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 0085379 - HQ 0085482 > HQ 0085431

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 085431

December 20, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085431 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6109.10.0037, 6109.90.1080

Richard Wortman, Esq.
Alan Klestadt, Esq.
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, New York, 10017

RE: Classification of women's upper body garments -- modification of NYRL 839337, NYRL 839223, NYRL 842098, and NYRL 839336

Dear Mr. Wortman:

This ruling is in response to your submission of August 23, 1989, on behalf of North American Underwear Company (NAU), requesting reconsideration of NYRLs 839337, 839223, 842098 and 839336 which dealt with the classification of various styles of women's upper body garments.


The garments at issue are styles J5402, J5409, J5401, and J5116 and J5403, which were classified in NYRLs 839337, 839336, 842098, and 839223, respectively, as women's knit tops under heading 6114.20.0010, HTSUSA, if of cotton, and heading 6114.30.1020, HTSUSA, if of man-made fibers. These garments are finely knit women's crop tops manufactured in Hong Kong and Columbia in both 100 percent cotton and rayon/cotton blends. The tops are color coordinated to match the importer's line of women's underpants and are designed in tank-top, T-shirt, mock-turtleneck and bra-top styles which do reach below the midriff. Although the tops and panties are sold separately, they are marketed together at both the wholesale and retail levels as coordinating garments.

Sample garments have been submitted for examination, as well as advertising material at the wholesale and retail levels. It is stated in the submission that NAU is the exclusive licensee of Gitano brand women's underwear and sleepwear and that NAU has entered into a restrictive licensing agreement with The Gitano Group which prohibits

NAU from selling merchandise with would compete with other Gitano products sold in sportswear/outerwear departments. The Gitano tops at issue are sold exclusively in sleepwear/lingerie departments. Affidavits attesting to the above information have been submitted to Customs from the President of NAU and the Executive Vice-President and Director of Product and Merchandising Development for NAU.


Are the upper body garments at issue more properly classified as underwear similar to T-shirts, singlets and tank tops of heading 6109, HTSUSA, or as tops under heading 6114, HTSUSA, which provides for other garments?


Classification of products under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRIs taken in order].

Customs has previously ruled that classification of merchandise cannot be governed on the basis of which department within a store the merchandise is sold. However, it can be taken into consideration along with any other evidence which supports the importer's position. In this particular instance, the importer has adequately documented his claim that the tops at issue are underwear and that they are advertised and marketed at both the wholesale and retail levels as underwear. The sworn affidavits indicate the tops are "sold exclusively as underwear to underwear/lingerie departments" and are intended to be sold as underwear that complement NAU's panties. Since the garments are designed, manufactured, and marketed for use as underwear and it has been recognized "that most consumers tend to purchase and use a garment in the manner in which it is marketed," Mast Industries v. United States, 9 CIT 549, 551 (1985), aff'd, 786 F. 2d 1144 (1986), we believe these tops are more properly classified as underwear similar to T-shirts, singlets and tank tops of heading 6109, HTSUSA.

Additionally, Customs has already ruled on a garment similar to those at issue here in HRL 084865 of September 22, 1989. In that ruling, the garment, a women's crop top, was classified as women's underwear in subheading 6109.10.0037, HTSUSA.


Styles J5402, J5409, and J5116 are classifiable as women's underwear in subheading 6109.10.0037, HTSUSA, which provides for T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or
crocheted, of cotton, women's or girls', underwear. The textile category is 352 and the rate of duty is 21 percent ad valorem.

Styles J5401 and J5403 are classifiable as women's underwear in subheading 6109.90.1080, HTSUSA, which provides for T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted, of man-made fibers, women's or girls', other. The textile category is 639 and the rate of duty is 34 percent ad valorem.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

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.

Pursuant to section 177.9 Customs Regulations (19 CFR section 177.9), NYRL 839337 of May 2, 1989, NYRL 839223 of April 11, 1989, NYRL 842098 of June 12, 1989, and NYRL 839336 of May 3, 1989 are modified in conformity with the foregoing.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: