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NY L81854





January 26, 2005

CLA-2-61:RR:NC:TA:N3:356 L81854

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

Ms. Maristella Iacobello
Phillips - Van Heusen Corporation
200 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016

RE: Classification and country of origin determination for men’s woven trousers; United States-Israel Free Trade Agreement; 19 CFR Section 12.130; General Note 8, HTS.

Dear Ms. Iacobello:

This is in reply to your letter, dated January 6, 2005, concerning a classification and country of origin determination for three styles of men’s woven trousers that will be imported into the United States. You have provided a sample of the finished garments for our review. As requested, your samples will be returned.

FACTS:

Style No. 4514019 is a pair of men’s trousers constructed from 100 percent cotton, woven twill fabric. The pants have a flat waistband with six belt loops; a zippered, fly front opening; a button and a metal hook closure at the waistband; front quarter pockets; two rear inset pockets with flaps and button closures; and hemmed legs.

Style No. 4534124 is a pair of men’s trousers constructed from 100 percent cotton, woven twill fabric. The pants have a flat waistband with six belt loops; a zippered, fly front opening; a button and a metal hook closure at the waistband; front quarter pockets; two rear inset pockets with flaps and button closures; and hemmed legs.

Style No. 4534125 is a pair of men’s trousers constructed from 100 percent cotton, woven twill fabric. The pants have a flat waistband with six belt loops; a zippered, fly front opening; a button and a metal hook closure at the waistband; front quarter pockets; two rear inset pockets with button closures; and turned cuffs.

The manufacturing operations for the garments are as follows:

ISRAEL:

- The foreign (non-Israeli) fabric for the garment shell is cut to shape and the component parts are tied and bundled for shipment to China

CHINA:

- The fabric for the pocket linings and trim is cut to shape - The cut components of the shell, the pockets and the trim are assembled into completed garments - The garments are finished and packed for export directly to the United States

ISSUE:

What are the classification and country of origin of the garments?

CLASSIFICATION:

The applicable subheading for Styles 4514019, 4534124 and 4534125 will be 6203.42.4015, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for trousers, of cotton: : other: other: trousers and breeches: men’s: other. The general rate of duty is 16.6 percent ad valorem.

Styles 4514019, 4534124 and 4534125 fall within textile category designation 347. Quota and visa status are the result of international agreements that are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes. To obtain the most current information as to whether quota and visa requirements apply to this merchandise, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the “Textile Status Report for Absolute Quotas” available at our web site at www.cpb.gov. In addition, you will find current information on textile import quotas, textile safeguard actions and related issues at the web site of the Office of Textiles and Apparel, at otexa.ita.doc.gov.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN - LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Section 334 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (codified at 19 U.S.C. 3592), enacted on December 8, 1994, provided rules of origin for textiles and apparel entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on and after July 1, 1996. Section 102.21, Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 102.21), published September 5, 1995, in the Federal Register, implements Section 334 (60 FR 46188). Section 334 of the URAA was amended by Section 405 of the Trade and Development Act of 2000, enacted on May 18, 2000, and accordingly, section 102.21 was amended (68 Fed. Reg. 8711). Thus, the country of origin of a textile or apparel product shall be determined by the sequential application of the general rules set forth in paragraphs (c)(1) through (5) of Section 102.21.

EXCEPTION FOR UNITED STATES-ISRAEL FREE TRADE AGREEMENT:

You have stated that the trouser fabric (exclusive of the pocket and trim fabric) is cut into garment parts in Israel. Section 334(b)(5) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act provides that:

“This section shall not affect, for purposes of the customs laws and administration of quantitative restrictions, the status of goods that, under rulings and administrative practices in effect immediately before the enactment of this Act, would have originated in, or been the growth, product or manufacture of, a country that is a party to an agreement with the United States establishing a free trade area, which entered into force before January 1, 1987. For such purposes, such rulings and administrative practices that were applied, immediately before the enactment of this Act, to determine the origin of textile and apparel products covered by such agreement shall continue to apply after the enactment of this Act, and on and after the effective date described in subsection (c), unless such rulings and practices are modified by the mutual consent of the parties to the agreement.”

