Textile and Apparel–Key Trade Terms (updated October 2015)

FTAThe following important trade terms for textile and apparel are supplementary to what we’ve learnt in class:

Cumulation – Yarns and/or fabrics from one FTA partner country to be used in another FTA partner country and qualify for duty-free benefits (In NAFTA and the future TPP agreement, cumulation is among FTA partners only) . Example: in CAFTA certain woven fabrics from Mexico (NAFTA) can be used for the manufacture of apparel in the CAFTA region and qualify for CAFTA benefits, i.e. duty-free access to the U.S. market.

Tariff Preference Level (TPL) – An exception to the rule of origin in FTAs that allows for a certain quantity of textile and apparel goods (usually yarns, fabrics and cut pieces) from a third-country (a country who is not a party to the agreement) to qualify for the FTA benefits. Example: Under the U.S.-Bahrain FTA, Bahrain can use up to 65 million sme of yarns and fabric from any other country and the products made from those yarns and fabrics (up to the 65 million limit) still qualify for duty-free access to the U.S. market.

807: a commonly used term (formerly utilized by US Customs) to describe a category of apparel which has been assembled in an overseas country from fabric pieces cut in the USA from fabric formed in any country. The duty levied on apparel imported under 807 is based only on the value added to the goods overseas rather than the whole customs value of the goods. This provision is now specified under code 9802.00.8065 of the USA’s Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS). This outward processing arrangement benefits mainly countries which are close to the USA—particularly those in the Caribbean Basin

807A: a commonly used term (formerly utilized by US Customs) to describe a category of apparel which has been assembled in an overseas country from fabric pieces cut and formed in the USA. The duty levied on apparel imported under 807A, a modification of 807, is based only on the value added to the goods overseas rather than the whole customs value of the goods. Also, goods imported under 807A are provided with almost unlimited access to the US market. This provision is specified under code 9802.00.8015 of the USA’s Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS).

Short Supply/Commercial Availability — Fibers, yarns, and fabrics determined not to be available in commercial quantities in a timely manner from within the FTA partner countries may be sourced from outside the countries for use in qualifying textile and apparel products. For example, a fabric that is determined not to be commercially available under the U.S.-Australia FTA may come from a third-party, i.e. China, be cut-and-assembled into a garment in Australia, and imported to the U.S. duty-free.

Square Meter Equivalents (SME) – A notional, common unit of quantity, constant across apparel categories. Conversion factors are used to convert units of quantity into SME. Common measurement used to determine specific quantities of yarns, fabric, and apparel allowed under exceptions to the rule of origin, i.e. TPLs, cumulation.

Third Country – A country outside of the FTA or preferential trade arrangement, but is not a party to the agreement and is not required to adhere to the rules of origin under the agreement but may supply inputs to the FTA countries.

Earned Import Allowance Program (EIAP)– Certain amount of apparel assembled in a FTA partner using U.S. yarn and fabric will allow certain amount of apparel assembled in that country using third party yarn and fabric also to enter the U.S. duty free. For example, under CAFTA-DR, every two square meter equivalent (SME) of apparel assembled in Dominican Republic using U.S. yarn and fabric allows one SME of apparel assembled in Dominican Republic using third party yarn and fabric to enter the U.S. duty free.

Wholly-Assembled – A good is wholly assembled if all of its components, of which there must be at least two, pre-existed in essentially the same condition as found in the finished good and were combined to form the finished good. For example, the sewing together of the sleeves and the body of a shirt would be considered to be wholly assembled.

Knit-to-Shape — A good is considered “knit-to-shape” if 50 percent or more of the exterior surface area of the good is formed by major parts that have been knitted or crocheted directly to the shape used in the good, with no consideration being given to patch pockets, appliqués, or the like. Minor cutting, trimming, or sewing of those major parts shall not affect the determination of whether a good is “knit-to-shape.”

Source: US Trade Representative Office; Office of Textile and Apparel, US Department of Commerce

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