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HQ 086916

February 6, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086916 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6102.30.2010

Diane L. Weinberg, Esq.
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.
505 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10022-1106

RE: Classification of certain knit garments with full-front zippered openings

Dear Ms. Weinberg:

This ruling is in response to your submission of April 9, 1990, and subsequent submissions, on behalf of Sara Lee Knit Products, regarding the classification of certain knit garments with full-front zippered openings. A sample garment was received with your request.


The garment at issue, style #7180, is made of 50 percent cotton and 50 percent acrylic fine knit interlock fabric which is napped on the inside surface. The garment has long sleeves with rib knit cuffs, a rib knit waistband, a full-front opening with a heavy-duty zipper closure, a hood with drawstring closure, and slant-opening, handwarmer pockets at the waist.

The garment may also be constructed of knit fabric consisting of 50 percent cotton and 50 percent polyester fibers. It will be assembled in Mexico from fabric that is produced and cut into shaped component parts in the United States. It is manufactured in sizes, S, M, L, and XL, and is marketed and sold as unisex.


Is the subject garment classifiable as a garment similar to a windbreaker under heading 6102, HTSUSA, or as a sweatshirt or garment similar to a sweatshirt under heading 6110, HTSUSA?


Classification of products 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]."

Heading 6102, HTSUSA, provides for "women's or girls' overcoats, carcoats, capes, cloaks, anoraks (including ski- jackets), windbreakers and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, other than those of heading 6104". Heading 6110, HTSUSA, provides for "sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted".

It should be noted that the conversion of the TSUS into the nomenclature format of the Harmonized System included certain textual adaptations at the four and six digit levels. These adjustments were introduced in an effort to bring the international text into conformity with the U.S. terminology. Headings 6102 and 6110 were included among those tariff provisions deemed to require minor changes. Specifically, the term windbreakers was inserted in 6102 in place of the terms wind-cheaters and wind-jackets. Heading 6110 was changed by the insertion of the term sweatshirts and deletion of the terms jerseys and cardigans.

The United States, as a party to the International Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, done at Brussels on 14 June 1983, is obligated by Article 3(1)(a)(ii) to "not modify the scope of the Sections, Chapters, headings or subheadings of the Harmonized System." Article 3(2) allows for textual adaptations, as necessary, to give effect to the Harmonized System in domestic law.

The term sweatshirt was inserted into heading 6110 in an attempt to Americanize the language of the heading and simplify the classification of sweatshirts and sweatshirt-type garments. The term sweatshirt was present in the Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (TSUSA) at the statistical level under the heading for shirts. The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88, (hereinafter referred to as the Textile Category Guidelines), at pages 11-14, contains descriptions of various garments classified as shirts, including sweatshirts. The meaning of the term sweatshirt was limited under the TSUSA to pullover garments. The Customs Service established a practice of recognizing only pullover-type garments of sweatshirt fabric as sweatshirts.

Notes from a 1981 meeting at the United States International Trade Commission (ITC), in which the intended coverage of heading 6110 was discussed, indicate that at that time it was contemplated that traditional sweatshirts would be included as pullover garments under heading 6110. Customs has been unable to find, nor have we been presented with, any information to indicate that the meaning of the term sweatshirt as it was used under the TSUSA should be, or was intended to be, broadened under the HTSUSA to include garments other than pullovers. In fact, the aforementioned notes would appear to indicate the contrary. When the term sweatshirt was inserted into heading 6110, the meaning of the term for tariff purposes did not change.

You contend that if Customs will not classify these garments as sweatshirts, it should classify them as similar to sweat- shirts under 6110. You cite the Explanatory Notes to heading 6110 as support. However, the portion of the Note you cite is not persuasive. The Explanatory Notes for headings 6102 and 6110, respectively, have been considered. The decision to classify a garment in 6102 versus 6110 is based on the characteristics of the garment and how it is worn and used.

In your submission of April 9, 1989, you submit that the Textile Category Guidelines are not relevant to the classifi- cation of this garment because their only value lies in determining the proper statistical annotation at the ten-digit level. This is incorrect. The Guidelines were developed and revised in accordance with the HTSUSA to insure uniformity, to facilitate statistical classification, and to assist in the determination of the appropriate textile categories established for the administration of the Arrangement Regarding International Trade in Textiles. They offer guidance to the trade community and Customs personnel as to various characteristics of garments. When the legal notes and the Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA fail to provide adequate direction for the classification of a garment, it is proper to look to the Guidelines for guidance. In this case, the Guidelines support a distinction between sweatshirts and garments made of sweatshirt fabric with full- front zipper openings. The Guidelines serve to illustrate a long-standing administrative practice to distinguish between these garments.

The fabric used for making the subject garments is the same type of fabric used for making sweatshirts. The garments have some similarities in construction beyond the fabric used such as rib knit cuffs and waistbands. However, you submit there is no difference in the manner in which the garments at issue and sweatshirts are worn and used. We disagree.

While it is true that pullover sweatshirts are sometimes worn over other shirts for added warmth, that does not mean they
are worn in the same manner or for the same reasons as the subject garments. Sweatshirts remain pullover garments which are often worn against the skin and sometimes worn over other garments. However, the garments at issue are worn in the manner of jackets. They can be easily put on and removed or worn with the zipper front open as the wearer's comfort dictates. They are usually not worn next to the skin, but over other garments.

The advertising literature submitted with your brief has been considered. However, the Customs National Import Specialist in New York who deals with this merchandise has found advertisements of virtually identical merchandise in which the garments are advertised as jackets, not as sweatshirts. This illustrates that these garments are advertised as both sweatshirts and as jackets and therefore, we find the submitted advertising literature unpersuasive.

The Customs Service has recognized garments with limited variations on the traditional sweatshirt, such as, partial front zipper, hooded sweatshirt, drawstring at waist, etc., as similar to sweatshirts. However, garments with full-front zipper openings are not considered similar to sweatshirts, but are jackets. They are worn in the manner of lightweight jackets and have some characteristics of lightweight jackets such as the full-front zipper, the rib knit cuffs and waistband, and the pockets at or below the waist. The Customs Service has a practice of recognizing these garments as jackets and from the evidence submitted by the National Import Specialist in New York, the trade, at least some of it, also recognizes these garments as jackets.

The Customs Service believes that in inserting the term sweatshirt in heading 6110, it was intended that only pullover- type sweatshirts of the traditional sweatshirt variety be classified in the heading. This belief is based on the meaning of the term in the United States tariff schedules at the time, the notes from the meeting at ITC referred to earlier, and the administrative practice in existence at the time and which has been continued since the adoption of the HTSUSA. Nothing in the language of the HTSUSA or the Explanatory Notes indicates the garments at issue should be classified in heading 6110 rather than heading 6102. In fact, the Customs Service believes that by including the subject garments in heading 6110, we would, in effect, be broadening the scope of that heading.


For the reasons stated above, the garment at issue is classified as similar to a windbreaker, of man-made fibers in subheading 6102.30.2010, HTSUSA. It falls within textile category 635 and is dutiable at 30 percent ad valorem. Please note that a garment such as this, a 50/50 blend, may be subject to Customs laboratory analysis at the time of entry. If the analysis produces a result different than a 50 percent cotton/50 percent man-made fiber breakdown, the tariff classification and quota category could be affected.

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

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