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HQ 084634

September 11, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084634 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6104.32.0000

Ms. Doreen Wai
Second Secretary
Hong Kong Economic & Trade Affairs
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
British Embassy
1233 20TH Street, N.W., Suite 504
Washington, DC 20036

RE: Classification of women's cardigan-like garment

Dear Ms. Wai:

This is in reply to your letter of 22 May 1989, concerning the tariff classification of ladies' knit cardigan garment, produced in Hong Kong, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Please reference your case number HK 94/89.


The merchandise at issue consists of a woman's knit cardigan garment, Style 3003, composed of 100 percent cotton fibers. It features finely knit fabric, long sleeves, two patch pockets below the waist, and a full front opening without means of closure. It also contains four panels sewn together lengthwise, a narrow strip of fabric that surrounds the neck and extends down the front of the garment to form the placket, and two shoulder pads attached to the garment via a Velcro-like mechanism.


Is the garment considered a blouse, suit-type jacket or sweater for classification under HTSUSA?



Heading 6106, HTSUSA, provides for women's blouses or shirts, knitted or crocheted. The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The Explanatory Note to Chapter 61 states that shirts and shirt-blouses may only have pockets above the waist. Therefore, the instant article cannot be considered a blouse or shirt under this heading.

Suit-Type Jacket or Sweater

Suit-Type Jackets

Heading 6104, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, suit- type jackets. The Explanatory Note to heading 6103, defines jackets and blazers for headings 6103 and 6104 as having an outer shell consisting of three or more panels (of which two are at the front), sewn together lengthwise, designed to cover the upper
part of the body. Jackets have a full front opening without closure, or with a non-zippered closure. They cannot extend past the mid-thigh area, and are not for wear over another coat. The instant article satisfies the above requisite characteristics.


Heading 6110, HTSUSA, provides for sweaters, knitted or crocheted. The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) 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 GRI's, taken in order.

Statistical Note 3 to Chapter 61, HTSUSA, defines sweaters as follows:

For the purposes of this chapter, statistical provisions for sweaters include garments, whether or not known as pullovers, vests or cardigans, which are constructed essentially with 9 or fewer stitches per 2 centimeters measured in the horizontal direction. [Emphasis added.]

At issue is whether this statistical note precludes classification of all garments with greater than 9 stitches per 2 centimeters.

Classification of an article must begin at the four digit heading level, and, following the hierarchi- cal system of classification embodied in the HTSUSA, that article must then be classified under the appropriate six and then eight digit subheadings, and finally under the proper statistical annotation. Once it is determined that a garment is classifiable under one four digit heading, it may not be classified under a different four digit heading because, for one reason or another, a subheading or statistical annotation does not seem appropriate.

In this situation, while there is a statistical note which states what the statistical provisions for "sweaters" includes, that note does not (and at that level can not) control the definition of a sweater at the four digit heading level. Conceivably, a garment may be commonly and commercially known as a sweater and yet not fall within the requirements of the statistical note for inclusion under a sweater annotation.

Memorandum to HRL 082943 PR of November 29, 1988.

It is our opinion, therefore, that the statistical note does not preclude classification of the instant merchandise as a sweater under heading 6110, HTSUSA.

Linton's The Modern Textile and Apparel Dictionary (4th ed. 1973), defines a sweater as "... a knitted outer garment on the order of a jacket, heavy or light in weight, and made in many styles." He goes on to state that, of the four basic types of women's sweaters,

[a] CARDIGAN [is] ... usually a button-front gar- ment.... There may be a high-neck closure, plunging V, or rounded collar. Most cardigans have long sleeves....

4. JACKET [sweater]: It is usually of the cardigan type but is made with heavier yarn, and invariably has no closure device. It may or may not have a collar, and is usually adorned with patch pockets. A crest or similar adornment is often seen on this garment. It is of hip length and the sleeve length is long. * * *

It is our opinion that as a result of the garment's extreme- ly fine knit, the garment is more akin to a suit-type jacket than a normally heavier knit sweater. It is our belief that the garment is to be worn over other apparel, while the wearer is well dressed for appearance in public. This, in addition to satisfying the requisites for suit-type jackets under the Explan- atory Notes, causes us to classify the instant merchandise under heading 6104, HTSUSA.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 6104.32.0000, HTSUSA, textile catego- ry 335, as women's or girls' suits, ensembles, suit-type jackets, blazers, dresses, skirts, divided skirts, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (other than swimwear), knitted or crocheted, suit-type jackets and blazers, of cotton. The ap- plicable rate of duty is 16.9 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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