United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1990 HQ Rulings > HQ 0082527 - HQ 0082703 > HQ 0082600

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 082600

October 4, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G HQ 082600 WAW


TARIFF NO.: 6505.90.6060

Joel K. Simon
Serko, Simon & Abbey
One World Trade Center
Suite 3371
New York, N.Y. 10048

RE: Classification of a baseball cap with sunshade

Dear Mr. Simon:

This is in reference to your letter dated March 24, 1988, requesting the tariff classification of a baseball cap with sunshade under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted along with your request.


The sample merchandise consists of a baseball cap and attached sunshade. The visor and front panel of the crown are composed of 100 percent polyester knit fabric and the back panel of the cap is composed of a nylon mesh. There is a braid of nylon at the juncture between the peak and the crown of the cap. On the front panel of the crown the words "Born to be Wild" are printed. The bottom of the peak is vinyl and has a vinyl slide clip which holds the sunshade in place. Based on the submitted component material value breakdown, the component material of chief value is plastic. The subject merchandise will be imported from Taiwan.


(1) Whether the merchandise at issue is classifiable as a composite good for tariff purposes?

(2) If considered a composite good, which item provides the essential character for classification purposes; and if not considered a composite good, how are the item properly classified?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the manner in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's, taken in order.

In the instant case, the first issue to be considered is whether the baseball cap and sunshade are included under one heading in the Nomenclature. The baseball cap is classifiable under subheading 6505.90.6060, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, hats and other headgear, of man-made fibers. The sunshade is classifiable under subheading 3926.20.2050, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of apparel and clothing accessories of plastics.

Since no heading, by itself, covers the subject merchandise, classification cannot be determined by application of GRI 1. Therefore, reference to the subsequent GRI's is necessary. GRI 2 is not applicable in the case at issue since the subject merchandise does not concern an incomplete or unfinished article and is not a mixture or combination of goods.

GRI 3, however, is applicable in this situation. It provides in pertinent part:

When, by application of Rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

Since the baseball cap and the sunshade fall under separate headings in the HTSUSA which describe only a portion of the materials in the cap/sunshade unit, the headings are to be regarded as equally specific under GRI 3(a). Therefore, GRI 3(a) fails in establishing classification in this case and classification is determined by application of GRI 3(b) which provides:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Explanatory Note 3(b) to the HTSUSA, which constitutes the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, defines composite goods as follows:

(IX) For the purposes of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

In the instant case, the baseball cap and sunshade qualify as composite goods as defined in Explanatory Note IX to GRI 3(b). Here, the sunshade is specially designed to clip onto the visor of the baseball cap. The two items at issue are intended to function as a single unit. Although the sunshade may be detached from the visor, together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts. Since the subject merchandise cannot be classified by reference to GRI 3(a), we must determine which component, if any, imparts the essential character of the item pursuant to the factors set forth in Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) which states that:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

The essential character of the baseball cap with attached sunshade is apparent from the intended use of the item. It is Customs position that the baseball cap gives the item its essential character. The item is primarily designed to be used as a baseball cap and the sunshade is merely an accessory. The baseball cap comprises the greatest constituent bulk and weight of the composite good. Moreover, the sunshade cannot be used without the baseball cap because the only way to attach the sunshade is to insert it into the specially built-in slide clip on the peak of the cap. While it is the sunshade which may attract the consumer's attention to the article, it is clear that the essential character of the article is the baseball cap, and the sunshade is merely a marketing feature. Thus, the baseball cap with attached sunshade is properly classifiable under subheading 6505.90.6060, HTSUSA, which provides for hats and other headgear of man-made fibers: not in part of braid: other.


The sample baseball cap with attached sunshade is classifiable under subheading 6505.90.6060, HTSUSA. The applicable rate of duty is 39.7 cents per kilogram plus 14.1% ad valorem. The item falls within textile category 659 and as a product of Taiwan is subject to visa and quota restraints.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: