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HQ 088264

March 12, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088264 JS


TARIFF NO.: 3926.20.5050

Tommy Lai
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
British Embassy
1233 20th Street, N.W., Suite 504
Washington, D.C. 20036


Dear Mr. Lai:

This is in reference to your letter of November 27, 1990, on behalf of Charles Products, Inc., requesting classification of a PVC bib under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise at issue is an infant's bib with a PVC front and a 100 percent cotton terry knit backing. The two materials are sewn together along a 1/8 inch wide binding around the edges. The PVC front has a screen printed, multi-colored cartoon illustration at its center, and a 3 inch deep pocket across its bottom length.

The sample will be returned to you under separate cover as requested.


1) Is the PVC bib considered "composite goods" within the meaning of GRI 3, HTSUSA.

2) If considered composite goods, which part provides the essential character for classification under the HTSUSA.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may be applied, taken in order.

GRI 3 states, in pertinent part:

When by application of Rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be affected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances 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.

Since the infant's bib consists of both textile and plastic materials, which are sewn together but are otherwise classifiable in headings 6111 and 3926, HTSUSA, respectively, GRI 3(b) applies 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), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) state that:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as 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 this case, the PVC sheeting forms the entire front of the article, and prevents food and liquids from penetrating the bib surface and soiling the wearer. It is the PVC portion of this composite good which provides the barrier function essential to its purpose. Therefore, the essential character of the infant's bib is imparted by the PVC sheeting.


The merchandise at issue is classified under heading 3926.20.5050, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of plastics and articles of other materials of headings 3901 to 3914: articles of apparel and clothing accessories (including gloves): other, other, dutiable at the rate of 5 percent ad valorem.

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 your client 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 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, your client should contact its 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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