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HQ 084086

SEPTEMBER 29, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084086 PR


TARIFF NO.: 6201.11.0010; 4303.10.00

Harold I. Loring, Esquire
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, New York 10017-1062

RE: Classification of a Man's Overcoat with a Fur Collar

Dear Mr. Loring:

This ruling is in response to your request of March 27, 1989, on behalf of Cardinal Clothes of Canada, Inc., concerning the tariff status of a man's overcoat.


The submitted sample, made in Canada, is a man's long- length double breasted overcoat. The outer shell consists of a woven wool fabric (stated to be a blend of cashmere and wool). It is fully lined with a woven man-made fiber fabric and has a raccoon fur collar that extends almost to the waistline. It is indicated that the fur may also be silver fox, mink, or beaver and that the value of the fur collar far exceeds the value of the wool outer shell. Attached as an addendum to this ruling is an advertisement picturing four coats, each of which is similar to the submitted sample.


The issue presented is whether the sample coat is classifiable as apparel, of fur skin, in Subheading 4303.10.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), with duty at the rate of 5.8 percent ad valorem, or as a woven wool overcoat, in Subheading 6201.11.0010, HTSUSA, with duty at the rate of 47.6 cents per kilogram plus 18.9 percent ad valorem.


Subheading 4303.10.00 is in Chapter 43, HTSUSA. Note 4 to that chapter excepts articles of apparel with fur that is "mere trimming" from classification in Heading 4303.

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, which are the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level (the 4 and 6 digit headings), states, at page 620, that Heading 4303 covers all articles of apparel that are made up of (A) fur skin, (B) other materials lined with fur skin, or (C) other materials having fur skin on the outside, except as mere trimming. Since the garment in question does not meet the requirements of (A) or (B), in order to be classifiable in Heading 4303, it must meet the criterion in (C). The Explanatory Notes elaborate on what constitutes mere trimming, where, on the same page, they state:

Fur on a garment would be regarded as mere trimming if constituting, for example, the collar and revers (provided the collar or revers were not so exaggerated as to form virtually a cape or bolero), cuffs or edging to pockets, skirts, coats, etc.

Despite counsel's valiant efforts to establish that the fur portion of the coat amounts to more than mere trimming, it is clear to us from the Explanatory Notes, and our own observations, that since the fur does not even approach in size of a cape or bolero, and that it appears to perform only a minimal functional purpose, it is "mere trimming" and the garment is not classifiable in Heading 4303.

Counsel also seeks to establish that the essential character of the coat is imparted by the fur portion. The issue of "essential character" is not presented. As in Chapter 43, the Explanatory Notes for Chapter 62 provide that the classification of goods in that chapter is not affected by the presence of parts or accessories.

Where, however, the presence of such materials constitutes more than mere trimming the articles are classified in accordance with the relative Chapter Notes (particularly Note 4 to Chapter 43 and Note 2(b) to Chapter 67, relating to the presence of furskin [sic] and feathers, respectively), or failing that, according to the General Interpretive Rules. (at page 848)

General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1, HTSUSA, which provides that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined by the terms of the headings and by any relevant section or chapter notes, governs the classification of this merchandise. Since the fur on the garment has little or no utilitarian function and only comprises a small portion of the garment, it constitutes "mere trimming". As a result, the coat is not classifiable in Chapter 43 and the fur is not considered when classifying the garment in Chapter 62.

Even if an essential character determination was pertinent to the coat's classification, the fur does not impart the garment's essential character. The garment is essentially a wool coat with a fur collar. It is the wool fabric that creates the coat and provides both warmth and protection from the elements.

The contention is made that "the Commission was directed to avoid tariff rate changes to the extent practicable and to simplify the tariff where possible." In this regard, we note that "to the extent practicable" does not constitute a fiat to maintain the tariff status of all merchandise at the rates then prevailing. When converting from a national tariff system to an entirely new international tariff nomenclature, in the absence of overcomplicating the nomenclature, some changes are bound to occur. Overall, the HTSUSA is within a few tenths of a percentage point of being duty neutral. However, numerous articles have undergone rate changes--both upward and downward. Many of those changes were anticipated, but not all. It is only through the use of the new tariff that all the rate changes will be discovered.


The instant merchandise is classifiable under the provision for men's overcoats, of wool, in Subheading 6201.11.0010, HTSUSA, with duty, as a product of Canada, at the 1989 rate of 47.6 cents per kilogram plus 18.9 percent ad valorem. Textile and apparel category 434 is applicable.

The sample may be picked up in room 2217 any time during normal business hours.


John Durant, Director

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