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HQ 084423


August 3, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084423 HP

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

TARIFF NO.: 6204.62.4040

Mr. Jerry Armani
Mamiye Sales, Inc.
112 West 34th Street, Suite 700
New York, New York 10120

RE: Tariff classification of a trousers, belt and suspender group

Dear Mr. Armani:

This is in reply to your letter of April 5, 1989, to our New York office, concerning the appropriate tariff classification of a certain girls' overall , with suspenders and belt, stated to be produced in Hong Kong. Your reference is MB9L6330A.

FACTS:

The submitted sample consists of a girls' trousers, with suspenders and belt, not considered "bib and brace overalls" as defined in the Explanatory Notes to heading 6103,
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA ). The garment is
100 percent cotton denim, "Ice Cream" washed, with a waistband extension above the natural waistline, a front bib extension, adjustable printed elastic suspenders (having a print substantially similar to the rolled-up cuffs of the garment and attached by clips to the front bib and back waistband extension), an exposed side zipper closure, a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) belt through belt loops on the natural waistline, two front scoop pockets, and contrast fabric in various places.

ISSUE:

Whether the garment and its accessories are to be classified as a composite good or a set for tariff purposes.

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Subheading 6204.62, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, women 's or girl's trousers, of cotton. Classification lies in whether the trousers-suspenders- belt combination con stitutes either a composite good or a set put up for retail sale. If so, classification is based upon an trousers analysis; if not, separate trousers, suspenders and belt analyses.

The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part :

... classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes ....

Goods which cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's, taken in order. GRI 3 states, in pertinent part:

When ... goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, 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) [which requires that goods be classified, if possible, under the more specific of the competing provisions], shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the
System at the international level. Explanatory Note (IX) to GRI 3 provides:

For the purposes 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 to one another and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

Explanatory Note (X) to GRI 3 provides, in pertinent part:

For the purposes of [GRI 3(b)], the term "goods put up in sets for retail sale" shall be taken to mean goods which:

(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 specific activity; and

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

[C]lassification [of sets and of composite goods] is made according to the component, or components taken together, which can be regarded as conferring on the set as a whole its essential character.

It is the opinion of the Customs Service that the trousers, suspenders and belt combination is not a composite good. Each item has a separate identity, and each is not adapted to the other as required for classification as a composite good. Rather, the combination fits within the description and definition of goods put up in sets for retail sale. It is composed of different articles, is put together to meet a particular need, i.e., the organization of an ensemble, and is imported in a condition for sale directly to consumers without repacking.
Pursuant to GRI 3(b), sets of goods shall be classified as if they consisted of the component which gives the set its essential character. In this case, as in virtually every instance involving suspender and garment combinations, it is the garment which provides the essential character. The suspenders and belt are merely an accessory to the garment, and, barring unusual or exceptional circumstances, is not the main reason for the existence of the combination or the primary motivating factor governing the purchase of the articles. As a result, the trousers-suspenders- belt set is classifiable under the applicable heading for girls' blue denim trousers.

As we stated above, the addition of the PVC belt to the trousers does not conform to the definition of composite goods as previously interpreted. While it is true that textile belts sold with garments may be treated as composite goods, the sample belt is of a different material than the garment (PVC to the garment's 100% cotton), is a completely different color than the garment (brown to the garment's primary blue), and could easily be sold separately to match an indeterminable number of clothing articles. It is our opinion that the belt is not mutually complementary to the articles it is imported with, and must be classified as part of the trousers-suspenders set.

HOLDING:

In view of the foregoing, the trousers-suspenders-belt set is classified under HTSUSA subheading 6204.62.4040, as women's or girls' suits, ensembles, suit-type jackets, blazers, dresses, skirts, divided skirts, trousers, bib and brace overalls , breeches and shorts
(other than swimwear), trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts, of cotton, other, other, other, trousers and breeches, girls', blue denim, other, at 17.7 percent ad valorem. The skirt requires a visa for textile category 348; the suspenders a visa under category 659.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation ( the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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