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HQ 080584

November 1, 1988

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 080584 CMR 824003


TARIFF NO.: 6204.22.3065; 6204.22.3050

Stretch-O-Rama, Inc.
112 West 34th Street
New York, New York 10120

RE: Classification of various two-piece infants' and children's garments

Dear Sir:

This is in response to a letter of June 16, 1987, by Jack Grossman of Ja-Mar Forwarding, requesting a tariff classification ruling for certain garments which will be manufactured in Hong Kong and imported into the United States by your company.


The two submitted samples are representative of styles 44656, 54656, and 74656, which are designated according to size; and styles 44655, 54655, and 74655, which are also designated according to size. The sizes, respectively, are 2-4, 4-7, and 8- 14. The two samples each consist of matching tops and shorts made of the same 100 percent cotton fabric. The shorts have partially elasticized waistbands with two buttonholes on the fronts and backs. A rear pocket is featured in all styles. Buttons appear on the tops which correspond to the buttonholes on the shorts in order to provide a means of attachment of the tops and shorts during wear. Each top has short sleeves, a full-front opening, and a front chest pocket.


Whether the tops and shorts of the submitted samples are classifiable separately or as playsuits.


Headnote 3, Part 6, Schedule 3, Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (TSUSA), is applicable in this situation. The relevant portions are as follows:

3. (a) Except as provided in (b) of this headnote, each garment is to be separately classified under the appropriate tariff item, even if 2 or more garments are imported together and designed to be sold together at retail.
(b) The provisions of paragraph (a) of this headnote shall not apply to --

(iii) playsuits, washsuits, and similar apparel....

Headnote 3 removed essentially all garments, except those listed in (b), from consideration under the doctrine of entireties for the purpose of classification. Playsuits are listed in (b), and therefore must meet the test of the doctrine of entireties. To qualify as an entirety, the articles, when combined, should form a new article with a different character or use from the parts; or one of the articles or components should predominate with the other components being merely incidental to the predominant part. E.M. Stevens Corp. v. United States, 49 Cust. Ct. 203, 204, Abstract 66971 (1962), appeal dismissed, 53 CCPA 155, C.A.D. 5266 (1966). In addition, when articles imported together as a unit retain their individual identities and are not subordinated to the identity of the combination, the articles will not be considered an entirety and will be classified separately. Donalds, Ltd., Inc. v. United States, 32 Cust. Ct. 310, 315, C.D. 1619 (1954).

Ruling Letter 075949 of March 3, 1986, sets out the factors considered in determining if garments are classifiable as playsuits under the doctrine of entireties. These include:

1. reference to the Textile Category Guidelines for Fabric and Garments Reported Under Various Textile Categories, C.I.E. 6/87;
2. the way in which the garments are known and marketed; 3. the use of the garments;
4. the construction, design and composition of the garments; and,
5. the manner in which they are worn together.

The pertinent portion of the Textile Category Guidelines, page 20, states:

Children's two-piece physically connected entireties, such as shirts and shorts having matching buttons and buttonholes, or shoulder loops with suspender straps designed to join the two pieces, which are so manufactured
that the use of one without the other is not practicable, are encompassed within this category [337, playsuits, washsuits, etc.].

In this case, it is impracticable to wear the shirts and shorts separately. Generally, we follow the rule that waistbands which are less than 50 percent elastic are not considered substantial. The shorts at issue have just under 50 percent elastic in their waistbands. It would follow then by application of the general rule that there is insufficient elastic in the waistband of the shorts to hold them up during wear without the aid of the button attachment to the shirts. The shorts also have large buttonholes which are obvious to the eye and decrease the likelihood of their separate use. In addition, we believe it is impracticable to wear the shirts separately because of the size and placement of the buttons on them. The garments of styles 44656, 54656, and 74656, and styles 44655, 54655, and 74655 meet the criteria set out in the Textile Category Guidelines.

In Ruling Letter 079553 of March 30, 1988, we stated our view that two-piece combination garments are not classifiable as playsuits when they are merely joined at the waist by buttons or other fasteners, and do not form a new commercial entity generally recognized as a playsuit. We still adhere to this view. The presence of the button attachment alone is not the basis for classifying garments as playsuits. In this case, the samples are designed for and, presumably, used for play. The shirt and shorts are imported and sold together, and presumably, worn together since any other use of the garments would be impracticable. Considering the factors set out in Ruling Letter 075949, we believe that the instant garments are classifiable under the doctrine of entireties as playsuits.

You stated in your letter that these garments are boys' apparel. Headnote 2, Part 6, Schedule 3, TSUSA, provides that infants' wearing apparel "is wearing apparel for children, regardless of their sex, up to and including 6 years of age." In addition, these garments can and probably will be worn by both boys and girls, and, therefore, the subject garments are classified as women's, girls', and infants' in accordance with Headnote 2(c).

Note that this ruling should not be interpreted as implying that a specific number of buttons attaching tops and pants will automatically qualify the garments as a playsuit. The means of attachment is a consideration, but it is not the determinative consideration.


The garments are classifiable as playsuits. Styles 44656, 54656, 44655, and 54655 are classifiable in the provision for other women's, girls', or infants' wearing apparel, not ornamented, of cotton, not knit, other, other, other, other playsuits, washsuits, sunsuits and similar apparel, other, other, infants', item 384.5233, Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (TSUSA). Styles 74656 and 74655 are classifiable in the same provision, item 384.5234, TSUSA, for girls'. For both item numbers, the textile category designation is 337, and the applicable rate of duty is 8 percent ad valorem.

Under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), the term "ensemble" means
a set of garments . . . composed of several pieces made up in identical fabric, put up for retail sale, and comprising:
one garment designed to cover the upper part of the body, with the exception of waistcoats which may also form a second upper garment, and
one or two different garments, designed to cover the lower part of the body and consisting of trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches, shorts (other than swimwear), a skirt or a divided skirt.

When garments are classified as ensembles, their rates of duty are the rates which would apply if the garments were entered separately.

Under the HTSUSA, the tops of styles 44656, 54656, 74656, 44655, 54655, and 74655 are classifiable in the provision for women's or girls' suits, ensembles, . . ., breeches and shorts, ensembles, of cotton, other, blouses and shirts, other, subheading 6204.22.3065, textile category 341. The rate of duty is 16.4 percent ad valorem. This is the rate which would apply if the garments were entered separately and classified in subheading 6206.30.3060, HTSUSA.

The shorts of styles 44656, 54656, 74656, 44655, 54655, and 74655 are classifiable in the provision for women's or girls' suits, ensembles, . . ., breeches and shorts, ensembles, of cotton, other, shorts, subheading 6204.22.3050, HTSUSA, textile category 348. The rate of duty is 17.7 percent ad valorem. This is the rate which would apply if the garments were entered separately and classified in subheading 6204.62.4065, HTSUSA.

This classification represents the present position of the Customs Service. If there are changes before the HTSUSA becomes effective, this advice may not continue to be applicable.

The samples will be returned, as requested, under separate cover.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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