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 0086305 - HQ 0086382 > HQ 0086357

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 086357

May 22, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086357 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6211.43.0090, 6110.30.3020, 6214.30.0000

Mark E. Wojcik, Esq.
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, New York 10017

RE: Classification of a women's shift, sweater and scarf outfit

Dear Mr. Wojcik:

This ruling letter is in response to your submission of January 22, 1990, on behalf of L.R. Trading Company, regarding the classification of a women's shift, sweater and scarf outfit, style number 2004.


The apparel at issue consists of a women's shift which must be worn with an overgarment, the overgarment and a matching scarf. In this case, the overgarment is a sweater.

The shift is a sleeveless garment with a scooped V-neckline in front, oversized armholes and two-inch wide shoulder straps. The garment extends from the wearer's neck and shoulders to her knees. The garment consists of two sections made of different fabric constructions. The top section extends to below the waist and is a 100 percent nylon, tricot knit. This section serves as a lining or undergarment. The sheerness of the fabric and the design indicate that this section of the garment is not intended to be seen when worn, but intended to be worn under another garment. The bottom section of the garment is a 100 percent polyester, pleated woven, printed faille fabric. This section forms a skirt which is visible when the garment is worn with the accompanying sweater.

The sweater is a 65 percent acrylic, 23 percent polyester and 12 percent nylon knit garment with eight stitches per two centimeters. It is a full front opening, cardigan-style garment with a V-neck, a five-button front closure, long sleeves, two
pockets below the waist and shoulder pads. The sleeves and bottom are hemmed. The garment extends from the neck and shoulders to the top of the wearer's thighs. When worn in conjunction with the shift, the garment conceals the sheer tricot knit fabric of the shift.

The scarf is made of the identical fabric as the skirt portion of the shift and is rectangular in shape measuring approximately 10 inches by 64 inches.

The shift, sweater and scarf are color coordinated and are imported and sold together. The country of origin is Hong Kong.


Are the shift and sweater classifiable as composite goods under the provision for women's dresses? If not, is the scarf classifiable with the sweater or shift?


Classification of goods 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, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRIs taken in order]."

Note 13, Section XI, requires that "[u]nless the context otherwise requires, textile garments of different headings are to be classified in their own headings even if put up in sets for retail sale." In your submission, you suggest that the legal note does not apply to articles found to constitute a composite item. Following the language of GRI 1, Note 13 takes precedence over the GRIs, therefore the suggestion in your submission is incorrect.

HRL 082469 of November 30, 1989, classified a two-piece dress similar to the articles at issue. In that ruling, Customs ruled the blouse and full-length garment were separately classified based on Customs position that a dress is a one-piece garment and that pursuant to Note 13, garments of different headings are classified separately. See Textile Category Guidelines, C.I.E. 13/88. We see no reason to change our position set out in HRL 082469 and believe that the shift and sweater in this case are likewise classified separately.

The shift consists of two different fabrics and therefore it is necessary to determine by which fabric it will be classified. GRI 3(b) provides that goods of different materials are to be classified as if they consisted of the material which imparts
their essential character. The top portion of the shift, the nylon tricot knit fabric, acts as a lining and is not visible when the garment is worn. The bottom portion, the woven faille print skirt, is visible when the garment is worn and imparts a significant visual effect in its print, pleats and faille fabric. We believe that the bottom portion of the shift, the woven faille print skirt, imparts the essential character to the garment and therefore, classification of the garment will be based on the skirt.

The shift cannot be worn alone due to the sheerness and design of the upper portion of the garment. The Textile Category Guidelines indicate that a dress is considered to be a one-piece garment appropriate for wear without other outer garments. Since the shift cannot be worn alone in public, it cannot be classified as a dress under the provision for dresses. It is classifiable, instead, under the provision for women's other garments.

As to the classification of the scarf as a composite good with the shift or sweater, the Explanatory Notes state in regard to composite goods:

For the purposes of this Rule [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 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. (Underline added)

The Explanatory Notes are the official interpretation of the HTS at the international level.

The scarf is an accessory to the combination of the sweater and shift, but when put together with either one individually, it fails to meet the requirements of a composite good. The scarf and sweater are not mutually complementary to the extent that it is clear that they are intended to be worn together. While the scarf is made of the same fabric as the skirt portion of the shift, when considered with the shift, the articles form an incomplete good. The shift and scarf fail to form a whole when considered without the sweater. The scarf does not form a whole within the meaning of the above definition when joined with either the sweater or the shift.

The scarf cannot be considered with the sweater or shift as a set. Note 13 requires that textile garments of different headings be separately classified. Therefore, if a set cannot exist by application of Note 13, the articles packaged and sold
with the garments must also be separately classified. See HRL 084322 of August 23, 1989. Since the sweater and shift cannot be considered a set because of Note 13, a set cannot exist even between the scarf and shift or scarf and sweater.


The shift is classified under the provision for women's or girls' other woven garments, of man-made fibers, other, subheading 6211.43.0090, HTSUSA, textile category 659, dutiable at 17 percent ad valorem.

The sweater is classified under the provision for sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, of man-made fibers under heading 6110. Since the sweater meets the requirement of Statistical Note 3, Chapter 61, regarding the number of stitches per centimeters allowed in garments statistically classified as sweaters, it is statistically classifiable as a sweater in subheading 6110.30.3020, HTSUSA, textile category 646, dutiable at 34.2 percent ad valorem.

The scarf is classified under the provision for shawls, scarves, mufflers, mantillas, veils and the like, of synthetic fibers, subheading 6214.30.0000, textile category 659, dutiable at 10.6 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.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: