United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1990 HQ Rulings > HQ 0084766 - HQ 0084863 > HQ 0084793

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 084793

August 24, 1988

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084793 CB


TARIFF NO.: 6109.10.0005

Ms. Debbie Rodriguez
Inter-Maritime Forwarding Co., Inc.
156 William Street
New York, New York 10038

RE: Classification of men's cotton T-shirt

Dear Ms. Rodriguez:

This ruling is in response to you letter of May 1, 1989, on behalf of Stanar, Inc. requesting a classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA), for men's 100 percent cotton T-shirts imported from Pakistan.


The subject merchandise, Style XXX1, is a men's all white garment which is constructed from 100 percent cotton finely knit jersey fabric. The garment features a rib knit crew neckline; short, straight, set-in sleeves; and a plain hemmed, straight bottom. The front, back, and sleeves are each constructed from a single piece of fabric. The edges of the sleeves are not turned under and stitched in the usual manner of hemming. The edge is finished by folding the fabric back on itself and sewing the fold with a Merrow machine using an overlock stitch.


Whether the subject cotton T-shirts comply with the short hemmed sleeve requirement of Heading 6109, HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 states, in part, that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative Section or Chapter Notes...." Heading 6109, HTSUSA, provides for

T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted. The statistical description for T-shirts in heading 6109.10.0005 provides for all white, short sleeves, without pockets, trim, embroidery, capped sleeves or waistbands.

The sleeve hems on the instant T-shirts are sewn by a Merrow machine using an overlock stitch. The machine was designed to join seams and contains a blade which cuts away excess seam fabric before the seams are joined. The blade cuts the fabric at the double fold if the operator does not carefully control the insertion of the folded fabric. Since the cut fabric is sewn closed by the machine, the edge appears to be a normal hem when the fabric is unfolded. It has been Customs position that garments with such hems would not be considered T-shirts because the edges were not considered plain hemmed inasmuch as they could be partially detached from the remainder of the sleeve by simply removing the stitching. These edges were considered to be more of a cuff than a hem.

The above described situation appears to occur only in Pakistan where many of the garments are produced by a cottage industry. It has been noted that the sleeves are constructed from the required single piece of fabric which is double folded and then stitched. The resulting stitched edge does not, in most cases, look remarkably different from the plain, hemmed edge created by the usual hemming machine. The cut in the fabric appears more to result from lack of skill and proper machinery than from an actual conscious design feature.

In our view, the type of cuff which would preclude a garment from being classified as a T-shirt for tariff purposes is one which has a separate existence from the shirt and is added to the shirt sleeve ends. Where we have satisfactory evidence that a "cuff" on a T-shirt is the result of a hemming operation where through lack of skill or proper machinery the sleeve edge is separated from the sleeve, this method of finishing the sleeve and bottom edges will be considered to be a method of plain hemming for the purposes of T-shirt classification. This is the only allowable instance of any deviation from the traditional method of hemming a sleeve.


The subject T-shirts are classifiable in 6109.10.0005, HTSUSA. The assigned rate of duty is 21 percent ad valorem and the textile category is 352.

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 importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

Your sample will be returned under separate cover.


John Durant, Directory
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: