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HQ 088473

MARCH 21, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088473 PR



Mr. Asher Glauber
G & G Quality Clothing, Inc.
165 Division Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211

RE: Classification of a "Praying Kaftan"--a Coat or Religious Article

Dear Mr. Asher:

This is in reply to your letter of December 12, 1990, concerning the classification of a garment you refer to as a "Praying Kaftan".


The submitted sample, made in Hungary, is a long sleeve slightly longer than knee-length black overcoat with a full front opening, a collar, and lapels. The exterior satin-like shell is made of woven polyester fabric and the lining is made from woven rayon fabric. On the right front panel there are three fabric covered buttons and three buttonholes; on the left front panel there is a buttonhole that corresponds to both the top fabric covered button and to another button on the inside of the right front panel. Each sleeve has two decorative fabric covered buttons near its opening. There is a single inside breast pocket and two exterior inserted pockets in the rear of the garment. It is accompanied by, and presumably sold with, a one inch wide knit belt that is slightly over eleven feet long and which has seven inch fringes on each end.

The garment is worn by Chasidic Jewish men during religious services on the sabbath. Since they are prohibited from carrying anything in their hands in public, the garment is worn while walking to and from the synagogue.


The issue presented is whether the instant article is considered to be a garment and classifiable as a coat, or whether it is considered to be a religious article and not apparel article.


Imported goods are classifiable according to the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA). The pertinent GRI's are GRI 1, which provides that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any pertinent section or chapter notes, and GRI 3(a) which requires that where two or more headings describe the merchandise, the more specific will prevail.

In this instance, since there is no provision for religious articles of the type here involved, the competing provisions are the headings for coats versus the headings for other made up textile articles. Obviously, if the article is a coat, then pursuant to GRI 3(a), a provision for coats will take precedence and prevail over a provision for other made up articles because a provision for coats is more specific than a provision for other made up articles.

In HRL 038858, dated May 1, 1975, Customs ruled that yarmulkes, which, like the instant merchandise, are worn solely for religious purposes, were classifiable under the provisions for headwear. As with the yarmulkes, the instant merchandise is an article of apparel. It looks like an overcoat; it's worn in the same manner as an overcoat; and in walking to and from the synagogue, it functions as an overcoat, providing warmth and protection from the weather.

Even its name, "Praying Kaftan", delineates it as an article of apparel. Once it is determined to be apparel, it can only be classified as an overcoat because that is the class of goods to which it belongs.

The belt and coat are constructed from very different fabrics and have independent existences--the belt is used with the coat for religious observances and has no physical connection with the coat. Accordingly, assuming that the coat and belt are imported "put up for retail sale" together, pursuant to GRI's 3(a) and 3(b), HTSUSA, they are considered to constitute a set. As such, the set is classifiable under the provision in which the coat is classifiable since the coat is of primary importance and imparts the essential character to the set.


If the coat and belt are imported "put up for retail sale" together, they constitute a set which is classifiable under the provision for other men's overcoats of man-made fibers, in subheading 6201.13.4030, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), with duty, as a product of Hungary, at the rate of 29.5 percent ad valorem. The textile and apparel category applicable to the coat is 634. If the belt is not classifiable as a set with the coat, it is classifiable under the provision for other made up clothing accessories of man-made fibers, in subheading 6217.10.0030, HTSUSA, with duty, as a product of Hungary, at the rate of 15.5 percent ad valorem. Whether classifiable as set or separately, the designated textile and apparel category applicable to the belt is 659.

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. 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 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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