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HQ 086009

February 7, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086009 DRR 846336


TARIFF NO.: 6204.19.2000

Robert T. Stack, Esq.
Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Whitehall Street
New York, New York 10004

RE: Classification of a women's suit

Dear Mr. Stack:

This is in response to your letter dated July 14, 1989, on behalf of Liz Claiborne, Inc., requesting the classification of women's garments, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise at issue, style 102306, consists of an upper body garment and a skirt, each made of 95 percent rayon and 5 percent silk woven fabric, with a woven lining, assumed to be manmade. The upper body garment has a full front opening secured by four buttons, a lapel collar, short sleeves, and a fitted waist. It also has a placket which creates the effect of a breast pocket with a small rectangular handkerchief in contrasting fabric pinned to it. The skirt has a rear zipper closure with a hook and eye. The garments will be imported from Taiwan. Your letter indicates that you believe that the upper body garment and handkerchief constitute a set classifiable under the provision for suit-type jackets in subheading 6204.39.3010, HTSUSA. You further state that you believe that the skirt is classifiable under subheading 6204.59.3010, HTSUSA.


Is the upper body garment classifiable as a jacket or a blouse? Are the garments classifiable as a suit or ensemble, or must they be classified separately?


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. Note 3 to Chapter 62 states that all of the components of a suit must be of the same fabric construction, style, color and composition. Note 13 to Section XI of the tariff states that textile garments of different headings are to be classified under their own headings, even if put up in sets for retail sale, unless the context requires otherwise.

The upper garment exhibits certain characteristics of a jacket as well as a blouse. Although the short sleeves and narrow cut are more indicative of a blouse, the heavy shoulder pads and full lining indicate that it was designed for wear over other outer garments and is therefore classifiable as a jacket.

It might appear that, according to Note 3 to Chapter 62, the presence of the handkerchief, made of different fabric, precludes classification of the three pieces as a suit or ensemble, on the grounds that there is no corresponding material on the skirt. However, the handkerchief is not permanently attached to the jacket, it is only pinned on and therefore, serves as a decorative accessory item. The jacket and skirt are of the same fabric construction, style, color and composition and therefore meet the requirements of a suit as set forth in Note 3.

In light of the fact that the garment is made up of different elements, a two-piece suit and handkerchief, not specifically provided for, it cannot be classified according to GRI 1. However, goods which are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings are classified in accordance with the provisions of GRI 3. When, as in the instant case, those headings each refer to only part of the materials contained in mixed or composite goods, they are treated as equally specific and classified pursuant to GRI 3(b). The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA may be consulted for guidance as to the correct international interpretation of the various HTSUSA provisions. Composite goods as defined in the Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b) include those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually
complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts. The suit and handkerchief are composite goods for purposes of GRI 3. Having determined that the garment is a composite good, we must next determine the essential character in order to classify the item under GRI 3(b). According to GRI 3(b), composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. The Explanatory Notes state that "the factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods. The suit clearly predominates over the handkerchief by weight, quantity and value, and therefore provides the essential character.


The jacket, handkerchief and skirt are classified under subheading 6204.19.2000, HTSUSA, as women's or girls' suits, of other textile materials, of artificial fibers, other, with a duty rate of 37.5 cents per kilogram plus 27.5 percent ad valorem, and subject to textile category 644.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, 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 that 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 available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, 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 is being returned to you, as requested.


John Durant, Director

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