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HQ 083668

March 16, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083668 SM


TARIFF NO.: HTSUS 6204.52.2070

Ms. Kim Williams-Brinck
Import Operations
Expeditors International
P.O. Box 69620
Seattle, WA 98168

RE: Tariff classification of skirt and belt

Dear Ms. Williams-Brinck:

Your letter of January 30 on behalf of Worth Stores, addressed to Customs in Seattle, requesting a tariff clas- sification ruling for a skirt and belt, has been referred to this office for reply.


The submitted sample of Style 11503 is marked "Made in U.S.A.," although you state that the goods will be imported from China. It consists of a skirt and a belt. The pleated skirt is 100 percent woven cotton chambray. It features a rise above the waist with four belt tunnels an inch below the top edge, self-fabric adjustable shoulder straps, and a nine- inch side zipper. A vinyl belt with a metal buckle accom- panies the garment.


How are the skirt and belt classified?


Classification under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section and chapter notes. After that, if the headings or notes do not require otherwise, classification is in accordance with the remaining GRI's.

Heading 6204, HTSUSA, provides for skirts. Heading 3926, HTSUSA, provides for other articles of plastics. No single heading provides for both the skirt and the plastic belt. Classification cannot be determined under GRI 1.

GRI 2(a), concerning incomplete or unassembled articles, does not apply in this case.

GRI 2(b) provides that goods consisting of more than one material or substance and appearing to be classifiable under more than one heading, such as the trousers and belts in ques- tion here, must be classified according to GRI 3.

GRI 3(a) provides that the more specific heading is to be preferred. 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 . . . ." In this case different headings each refer to part only of the goods to be classified. Thus classification cannot be determined according to which heading is more specific.

GRI 3(b) provides that "[m]ixtures, 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 classi- fied as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character . . . ."

The Explanatory Notes, the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, for GRI 3(b) provide interpretation of the terms essential character and goods put up in sets for retail sale.

The Explanatory Notes state that goods put up in sets for retail sale are those that:

(a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings . . .;

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a spe- cific activity; and

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking . . . .

In this case the goods to be classified consist of a textile garment and a plastic belt prima facie classifiable in dif- ferent headings. These articles are put up together to pro- vide a coordinated outfit of skirt and belt in the same style. They are stated to be imported together; we assume that they are ready for direct sale without repacking. Thus they meet the requirements for classification as a set.

The Explanatory Notes state further that the factor determining which article of a set provides its essential character will vary with different kinds of goods. It may be "the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or . . . the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods." With regard to the style under consideration here, as in virtually every instance involving belt and garment combinations, it is the garment that provides the essential character. The belt is merely an accessory to the garment and, barring exceptional circum- stances, is not the main reason for the existence of the combination or the primary motivating factor governing the purchase of the two articles.


The skirt and belt are classified under subheading 6204.52.2070, HTSUSA, textile category 342, a provision for women's cotton skirts.

Because of the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the tariff number) and the textile restraint categories, you should contact your local Customs office before importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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