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HQ 080047

August 26, 1988

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 080047 jlj 821634


TARIFF NO.: 381.3144; 6205.30.0070

Marian R. Shelton, Esq.
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz
& Silverman
12 East 49th Street
New York, New York 10017

RE: Classification of a men's shirt which has epaulets and certain other features

Dear Ms. Shelton:

You requested a reconsideration of New York letter 821636, dated January 26, 1987. You submitted a sample of the merchandise covered by 821636 along with your request.


New York letter 821636 held that a men's sport shirt, style 1538, imported from Taiwan for your client Woolrich Inc. was ornamented and was classified under the provision for other men's or boys' wearing apparel, ornamented, of man-made fibers, knit, other, coats, shirts, suits, swimming trunks and other swimwear, trousers, slacks, and shorts: shirts, sport, other, in item 381.3144, Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (TSUSA). Textile category 640 applies to this tariff number.

The sample submitted is a woven men's sport shirt, 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton. The shirt has a full front opening with a button closure. It has four front pockets and one rear pocket which is formed by a large textile overlay with a button at either open end (i.e., the top and bottom of the textile overlay are sewn down, but the sides are left open except for a button on each side). Above the left breast pocket there is a non-adjustable tab secured by means of a button. In addition, there is a small pocket on the left sleeve of the garment. An accordion-like pouch extends from the bottom of the left pocket to the left side seam; it measures approximately 3 inches in width and 3 inches in
depth. The shirt has epaulets with button closures.

You question whether the tab over the left breast pocket, the epaulets, and the open pocket on the back of the shirt constitute ornamentation. You claim that the three features are functional on shirts used by sport fishermen because the fishermen can carry all their gear with them and still have a hand free to push back bushes.

You believe that the shirt is not ornamented and that it is classified under the provision for other men's or boys' wearing apparel, not ornamented, of man-made fibers, not knit, other, coats, shirts, suits, swimming trunks and other swimwear, trousers, slacks, and shorts: sport shirts not having two or more colors in the warp and/or the filling, in item 381.9400, TSUSA. Textile category 640 applies to this tariff number.


Do the epaulets, the open back pocket, and the tab over the left breast pocket constitute ornamentation for tariff purposes?


You argue that all three questioned features are functional. You claim that the epaulets permit the fisherman to carry securely any article with a shoulder strap, e.g., a camera, a fishing net or a creel.

You argue that the open-ended back pocket could be used to carry equipment such as a windbreaker or a rain poncho which would not fit easily into a regular-sized pocket.

Finally, you claim that the nonadjustable textile tab above the left breast pocket allows the fisherman to hold his fishing rod steady while changing bait. You state that the base of the rod is placed in the accordion-like pocket at the left of the waist, while the top of the rod is secured by the tab buttoned over the rod. You argued that this leaves both of the fisherman's hands free to add new tackle to his rod and fishing line.

Textile fabric is one of the forms of ornamentation specifically listed in Headnote 3, Schedule 3, TSUSA. For tariff purposes, a feature listed in that headnote will constitute ornamentation where the decorative effect produced on a garment is paramount, while the functional purpose served by the feature is only incidental. Blairmoor Knitting Corp. v. United States, 60 Cust. Ct. 388, C.D. 3396 (1968).

We find that the epaulets are primarily decorative inasmuch as nothing that was very heavy could be attached and carried that way. Customs has held previously that epaulets on shirts constitute ornamentation.

The back pocket is more of an overlay than a pocket. It is approximately 15 inches wide and 10 inches high. On either side there is a button closure approximately halfway down the pocket. This results in a 5 inch opening on either side of the button. Most articles inserted into the so-called pocket would fall out. The position of the rear pocket (approxi- mately half way down the back) also makes it difficult for the wearer of the shirt to have access to it.

The use of the textile tab over the left breast pocket which is advanced by counsel would be quite awkward. If the base of the fishing rod is put in the accordion-like pouch and the top of the rod is put through the tab, the tab is not capable of holding the rod steady. The fisherman would have difficulty attaching new tackle to the wobbling rod and fishing line. It would be easier if the rod was anchored on the ground.

Both the tab above the left breast pocket and the open- ended rear pocket appear to have no real use. In the absence of any evidence of functionality, we find that these two features are primarily decorative.


The epaulets, the back pocket and the textile tab over the left breast pocket constitute ornamentation for tariff purposes. The instant sport shirt is classified in item 381.3144, TSUSA. New York letter 821636 is hereby affirmed.

The proposed Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is schedule to replace the TSUSA. The HTSUSA provision applicable to the instant shirt is 6205.30.0070, men's woven sport shirts of man-made fibers. This classification represents the present position of the Customs Service regarding the status of this merchandise under the proposed HTSUSA. If there are changes before enactment, this advice may not continue to be applicable.


John Durant, Director

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