarters’ Decisions 560458, March 6, 1998, and 562027, May 23, 2002, are noted.

Based on the information that you supplied, and provided that all statutory requirements are met, including the requirement that the value of the foreign-origin plastic button does not exceed 25 percent of the total cost of the garment, the pullover, Style 77436, is eligible for duty-free status under the AGOA.

You also asked if the decorative plastic button requires its own country of origin marking. According to Section 304, the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and subject to specified exceptions, every article of commerce, or its container, that is imported into the United States shall be marked in a conspicuous place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article (or container) permits in such a manner as to indicate to the ultimate purchaser in the United States the name of the country of origin of the article. Part 134, Customs Regulations, (19 C.F.R., Part 134). However, Treasury Decision (T.D.) 91-7, January 8, 1991, noted that “in certain circumstances the marking of every item in a collection of goods may not be consistent with the purpose of the statute, or may be impractical and/or undesirable,” and it gave as an example those instances where one or more items in the collection “are relatively insignificant and would have no influence on the purchasing decision.” Following the intent of this decision, the plastic button does not require a separate country of origin marking.

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 Textile Status Report for Absolute Quotas, which is available at our Web site at www.cbp.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.

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 Mike Crowley at 646-733-3049.


Robert B. Swierupski

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