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HQ 086159

December 22, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086159 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6117.80.0030

Mr. Steven M. Kott
K Mart Apparel Corporation
7373 West Side Avenue
North Bergen, NJ 07047

RE: Modification of NYRL 835287. Earmuffs are other made up articles, not other garments.

Dear Mr. Kott:

This is in reference to your tariff classification ruling request dated December 19, 1988.


The merchandise at issue consists of one pair of knit man- made fiber earmuffs, part of item #1226. In NYRL 835287 of January
17, 1989, we classified this article under subheading 6114.30. 3070,
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA as other knit garments.


Whether earmuffs are garments or other made up articles under the HTSUSA?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) 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 GRIs, taken in order. Heading 6114, HTSUSA, provides for other garments. While no description exists in the HTSUSA for the term "garments," the items delineated in the breakouts for this heading (i.e., tops, jumpers, bodysuits, coveralls, etc.) all cover, at minimum, the trunk of the body. Earmuffs, by definition, only encase the human auditory organs.

The legal notes to Chapter 61, HTSUSA, support this concept. In defining the term "ensemble," Note 3(b) requires "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." See also Note 4 (identifying shirts and blouses as garments); Note 6 (recognizing ski-suits as garments or sets of garments). Other examples exist throughout the Notes.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The EN to heading 6114 incorporates within the grouping "other garments" aprons, boiler suits, clerical vestments, scholastic robes, etc. Excluded from this heading are those articles provided for by subsequent headings: socks, leggings, gloves, mittens, shawls, muffs, and so on. The EN for heading 6117 (clothing accessories) cites several articles closely resembling earmuffs: shawls, scarves, mufflers. Cf. the EN to heading 6117, HTSUSA (by specifically excluding headgear of heading 6505, the heading inferentially includes articles worn on the head but not defined as headgear). It is our opinion, therefore, that the heading for clothing accessories more specifically provides for earmuffs than the heading for other garments. See also HRL 085012 of August 7, 1989; HRL 085569 of December 21, 1989.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 6117.80.0030, HTSUSA, textile category 659, as other made up clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted; knitted or crocheted parts of garments or of clothing accessories, other accessories, of man-made fibers. The applicable rate of duty is 15.5 percent ad valorem.

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 issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available 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 importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.

This notice to you should be considered a modification of NYRL 835287 of January 17, 1989, as to the merchandise described as item #1226 (earmuffs only), under 19 C.F.R. 177.9(d)(1) (1989). It is not to be applied retroactively to NYRL 835287 (19 C.F.R. 177.9(d)(2) (1989)) and will not, therefore, affect the transaction for the importation of your merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, NYRL 835287 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to the release of HRL 086159 will be clas sified under the new ruling. If such a situation arises, you may, at your discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of the new ruling as may be dictated by the circumstances.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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