Israel is the only country that qualifies under the terms of Section 334(b)(5). As the Section 334 rules of origin for textiles and apparel products do not apply to Israel, we refer to the 19 C.F.R. 12.130 rules of origin, the rules of origin applicable to textiles and textile products before the enactment of Section 334. Section 334(b)(5) makes clear that if country of origin was conferred in Israel under Section 12.130, Israel will now be accorded the same treatment. This interpretation of Section 334(b)(5) was confirmed in a general statement of policy, Treasury Decision 96-58, appearing in the Federal Register, Vol. 61, No. 148, dated July 31, 1996.

Accordingly, applying Section 12.130(b), the standard of substantial transformation governs the country of origin determination where textiles and textile products are processed in more than one country. The country of origin of textile products is deemed to be that foreign territory or country where the articles last underwent a substantial transformation. Substantial transformation is said to occur when the article has been transformed into a new and different article of commerce by means of substantial manufacturing or processing.

Section 12.130(d) sets forth criteria for determining whether a substantial transformation of a textile product has taken place. These criteria are not exhaustive; one or any combination of criteria may be determinative, and additional factors may be considered.

Section 12.130(d)(1) states that a new and different article of commerce will usually result from a manufacturing or processing operation if there is a change in: (i) Commercial designation or identity,
(ii) Fundamental character, or
(iii) Commercial use.

Section 12.130(d)(2) states that for determining whether the merchandise has been subjected to substantial manufacturing or processing operations, the following is considered: (i) The physical change in the material or article; (ii) The time involved in the manufacturing or processing; (iii) The complexity of the manufacturing or processing; (iv) The level or degree of skill and/or technology required in the manufacturing or processing operations; (v) The value added to the article or material.

Section 12.130(e)(1) states, in pertinent part, that an article will usually be a product of a particular country when it has undergone in that country: (iv) Cutting of the fabric into parts and the assembly of these parts into the completed article; or (v) Substantial assembly by sewing and/or tailoring of all cut pieces of apparel articles that were cut from the fabric in another country into a component garment. (e.g., the complete assembly and tailoring of all cut pieces of a suit-type jacket, suit or shirt).

Customs has consistently held that the cutting of fabric into garment parts is a substantial transformation of the fabric and that those garment parts become the product of the country in which they are cut. It is also the consistently held position of Customs that when garment parts are cut in one country but the garment in assembled in another country, unless the assembly operation is a substantial assembly such as that referred to in Section 12.130(e)(1)(v), the country or origin remains the country in which the garment parts are cut. See, for example, HRL 088235 dated March 15, 1991, and the rulings which are cited therein.

Since the trouser fabric is cut into component garment parts in Israel, then Israel is considered the country of origin. This is because, in Israel, the fabric is substantially transformed into garment parts that are designated for particular articles of apparel, thereby creating a new and different article of commerce. The mere assembly of the goods, on the other hand, is not sufficient to substantially transform the components of an article into a new and different article of commerce.

"IMPORTED DIRECTLY" FROM ISRAEL:

Under General Note 8, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), products of Israel are eligible, when imported into the United States, for the "special" duty rate set forth in the tariff schedule only if each article is imported directly from Israel into the customs territory of the United States (General Note 8(b)(ii)). Since the garments which are the subject of this ruling are shipped from Israel to China for final assembly of their component parts into the finished garments and the garments are exported to the United States from China, these garments do not qualify for the "special" duty rate.

HOLDING:

The country of origin of the submitted garments is Israel. Based upon international textile trade agreements, products of Israel are not subject to quota or the requirement of a visa. The garments are not eligible for the "special" duty rate because they are not imported directly from Israel.

The holding set forth above applies only to the specific factual situation and merchandise identified in the ruling request. This position is clearly set forth in section 19 CFR 177.9(b)(1). This section states that a ruling letter, either directly, by reference, or by implication, is accurate and complete in every material respect.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177). Should it be subsequently determined that the information furnished is not complete and does not comply with 19 CFR 177.9(b)(1), the ruling will be subject to modification or revocation. In the event there is a change in the facts previously furnished, this may affect the determination of country of origin. Accordingly, if there is any change in the facts submitted to Customs, it is recommended that a new ruling request be submitted in accordance with 19 CFR 177.2.

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 Mary Ryan at 646-733-3271.

Sincerely,

Robert B. Swierupski
Director,
National Commodity

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