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HQ 083977

June 5, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083977 SM


TARIFF NO.: 6114.30.3070

Mr. Scott Fraistat
Topstone Industries, Inc.
81 Sand Pit Road
Danbury, CT 06810

RE: Tariff classification of gorilla costume

Dear Mr. Fraistat:

Your letter of March 7, addressed to our New York office, requesting a tariff classification ruling for a gorilla costume to be imported from South Korea, has been referred to this office for reply.


A sample of Style 8500 was submitted. It consists of six pieces: a combination mask-head covering, a pair of "hands," a pair of "feet," and a one-piece knit "suit" that would cover the wearer's torso, arms, and legs. The "suit" has an opening at the back with hook-and-loop-tape fasteners. All pieces are partially or completely covered with "fur." The fiber content is not stated; we assume it to be man-made.


How is the gorilla costume classified?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (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 and then, if nothing in the headings or notes otherwise requires, in accordance with the remaining GRI's.

Heading 9505, HTSUSA, provides for festive, carnival, or other entertainment articles. The Explanatory Notes (EN), the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international
level, indicate that this heading is intended to include articles of fancy dress, such as masks, false ears and noses, wigs, false beards, and moustaches. However, Legal Note 1(e) of Chapter 95 excludes from the headings of that chapter arti- cles of fancy dress of textiles of Chapter 61 or 62.

The tariff does not define fancy dress. The definition of a classification term is a question of law. Converters Div. of American Hospital Supply Corp. v. United States, 861 F. 2d 710, 712 (Fed. Cir. 1988). Tariff terms are construed according to their common and commercial meanings which are presumed to be the same. Nippon Kogaku (USA), Inc. v. United States, 673 F. 2d 380, 382 (CCPA 1982). Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, at 822 (1965) defines fancy dress as:
a costume (as for a masquerade or party) depart- ing from currently conventional style and usu. representing a fictional or historical character, an animal, the fancy of the wearer, or a particu- lar occupation . . .

As a masquerade or party costume, Style 8500 falls within this definition of fancy dress. Since it is mostly of textile, it is excluded from Chapter 95 if classifiable in chapter 61 or 62.

Heading 6114, HTSUSA, a provision for other garments, knitted or crocheted, would cover the main portion of the costume. Heading 9505, HTSUSA, provides for the mask. The "hands" are covered by heading 4015, HTSUSA, a provision for rubber gloves. The "feet" are provided for under heading 6404, HTSUSA, as footwear with outer soles of rubber and uppers of textile materials. Since no single heading provides for all six articles, classification cannot be determined under GRI 1.

GRI 3 generally provides for the classification of goods that appear classifiable under two or more headings. GRI 3(a), providing for classification under the heading that is the most specific, does not apply when, as here, each heading considered refers to part only of the goods.

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 classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character . . . ."

The EN for GRI 3(b) provide interpretation of the terms composite goods and essential character. With regard to composite goods they state

For the purpose of [GRI 3(b)], 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 . . . . As a general rule, the components of these composite goods are put up in a common packing.

The pieces of the gorilla costume fall within this descrip- tion. Separable components, they are adapted to one another in that together they enable the wearer to convey the image of a gorilla. The pieces are packed together and would not normally be offered for sale separately.

The EN state further that the factor determining essen- tial 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 Style 8500, it is the "suit" that provides the essential character, since it is the most substantial portion. The costume is therefore classified as though it consisted of the "suit." Since it falls under heading 6114, HTSUSA, it is ex- cluded from Chapter 95 by Note 1(e) of that chapter.

There is nothing about the suit to identify it as either men's or women's. It is therefore classified under the subheading for women's. Note 8, Chapter 61, HTSUSA.


Style 8500 is classified under subheading 6114.30.3070, HTSUSA, textile category 659, a provision for other garments of man-made fibers, knitted or crocheted, women's.

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


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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