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HQ 088552

May 10, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088552 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6114.90.0010

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

RE: Classification of a women's upper body garment; 6114, HTSUSA; tops; sweaters

Dear Mr. Lai:

This ruling is in response to your letter of January 23, 1991, regarding the classification of a women's knitted upper body garment, style 642A, entered by Contempo Casuals at the port of Los Angeles, your case #HK207/90. The port required a visa for category 838. You believe the garment was correctly licensed in category 859. A sample garment was received with your request.


The garment at issue, style 642A, is a women's sleeveless coarsely knitted pullover of 55 percent ramie/45 percent cotton fibers. The fabric has five stitches per two centimeters measured in the horizontal direction. The garment extends from the chest area to somewhat above the waistline. The garment is covered with plastic spangles with the exception of its narrow shoulder straps (1.5 cm. in width). The top of the garment has a slightly rounded dip in the front and even less of a dip in the back, and the garment has a straight bottom.


Is the subject garment, style #642A, classifiable under heading 6114, HTSUSA, as a top or as an other garment?


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]."

Following GRI 1, three headings present themselves for initial consideration: 6106: women's or girls' knit or crocheted blouses and shirts; 6110: sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted; and 6114: other garments, knitted or crocheted.

The subject garment has several features which eliminate it from classification as a blouse of 6106, not the least of which is its stitch count and lack of full coverage to the waist. Note 4, Chapter 61, requires excludes garments which have an average of less than 10 stitches per linear centimeter. Additionally, Customs has interpreted the language in the General Explanatory Notes to Chapter 61 describing shirts and shirt-blouses as garments designed to cover the upper part of the body as requiring coverage to at least the vicinity of the waist. This accords with the attributes of knit shirts and blouses as described in the Textile Category Guidelines, CIE 13/88.

Classification within heading 6110, HTSUSA, can also be eliminated based on the fact that the subject garment is not of the same class or kind as the garments named in the heading. While it may be described as a pullover garment, it is not a pullover of 6110, as those garments, like the garments of heading 6106 are designed to cover the upper body from the neck or shoulders to the waist or below (as far as the mid-thigh area). See, Guidelines at 20.

Consequently, the garment is classifiable as an other garment of heading 6114. However, there appears to be some disagreement as to the classification of the garment at the statistical level. The HTSUSA provides no assistance in determining the scope of the term "top" which appears at the statistical level under heading 6114. Therefore, it is proper to look to the Guidelines for direction.

The term "top" is described in the Guidelines as . . .

. . . refer[ring] to those garments which, except for one or two distinctions in construction, would have fit into any one of the above listed breakouts. [Refers to descriptions of shirts, T-shirts, sweatshirts and tank tops.] Fore
example, those garments which are commonly referred to as midriffs, tube tops, crop tops, or halter tops do not reach the waist, and are considered tops. * * *

The garment at issue has more than one or two distinctions in construction, i.e., the stitch count, lack of coverage to the waist area, narrow straps and lack of shoulder coverage. Therefore, we believe it is properly classifiable as a top.

The fact that the stitch count is the same as that normally assigned to sweaters does not prevent classification of this garment as a top. There is no stitch count requirement or limitation for garments considered tops. Since this garment is not classifiable in heading 6110, the fact it has a stitch count normally assigned to sweaters is of no consequence. Additionally, its stitch count, were it classifiable in heading 6110, would only be of concern for classification as a sweater at the statistical level.


The garment at issue, style 642A, is classifiable as a top of other textile materials in subheading 6114.90.0010, textile category 838, dutiable at 6 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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