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HQ 554846

January 3, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:V 554846 DBI


TARIFF NO.: 9810.00.90, HTSUS (854.30, TSUS)

Mr. Joseph Kraus
Lillian Fur Co.
4530 Clark Street
Montreal, Quebec H2T 2T4

RE: Duty-free treatment of fur hats from Canada

Dear Mr. Kraus:

This is in response to your letter dated September 2, 1986, to the Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, concerning the applicability of item 854.30, Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), to fur hats to be imported from Canada. Your letter was forwarded to this office for a response. Unfortunately, it was misplaced. We sincerely regret the delay in responding.


You advise that your company is interested in exporting fur hats from Canada into the U.S. due to the small market for such hats in Canada. These fur hats are worn by strictly religious Jewish people only on the Sabbath and the religious Jewish Holy Days. A sample has been submitted for examination.


Whether the imported fur hats would be eligible for duty- free treatment under subheading 9810.00.90, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) (854.30, TSUS).


As you may be aware, the HTSUS will replace the TSUS, effective January 1, 1989. Item 854.30, TSUS, will be carried over into the HTSUS without change as subheading 9810.00.90. Subheading 9810.00.90, HTSUS, provides for the duty-free
treatment of prayer shawls, bags for the keeping of prayer shawls, and headwear of a kind used for public or private religious observances, whether or not any of the foregoing is imported for the use of a religious institution.

According to information obtained from a Rabbi at the Yeshiva University, New York, N.Y., the fur hats are required to be worn by men that are members of a small sect of the religious Jewish community called the Hasidim, who are devoted to strict observance of their ritual religious law. The Rabbi stated that the hats, called shtraimle, are required to be worn by Hasidic men only on the Sabbath, the Jewish Holy Days and other serious religious occasions. The Rabbi added that the hats are not for warmth (they are worn even in the summer) or for decorative or ornamental purposes and that a Hasidic man would be considered undressed for prayer if he did not wear the fur hat. The Rabbi stated that wearing the shtraimle distinguishes the wearer from other people in the Jewish community who are not of this sect, and that a Hasidic man who did not wear it on such religious occasions would not be fulfilling his religious obligation. It was also noted by the Rabbi that while it is possible to pray without any particular garment being worn, it is such a strong Hasidic custom that it can be said that it is required to be worn. While the language of subheading 9801.00.90, HTSUS, states that the headwear must be of the "kind used for pubic or private religious observances" and does not include any language requiring that the headwear be worn for public or private religious observances, it is clear from the information provided that the fur hats are required to be worn by Hasidic men during serious religious occasions.


Based on the information and sample submitted, it is our opinion that the described fur hats may be considered headwear of a kind used for public or private religious observances and, therefore, may be entered duty-free under subheading 9810.00.90, HTSUS.


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