Main Idea: The regulations used to determine the country of origin of textile and apparel products require the sequential application of rules much like the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) in the HTSUS

In ruling N326416 (Feb. 2, 2023), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) determined the country of origin of a prepared painting canvas.  The finished product was a poly-cotton canvas stretched and attached to a wood frame.  The production process involved first manufacturing the canvas in India before shipping to China in rolls.  Once in China, the rolls were stretched and cut to fit over a wooden frame.  The canvas was then secured onto the wooden frame.  Finally, the finished product was shipped from China to the U.S.

CBP first determined that the painting canvas was classified under subheading 5901.90.2000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for “[t]extile fabrics coated with gum or amylaceous substances, of a kind used for the outer covers of books or the like; tracing cloth; prepared painting canvas; buckram and similar stiffened textile fabrics of a kind used for hat foundations: Other: Of man-made fibers (229).”  The rate of duty is 7% ad valorem.

CBP then determined the country of origin of the canvas.  Because the painting canvas is a textile product, the special rules of origin relevant to textiles and apparel apply.  The country of origin rules for textile and apparel products apply to the items classified in Chapters 50 through 63 of the HTS, and some other specifically listed HTS classifications.  CBP’s origin regulations contain five rules for determining the country of origin for textile and apparel products.  Using the “wholly obtained,” “tariff shift,” and “technical production requirements” criteria, these rules apply sequentially – like the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) in the HTSUS.

CBP analyzed the rules set forth under 19 C.F.R. § 102.21(c)(1) through (5) to the painting canvas and determined (c)(1) – (2) did not apply to the canvas.  CBP then turned to 19 C.F.R. § 102.21(c)(3).  Because the canvas was not knit to shape, CBP determined that 19 C.F.R. § 102.21(c)(3)(i) was also not applicable.  However, 19 C.F.R. § 102.21(c)(3)(ii) provides that “…if the good was not knit to shape… and…was wholly assembled in a single country…, the country of origin of the good is the country…in which the good was wholly assembled.”  CBP determined that the rules under 19 C.F.R. § 102.21(c)(3)(ii) applied to the canvas.

Further, 19 C.F.R. § 102.21(a)(6) provides, in pertinent part, that the term “wholly assembled” refers to a good where “all components…preexisted in essentially the same condition as found in the finished good and were combined to form the finished good.”  To determine if a product meets this definition, CBP noted that it looks to “the condition of the components pieces immediately prior to completion.”  In application, CBP found that the two component pieces – the canvas and the wooden frame – preexisted in the same conditions as found in the finished good.  As such, CBP determined that the product met the definition of “wholly assembled” and that its country of origin could be determined via 19 C.F.R. § 102.21(c)(3)(ii).

Applying 19 C.F.R. § 102.21(c)(3)(ii), CBP determined that China was the country in which the good was “wholly assembled.”  As such, the country of origin of the prepared painting canvas was China.