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HQ 084637

August 23, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084637 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6211.49.0010

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 a women's pullover top

Dear Ms. Wai:

This is in reply to your letter of May 17, 1989, concerning the tariff classification of a women's woven/knit top, produced in Hong Kong, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Please reference your case number HK 125/89, Suzelle Sportswear.


The merchandise at issue consists of a women's pullover garment designed for wear over underwear on the upper torso. It consists of both knit and woven sections. The aggregate fiber content for the garment is 52 percent ramie, 21 percent rayon, 17 percent silk, and 10 percent cotton. You have stated that the knit portion is composed of 61 percent ramie, 14 percent cotton, and 25 percent rayon. The woven portion is composed of 100 percent silk.

The garment features long sleeves with rib knit cuffs, a knit shirt collar, a rib knit waistband, and a six button woven front placket extending from the neck to the top of the waist- band. The garment also has beading and embroidery in the chest area. The rear of the garment consists of 100 percent knit fabric. The sleeves are all woven, but for the cuffs and a small, trapezoidal segment near the shoulders measuring 11" x 6" x 8" x 2". One of the front yokes is knit, and the other is woven. The remainder of the front panel consists of woven fabric, except for a vertical, rectangular strip of knit fabric measuring 13" x 3". The knit fabric has less than nine stitches per two centimeters, measured horizontally. Although you state that the knit section of the garment "takes up around 60% of the total surface area," analysis has determined that the knit sections comprise 52 percent of the total area of the garment, while the woven sections encompass the remaining 48 percent.


Whether the knit or woven portions of the garment impart the essential character of the garment?


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.

GRI 3 states, in pertinent part:

When by application of Rule 2(b) [goods of more than one material or substance] or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) [which requires that goods be classified, if possible, under the more specific of the competing provisions], shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

In HRL 084118 PR of April 13, 1989, we held that

[w]here garments are made from both woven and knit fabrics, or where they contain both textile and nontextile components,
[thereby, in most cases, precluding classification by way of GRI 1,] the clas- sification of those garments depends on a subjective determination of which component-- the woven or the knit, or the textile or nontextile--imparts the essential character to the particular garments.

Accordingly, we have determined that, in the absence of unusual circumstances, the following criteria should be applied in the classification of garments consisting of different fabrics or of textile and nontex- tile components.
a. For upper or lower body gar- ments,


[i]f no component comprises 60 percent of the visible surface area, ... classification will be according to GRI 3 (b) or 3(c), as appropriate.

Note that in the classification of gar- ments [described] above, GRI 3(c) should not be used unless it cannot be clearly determined which component gives the garment its essential character.

As we stated above, neither the knit nor the woven component of the garment comprises 60 percent of the visible surface area of the garment. We must therefore decide whether an essential character determination is appropriate.

The factors which determine essential character of an article will vary from case to case. It may be the nature of the materials or the components, its bulk, quantity, weight, value, or the role a material plays in relation to the use of the goods.

In general, essential character has been construed to mean the attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish what an article is; that which is indispensable to the structure or condition of an article.

It is our opinion that neither the woven nor the knit component imparts the essential character of the garment. Neither fabric forms the entire front of the garment; indeed, significant areas of woven and knit fabric are distributed freely throughout the garment. Both the woven and knit portions provide a significant decorative effect, and both contribute to the structure of the garment. As a result, a determination of essential character under GRI 3(b) is ineffectual.

GRI 3(c) states that

[w]hen goods cannot be classified with reference to 3(a) [heading with the most specific description] or 3(b) [material or component imparting essential charac- ter], they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

We note that the competing headings are found in the women's knit apparel heading of Chapter 61, HTSUSA, and the women's woven apparel headings of Chapter 62, HTSUSA. Since the heading occurring last must, by definition, be found in Chapter 62,


HTSUSA, classification by means of GRI 3(c) is based upon the woven portions of the garment.,

Under Subheading Note 2 to Section XI, HTSUSA, classification of a textile article is based upon the material comprising only that part of the textile article which was found to be applicable under GRI 3. Therefore, the garment is classified as women's woven apparel, of silk.

Heading 6206, HTSUSA, provides for women's or girls' blous- es, shirts and shirt-blouses. The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The Explanatory Notes to this heading exclude from consideration those garments "... with a ribbed waistband or other means of tightening at the bottom of the garment." Therefore, the garment must be classified as an other women's garment, of silk.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 6211.49.0010, HTSUSA, as track suits, ski-suits and swimwear; other garments, other garments, women's or girls', of other textile materials, containing 70 percent or more by weight of silk or silk waste. The applicable rate of duty is 7.8 percent ad valorem.

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.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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