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HQ 967618

April 29, 2005

CLA-2: RR:CR:TE 967618 ASM


TARIFF NO.: 9819.11.27

Mr. G.L. Kabozu
Commissioner: Customs & Excise
Ministry of Finance
Republic of Namibia
Windhoek Regional Office
Fiscus Building
10 John Meinert Street
Private Bag 13185
Windhoek, Namibia

RE: African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA); Handmade Carpet; AGOA, Category 9, Namibia

Dear Mr. Kabozu:

The Office of Field Operations, Textile Policy Branch, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), has forwarded to this office your correspondence dated May 26, 2004, which was submitted on behalf of a company identified as Ibenstein Weavers. We have also received the sample that was submitted with your correspondence. In reviewing your correspondence, the attached documentation, and sample, we assume that Ibenstein Weavers is requesting a binding classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) concerning the article’s eligibility for preferential duty- and quota-free treatment under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).


The sample is approximately 3 inches wide x 26 inches long, which includes the knotted fringe on either end of the woven article. The article is constructed with a warp of 100 percent cotton yarn imported from South Africa and weft (or filling) of 100 percent wool yarn from Namibia. The wool yarn is woven in color gradations of ivory, beige, gray, and brown in both a stripe and checkerboard pattern. According to the documentation contained in your submission, the sample is handloomed/handmade of Karakul wool that is locally available from farms in the southern part of Namibia. We assume that this small sample is representative of the larger handmade carpets that Ibenstein Weavers intend to export to the United States in various sizes, colors, and designs.

Ibenstein Weavers has supplied documentation indicating that the following steps are used to construct these carpets:

Wool pre-cleaning and sorting;
Loosening of the wool (only process requiring use of an electric carding machine to loosen the wool); Hand carding of the wool;
Cutting (the long strings of wool are cut in shorter pieces); Weaving: 10 weavers use the wool to hand weave original designs; Knotting of fringes;
Smoothening of the surface (the surface of the carpet is leveled/smoothed by hand with a pair of scissors); Moth treatment (treated with a product which is imported from South Africa); Ironing (wooden planks and heavy stones are used to flatten the carpet).


Is the sample, which is representative of handmade carpets of various sizes, colors, and designs, eligible for preferential duty and quota 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 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. Namibia was designated a beneficiary country by Presidential Proclamation 7350, published in the Federal Register on October 2, 2000, and was determined to be eligible for textile benefits under the AGOA by the USTR effective December 3, 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).

Handloomed fabrics and textile articles meeting the description in subheading 9819.11.27, HTSUS, are eligible for preferential treatment under the AGOA. This subheading provides as follows:

Articles imported from a designated beneficiary sub-Saharan African country enumerated in U.S. note 1 to this subchapter:

Handloomed, handmade, folklore articles or ethnic printed fabrics, under the provisions of U.S. note 4 to this subchapter.

U.S. note 4(a) to subchapter XIX, Chapter 98, HTSUS, reads as follows:

For purposes of subheading 9819.11.27, goods entered under this provision must be certified, by a competent authority of a designated beneficiary country enumerated in U.S. note 1 to this subchapter, as eligible products of such country, in accordance with any requirements established by the appropriate U.S. government authority.

Moreover, the AGOA legislation mandates the President consult with representatives of the AGOA beneficiary countries concerned for the purpose of identifying particular textile and apparel goods that are mutually agreed upon as being handloomed, handmade or folklore goods.

The Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements (CITA), pursuant to sections 112(a) of the AGOA and Executive Order 13191 of January 17, 2001, has determined, effective May 5, 2003, that handloomed fabrics, handloomed articles (e.g. handloomed rugs), and handmade articles made from handloomed fabrics, of Namibia, qualify for preferential treatment under grouping 9, of the AGOA. Accordingly, imports of eligible products from Namibia entered under subheading 9819.11.27, HTSUS, with appropriate visas, will qualify for duty-free treatment. See, 68 Fed. Reg. 18597, dated April 16, 2003. See also 68 Federal Register 46590, August 6, 2003.

Inasmuch as the subject article is handmade of handloomed fabric, we have determined that any such carpets exported from Namibia to the United States by Ibenstein Weavers and constructed in accordance with the processes set forth in this ruling, are eligible for preferential treatment under section 112(b)(6) of the AGOA if entered under subheading 9819.11.27, HTSUSA, and accompanied by an AGOA export visa for Grouping 9 issued by the Government of Namibia.


The sample provided is correctly classified, as a handmade article of handloomed fabric, in subheading 9819.11.27, HTSUSA, which provides for “Handloomed, handmade, folklore articles or ethnic printed fabrics, under the provisions of U.S. note 4 to this subchapter.” This provision is duty free. There is no restraint category.


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