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HQ 088535

April 23, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088535 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6211.42.0050

Richard Wortman, Esq.
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, New York 10017

RE: Classification of women's cotton tank-styled tops; blouse; pullover; 6206 vs. 6211

Dear Mr. Wortman:

This ruling is in response to your request of December 26, 1990, on behalf of Jeri-Jo Knitwear, Inc., seeking classification of four styles of women's cotton upper body garments. Two of the garments, woven tank-styled upper body garments, have been referred to this office for classification. The garments will be imported from Turkey, India or the Philippines.


The styles at issue, 606MV and 752, are women's tank-styled, pullover upper body garments made of 100 percent cotton woven fabric. Both styles are sleeveless and have front and rear panels that taper upward to the shoulders creating straps which measure 2 1/4 inches at the shoulder seams.

Style 606MV extends slightly below the waist. It has a partial front opening secured by a ten-button placket, a U-shaped neckline, vented side seams, capped armholes and neckline, and a straight hemmed bottom.

Style 752 extends to the waist in the front and is one inch longer in the back of the garment. It has a partial front opening secured by a two-button placket which has a textile label with a printed logo at its base. It also has a U-shaped neckline, two inset pockets on the front which extend to, but not below, the waist, capped armholes and neckline, and a curved, hemmed bottom.


Are the garments at issue classified as blouses in heading 6206, HTSUSA, or as other garments of heading 6211, HTSUSA?


Classification of goods 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 6206, HTSUSA, provides for, among other things, women's blouses. The Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. While not legally binding, they do represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the Explanatory Notes when interpreting the HTSUSA.

The Explanatory Notes to heading 6206 provides, in relevant part:

This heading covers the group of women's or girls' clothing, not knitted or crocheted, which comprises blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses.

The General Explanatory Notes to Chapter 62, HTSUSA, describes shirts and shirt-blouses as:

. . . garments designed to cover the upper part of the body, having long or short sleeves and a full or partial opening starting at the neckline. Blouses are also designed to cover the upper part of the body but may be sleeveless and without an opening at the neckline.

The Textile Category Guidelines, CIE 13/88, are sometimes used as an aid in deciding the classification of some articles. They offer guidance in determining the commercial designation of articles. In regard to women's nonknit blouses, the Guidelines state, in relevant part:

Blouses are outer garments usually extending from the neck or shoulders to the vicinity of the waistline. However, included in the category are overblouses and similar garments which may extend to the mid-thigh area or below,
and which are frequently slit up the leg. Blouses may have a collar treatment of any type or no collar. The closure may be positioned on the front, back, or side, or the garment may even be without closure as in a pullover.

Outerwear garments known as camisoles, bandeaus and similar garments which may be described as tops, are excluded from this category. [Emphasis added].

Customs has previously ruled on garments similar to the one at issue here in HRL 087034 of July 31, 1990, and HRL 087530 of November 9, 1990. In those rulings, classification of the garments as blouses was rejected due to the presence of straps on the garments and limited shoulder coverage. The garment at issue is a tank-styled garment with straps and limited shoulder coverage and therefore, is not classifiable as a blouse, but as an other garment of heading 6211, HTSUSA.

Since the garments at issue are composed of 100 percent cotton fibers, they are classifiable under subheading 6211.42.00, HTSUSA, as an other garment of man-made fibers. Various statistical annotations appear under subheading 6211.43.00, HTSUSA. The statistical annotations are present primarily for the collection of data with respect to goods imported into the Customs territory of the United States. This data information is utilized in the process of negotiating our bilateral textile agreements. The statistical annotation, 6211.43.0060, which reads "Blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses excluded from heading 6206", is intended to capture certain upper body garments excluded from heading 6206 including garments such as the one at issue here. While the language of the statistical annotation would appear to conflict with our determination that for tariff purposes this garment is not a blouse, the language at the statistical level is provided as a convenience and as we point out in rulings, the statistical annotations in the tariff are subject to change. Based on the intended coverage of the textile category number which appears at the statistical annotation as expressed to Customs by the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, the subject garment is classified in the statistical annotation for "Blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses excluded from heading 6206". We anticipate a change in the language of the statistical annotation to eliminate the apparent conflict which has arisen in this case.


The garments at issue, styles 606MV and 752, are classifiable in subheading 6211.42.0050, HTSUSA, which provides
for women's other garments of cotton fibers. The garment falls within textile category 341 and is dutiable at 8.6 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 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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