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HQ 084325

July 11, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084325 SM


TARIFF NO.: 6204.53.3010; 6211.43.0060

Duncan A. Nixon, Esq.
Sharretts, Paley, Carter and Blauvelt
67 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004

RE: Tariff classification of women's blouses, skirts, and scarf

Dear Mr. Nixon:

Your letter of March 28 on behalf of Leslie Fay Dress, addressed to our New York office, requesting a tariff classi- fication ruling for certain women's blouses, skirts, and a scarf, to be imported from Hong Kong, has been referred to this office for reply.


There are two styles in question; a sample of each was submitted. They are marked "Made in U.S.A."

Style 3556 consists of two pieces, always sold as a unit. Both are stated to be of woven polyester, the rib-knit portions obviously excepted. The skirt is pleated and has a side zipper and button. The blouse has a two-button opening at the back, long sleeves with rib-knit cuffs, shoulder pads, epaulettes that button at the shoulder, and a rib-knit band around the lower edge. The skirt and blouse are of the same colors but different prints.

Style 3520 consists of three pieces, also sold as a unit. They are of woven fabric, the rib-knit portion again excepted, and stated to be of synthetic fiber. The skirt is pleated, with a side zipper and button, a waistband that is elasticized at the back, and a contrasting border print at the lower edge. The blouse has a two-button opening at the back, long sleeves with single-button cuffs, shoulder pads, and a rib-knit band at the lower edge. The piece described as a scarf is a triangle formed by seaming two smaller triangles. It has a contrasting border print that matches the border of the skirt.

You believe that the skirt of Style 3556 is classified under heading 6204, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA); and the blouse under heading 6211, HTSUSA. You also believe that the three pieces of Style 3520 are classified under heading 6204, HTSUSA, as an ensemble.


Are the styles described classified as units or sepa- rately under the HTSUSA?


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 and then, if the headings and notes do not otherwise require, in accordance with the remaining GRI's.

The Section XI notes cover the various headings for textile articles generally. Note 13 provides that "[u]nless the context otherwise requires, textile garments of different headings are to be classified in their own headings even if put up in sets for retail sale." Thus, blouses and skirts, garments of different headings, must be classified separately.

An exception to this rule is provided for in heading 6204, HTSUSA, which includes ensembles. Note 3(b) of Chapter 62 defines this term as "a set of garments . . . composed of several pieces made up in identical fabric, put up for retail sale, and comprising: one garment designed to cover the upper part of the body, . . . and one or two different garments, designed to cover the lower part of the body . . . . All of the components of an ensemble must be of the same fabric, construction, style, color, and composition . . . ." As an exception to Note 13, this provision should be strictly con- strued.

Neither Style 3556 nor Style 3520 meets this definition. In both cases, one garment of the purported ensemble contains a type of fabric not found in the other component. The blouse of Style 3556 has three-and-one-half-inch cuffs and a four- inch band, at the lower edge, of knitted fabric, whereas there is no knitted fabric on the skirt. Style 3520 also has a four-inch band of knitted fabric at the lower edge, with no knitted fabric in the skirt. Thus classification as ensembles is precluded for both styles.

The skirts of both styles are classified as skirts under heading 6204, HTSUSA. Classification of the blouses, con- sidered separately, in the headings of Chapter 62 is not pre- cluded by the presence of the knit cuffs and bands; the Explanatory Notes (EN), the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, for this chapter indicate that classification of goods in the chapter is not intended to be affected by the presence of parts or accessories of knitted fabrics unless the latter constitute more than trimming. The amount of knitted fabric in the cuffs and bands is not suffi- cient to raise the question of whether the blouses should in fact be classified as knitted garments.

However, classification of both blouses under heading 6206, HTSUSA, for blouses, is precluded by the EN for this heading, which indicate that it is not intended to cover garments with ribbed waistbands. They therefore fall under heading 6211, HTSUSA, a provision including "other" garments.

Heading 6214, HTSUSA, includes shawls, scarves, and the like. The EN indicate that the term shawl is intended to include triangular articles, but they must usually be large enough to cover the head and shoulders. The "scarf" of Style 3520 does not appear to meet this requirement. Scarves and mufflers are stated to be usually square or rectangular and normally worn around the neck. Although it is not square, the "scarf" of Style 3520 appears to be designed to be worn around the neck of the blouse in the usual manner of a scarf folded into a triangle.

Since no heading of the tariff provides for both scarves and blouses, classification cannot be determined under GRI 1. GRI 3 provides generally for the classification of goods that appear classifiable under more than one heading. GRI 3(b) provides for the treatment of composite goods made up of different components even if the components are separable, as long as they are adapted to one another, are mutually comple- mentary, and together form a whole that would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts. GRI 3(b) provides further that goods consisting of different components are to be classified as if they consisted of the component that gives them their essential character.

The description of composite goods fits the blouse and "scarf." The two pieces are separable but their elaborate matching patterns adapted one to the other. The "scarf" is, in actuality, not a scarf, but a piece of triangular shaped fabric which is intended for use only with the matching blouse.

The essential character of the combination is provided by the blouse. The "scarf" is merely an accessory accenting the blouse and would not be the main reason for the existence of the combination or the primary motivating factor governing the purchase of the two articles. The blouse and "scarf" are therefore classified under the heading covering the blouse.


The skirts of both styles are classified under subhead- ing 6204.53.3010, HTSUSA, textile category 642, a provision for women's skirts of synthetic fibers. The blouses, and in the case of Style 3520, the "scarf," are classified under sub- heading 6211.43.0060, textile category 641, a provision for other women's garments, tops, of man-made fibers.

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


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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