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HQ 083765

MARCH 6, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083765 PR


TARIFF NO.: 381.05, TSUS

Area Director of Customs
Building 178
J.F.K. International Airport
Jamaica, N.Y. 11430

RE: Internal Advice Request 1/89; Raincoats

Dear Sir:

This ruling is in response to your memorandum of December 7, 1988, your file CLA-2 K:C:B FW, concerning a Request for Internal Advice submitted by the law firm of Ross and Hardies on behalf of George Weintraub & Sons.


One sample, a man's trench-style raincoat, was submitted. The single feature in question is a flap, located in the right front shoulder area on the sample. The flap is stitched down on two sides--along the raglan sleeve seam and along the collar seam. The remaining two sides are free hanging except that the flap is buttoned to the garment where those two sides come together to form a point. The flap is made from the same fabric as the rest of the garment. The garment is cut so that the flap must be left unbuttoned (hanging loose) when the top button on the full front opening is utilized.


The issue presented is whether the shoulder area flap on the sample garment constitutes ornamentation for tariff purposes.


In order for a feature to cause a garment to be classified under an "ornamented" provision of the tariff schedules, that feature must be more than incidentally decorative and it must not have a functionality that is primary to its ornamental nature. United States v. Endicott Johnson Corp., 67 CCPA 47, C.A.D. 1242, 617 F.2d 278 (1980), at 281.

When determining whether a garment is ornamented for tariff purposes, each garment must stand on its own merits. In regard to the instant sample, the flap is made of the same material as the body of the garment. However, its presence on the garment is noticeable and it serves to enhance the frontal appearance of the coat. When viewing the garment as a whole, and considering the little, if any functional value it may have, we conclude that the flap is primarily decorative in nature. As further support for this conclusion, we note the September, 1987, issue of Consumer Reports, which contains a report on trench coats. That report describes the flap in question as a "storm" flap and states that "it's often more decorative than functional."


The sample garment is classifiable under the provision of the tariff schedules for ornamented men's wearing apparel. Assuming that the garment is in chief value of cotton, it is classifiable in item 381.05, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS). A copy of this ruling should be furnished to the inquirer.


John Durant, Director

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