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HQ 082772

DECEMBER 28, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 082772 PR



Mrs. Doreen Wai
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
British Embassy
1233 20th Street, N.W., Suite 504
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Tank Tops--Your Case No. 42/88

Dear Mrs. Wai:

This ruling is in reply to your letter of September 6, 1988, concerning garments imported at the port of John F. Kennedy International Airport by North American Underwear Co. (Entry No. 230-0080031-0).


Pictures, but no sample, were submitted. The garment in question has the appearance of a tank top--large armholes, scoop neckline, and shoulder straps 1-1/2 inches wide. It is stated to have a body length of 14-3/4 inches for a medium size. The pictures show a short waisted woman or girl wearing a cotton knit garment that extends just to her waist.


The issue presented is whether the garment in question belongs in textile and apparel category 338/339 as a top, or whether it is long enough to be a tank top, thus falling in subcategory 338/339(1).


Tops are generally considered to be garments which do not reach the waist. HRL 084065, dated July 26, 1989. See also The Textile Category Guidelines for Fabrics and Garments, CIE 6/87, dated June 9, 1987, at page 26. Tank tops, on the other hand, have traditionally been required to "reach the vicinity of the waist."

In this instance, although pictured as reaching the waist of the wearer, our National Import Specialist for this commodity reports it is Customs experience that an upper body garment with a length of 14-3/4 inches is not long enough to reach the vicinity of the waist of the normal American woman for whom medium sized garments are designed.

In the absence of statutory authority to the contrary, we are obligated to classify merchandise in accordance with its use in the United States. Accordingly, a size medium tank top style garment with a body length of 14-3/4 inches would not reach the vicinity of the waist of the woman for whom it is designed and, therefore, it is categorized for tariff purposes as a top and not as a tank top.


The 1988 textile and apparel category applicable to the instant garment is 339. A copy of this letter is being furnished to the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.


John Durant, Director

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