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HQ 085802

November 21, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085802 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6205.20.2065

M. Arvind K. Suri
Vice President, Imports
J.F. Moran Company, Inc.
20 Avery Road
Cranston, RI 02910

RE: Unisex knit and woven shirt with neither component imparting essential character and partial front opening fastening left over right a man's woven shirt.

Dear M. Suri:

This is in reply to your letter of August 29, 1989, concerning the tariff classification of a unisex shirt, produced in either Hong Kong or Macau, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Please reference your client Miller Screening Company.


The merchandise at issue consists of a pullover cotton shirt with a partial front opening buttoning left over right. It has long sleeves and a lower body of 100% knit cotton. It has front and back yokes of 100% cotton sheeting. It has two front pockets on the knitted portion, slightly below the breast area. It has a 1 X 1 ribbed collar, cuffs and bottom welt, composed of 95% cotton and 5% lycra. The woven portion of the garment comprises approximately 45% of the shirt, with the knitted portion encom- passing the remaining 55%. A leather-like applique adorns the upper right breast portion of the garment, attached by a Velcro- like mechanism.


Whether the instant merchandise is considered woven or knit, and whether it is considered unisex, male or female?


Knitted Versus Woven Apparel

Chapter 61, HTSUSA, provides for the classification of articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crochet- ed. Chapter 62, HTSUSA, provides for the classification of similar merchandise, woven. 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.

The instant merchandise is composed of woven material and knitted material. 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 classification 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.

If no component comprises 60 percent of the visible surface area, classification will be according to GRI 3 (b) or 3(c), as ap- propriate.

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.

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) [C]omposite goods ... made up of different compo- nents, 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 con- sisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The factors which determine essential character of an article will vary from case to case. It may be the nature of the component, its bulk, quantity, weight, value, or the role a component 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 knitted component imparts the essential character of the garment. The surface area is approximately the same, and looking at the garment from both front and back gives the overall impression of being a combination garment. Contra HRL 081696 of November 18, 1988 (classifying woven/knitted shirt under GRI 3(b) where woven surface area predominates and overall impression is of woven garment). Classification by means of GRI 3(b) is therefore not possible.

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) [component imparting essential character], they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

By definition, headings of Chapter 62 occur subsequent to those of Chapter 61. The shirt is therefore classifiable in Chapter 62, HTSUSA, as a woven garment.

Men's Versus Women's Garments

Heading 6205, HTSUSA, provides for men's or boys' shirts. Heading 6206 covers similar garments, for women or girls'. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level.

The EN to heading 6206 excludes those garments which have a ribbed waistband or other tightening mechanism at the bottom of the garment. If this garment is considered for women or girls, therefore, classification under heading 6206 would be inapplicable.

In HRL 084336 of August 10, 1989, we addressed the issue of unisex shirts.

Note 8 to Chapter 62, HTSUSA, directs
"[a]rticles of this Chapter which cannot be identified as either mens's or boys' garments or as women's or girls' garments ... to be classified in the headings concerning women's or girls' garments." Under this analysis, any gender-nonspecific garments of Chapter 62, including the instant merchandise, must be classified as a woman's or girl's article.

However, the Explanatory Notes, ...
[w]hile not legally binding, ... do represent the considered views of classification ex- perts from the various CCC countries. It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the Explanatory Notes when inter- preting the HTSUSA.

Explanatory Note 62.05 states that:

[s]hirts having a front opening on the neck- line which fastens or overlaps left over right are considered to be shirts for men or boys. By application of Chapter Note 8, shirts which cannot be identified as for men or boys or women or girls are to be classified as women's or girls' garments. [Emphasis added]

The language of Chapter Note 8 requires classification [as] women's or girls' ... only when articles cannot be identified as for males or for females. Explanatory Note

62.05 aids the classifier in determining whether the garment was manufactured for males or females; in essence, this Explanato- ry Note allows no leeway when the type of fastening referred to exists.

Following this analysis, the instant merchandise, with a partial front opening fastening left over right, must be classified as a man's or boy's shirt.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 6205.20.2065, HTSUSA, textile catego- ry 340, as men's or boy's shirts, of cotton, other, other, other, other, men's. The applicable rate of duty is 21 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 agree- ments 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.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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