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NY M84389

July 11, 2006

CLA-2-62:RR:NC:WA:361 NY M84389


TARIFF NO.: 6204.62.4010

Ms. Jill Desmonie, Director, International Marketing Cone Denim LLC
804 Green Valley Road, Suite 300
Greensboro, NC 27408

RE: The tariff classification, country of origin requirement for marking purposes, and status under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), of women’s denim jeans from Nicaragua.

Dear Ms. Desmonie:

In your letter dated June 15, 2006, you requested a ruling on the status of women’s jeans from Nicaragua under DR-CAFTA.

The submitted garment is a pair of women’s jeans, style “Basic Flare Jean,” constructed from 100 percent cotton blue denim fabric. The jeans have a flat waistband with belt loops, a front fly opening with a zipper closure, and a button in the waistband, three front and two rear pockets, and hemmed legs.

You have described the manufacturing process as follows:

Fabric will be made in Mexico, and exported to Nicaragua Fabric will be cut and wholly assembled into jeans in Nicaragua; labels will be attached Garments are exported to Guatemala for stone washing; paper labels will be attached Garments exported from Guatemala to the US.

The applicable tariff provision for the jeans will be 6204.62.4010, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for Women’strousers: Of cotton: Blue denim. The general rate of duty will be 16.6.

Duty rates are provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUS and the accompanying duty rates are provided on World Wide Web at http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/.

The jeans fall within textile category designation 348. 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.cbp.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.

General Note 29(b), HTSUS, sets forth the criteria for determining whether a good is originating under DR-CAFTA. General Note 29(b), HTSUS, (19 U.S.C. § 1202) states, in pertinent part, that

For the purposes of this note, subject to the provisions of subdivisions (c), (d), (m) and (n) thereof, a good imported into the customs territory of the United States is eligible for treatment as an originating good under the terms of this note if--

(i) the good is a good wholly obtained or produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the parties to the agreement;

(ii) the good was produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the parties to the agreement, and--

(A) each of the non-originating materials used in the production of the good undergoes an applicable change in tariff classification specified in subdivision (n) of this note; or

(B) the good otherwise satisfies any applicable regional value content or other requirements specified in subdivision (n) of this note;
and the good satisfies all other applicable requirements of this note; or

(iii) the good was produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the parties to the Agreement exclusively from originating materials.

The merchandise does not qualify for preferential treatment under DR-CAFTA because (a) it will not be wholly obtained or produced entirely in the territory of one or more DR-CAFTA countries; (b) one or more of the non-originating materials used in the production of the goods will not undergo the change in tariff classification required by General Note 29(n)/62.29, HTSUS; and (c) it will not be produced entirely in the territory of one or more of the DR-CAFTA parties exclusively from originating materials.

The jeans may be subject to a reduced rate of duty based upon the temporary tariff provisions found in chapter 99, subchapter XV of the HTSUS. U.S. Note 15 to that chapter states:
The rate of duty provided for in subheading 9915.61.01 in the "Special" subcolumn of rates of duty column 1 shall apply to goods of Nicaragua, in an aggregate quantity not to exceed the annual total quantity set forth in subdivision (c) of this note. Subheading 9915.61.01 applies to the cotton or man-made fiber apparel goods described in this note if the goods meet the applicable conditions for preferential tariff treatment under general note 29 to the tariff schedule, other than the condition that they be originating goods and are both cut or knit to shape, and sewn or otherwise assembled, in the territory of Nicaragua. The apparel goods of cotton or of man-made fibers, or subject to cotton or man-made fiber restraints, enumerated herein and provided for in chapters 61 or 62 shall receive the tariff treatment set forth in subheading 9915.61.01. For purposes of this note, an apparel good must be classifiable in a tariff provision enumerated in the first column below and be described opposite such provision: The jeans are both cut and sewn in Nicaragua and 6204.62.40 is one of the headings enumerated in the note. The jeans must also meet the General Note 29 requirements, other than the requirement that they originate. General Note 29(c)(iii) states, in pertinent part: A good that has undergone production necessary to qualify as an originating good under this note shall not be considered to be an originating good if, subsequent to that production, the good— undergoes further production or any other operation outside the territories of the parties to the Agreement, other than unloading, reloading or any other operation necessary to preserve the good in good condition or to transport the good to the territory of a party to the Agreement; You indicated that after the assembly of the jeans in Nicaragua, they will be sent to Guatemala for stone washing. As of July 1, 2006, Guatemala was added to the list of countries eligible for DR-CAFTA benefits. Therefore, since the further production is to take place in the territory of the DR-CAFTA parties, the jeans remain eligible under 9915.61.01 HTSUS.

You have also asked whether Nicaragua would be the proper country of origin marking for the trousers. In accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations (19CFR102.21), the country of origin of the jeans is the country in which they are wholly assembled. Based on the information you have provided, that country is Nicaragua. The stone washing in Guatemala after the assembly of the jeans does not change this determination. The Code of Federal Regulations also states, in pertinent part (19CFR102.21(a)):

(a) Applicability. Except for purposes of determining whether goods originate in Israel or are the growth, product, or manufacture of Israel, and except as otherwise provided for by statute, the provisions of this section shall control the determination of the country of origin of imported textile and apparel products for purposes of the Customs laws and the administration of quantitative restrictions. The provisions of this section shall apply to goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, for consumption on or after July 1, 1996.

Thus, since Nicaragua is the country of origin under 19CFR102.21, it is the country of origin for Marking purposes (19CFR134).

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 Angela De Gaetano at 646-733-3052.

Should you wish to request an administrative review of this ruling, submit a copy of this ruling and all relevant facts and arguments within 30 days of the date of this letter, to the Director, Commercial Rulings Division, Headquarters, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., (Mint Annex), Washington, D.C. 20229.


Robert B. Swierupski

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