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HQ 087672

November 21, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087672 jlj


TARIFF NO.: 6205.20.2065

Ms. Debby Myers
Street Scenes
1306 Jefferson Davis Highway
Richmond, Virginia 23224

RE: Tariff classification of shirts with two types of fabric--material with two or more colors in the warp and/or filling and material not containing two or more colors in the warp and/or filling

Dear Ms. Myers:

You request tariff classifications under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for two men's woven cotton shirts manufactured in Hong Kong or China. The samples of the two garments which you submitted will be returned to you as requested.


The two samples, styles 826 and 827, are both made of 100 percent cotton woven fabrics. Each shirt is made of a chambray fabric which contains two or more colors in the warp and/or the filling and a fabric of one color. Both samples have collars and full front openings with button closures. Style 826 has a breast pocket and long sleeves; style 827 has short sleeves.


In which statistical breakout are the instant shirts classified: in subheading 6205.20.2050, HTSUSA, or in subheading 6205.20.2065, HTSUSA.


Both samples are clearly classified as men's woven cotton shirts under heading 6205. There is a question, however, as to which statistical reporting number applies, i.e., shirts with two or more colors in the warp and/or filling, or as other shirts.

Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 2(b) states in part that the classification of goods consisting of more than one material shall be according to the principles of GRI 3.

GRI 3 states that, when goods are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) ...when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or sub- stances contained in mixed or composite goods...those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, ...which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

(c) When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

GRI 6 provides as follows:

6. For legal purposes, the classification of goods in the subheadings of a heading shall be determined according to the terms of those subheadings and any related subheading notes, and mutatis mutandis, to the above rules, on the understanding that only subheadings at the same level are comparable. For the purposes of the rule the relative section and chapter notes also apply unless the context otherwise requires.

GRI 6 thus incorporates GRIs 1 through 5 in classifying goods at the subheading level. The words, "for legal purposes" at the beginning of GRI 6 emphasize that the preceding GRIs are to be applied at the level necessary for the final legal
classification of the goods for tariff purposes. Thus, it is clear that GRI 6 requires the use of GRI 3 at the eight digit level in the HTS, since that is the level at which the classification of the goods is ultimately determined.

It must be recognized that the application of the GRIs to the statistical annotations is not required under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. As discussed above, GRI 6 is limited to the determination of the legal classification of the merchandise. By contrast, the determination of the appropriate statistical annotation is a matter committed to the authority of the Committee established by section 484(e), Tariff Act of 1930, rather than the legal classification of the goods. Accordingly, there is no legal requirement that GRI 6 apply to the determination of the appropriate statistical annotation.

As a matter of policy, however, Customs position is that GRI 6 can apply at the ten digit level only where there is an existing question as to which statistical annotation applies and where no other rule will resolve the matter. GRI 6 would not apply, of course, where there are annotations providing for the reporting of the goods separately.

In accordance with GRI 3(a), both subheadings (i.e., 6205.20.2050 and 6205.20.2065) are to be regarded as equally specific. GRI 3(b) provides that goods consisting of different materials shall be classified as if they consisted of the material which gives them their essential character.

According to the Explanatory Notes, the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, "...the factor which determines essential character will vary between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods."

In the case of the instant goods, none of these factors is controlling. Both of the fabrics are equally important to the shirt; neither predominates. It is impossible to determine that the essential character of the shirt is attributable to either fabric, therefore we must resort to GRI 3(c), which specifies that we take the heading (subheading) which occurs last among those which equally merit consideration.


Following the rationale set forth above, the instant shirts are classified in subheading 6205.20.2065, HTSUSA, which provides for men's woven cotton shirts, other than dress, not containing two or more colors, in the warp and/or the filling. The rate of duty is 21 percent ad valorem for products of China or of Hong Kong. The textile category is 340.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

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. Inasmuch as 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 that 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 available for inspection at your local Customs office.


John Durant, Director

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