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HQ 088555

March 21, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088555 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6215.10.0025

Mr. Tommy Lai
Second Secretary
Hong Kong Economic & Trade Affairs
Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office
British Embassy
1233 20TH Street, N.W.
Suite 504
Washington, DC 20036

RE: Ties have essential character imparted by outer shell. Lining and interlining determine classification where terms of subheadings require. GRI 1;GRI 6;statistical;annotation;silk

Dear Mr. Lai:

This is in reply to your letter of January 24, 1991, concerning the tariff classification of men's silk neckties, produced in Hong Kong, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Please reference your case number HK225/90, Manufacturing Modes, Inc.


The merchandise at issue consists of men's neckties. The outer shell is constructed of 100% silk. The woven interlining is constructed of 100% acetate. The woven lining is of 100% nylon. You state that the overall percentages by weight of the tie, including lining and interlining, are 37% silk, 55% acetate, and 8% nylon (63% man-made).


Whether the interlining and lining of neckties are taken into account in determining classification of neckties under the HTSUSA?

Subheading 6215.10, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, ties of silk or silk waste. Subheading 6215.20, HTSUSA, provides for similar articles of man-made fibers. The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) to the HTSUSA govern the class- ification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part, that:

... classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes ...

Goods which cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRIs, taken in order. Subheading Note 2 to Section XI, HTSUSA, provides, in pertinent part:

(A) Products of chapters 56 to 63 containing two or more textile materials are to be regarded as consisting wholly of that textile material which would be selected under note 2 to this section for the classification of a product of chapters 50 to 55 consisting of the same textile materials.

(B) For the application of this rule:

(a) Where appropriate, only the part which determines the classification under general interpretative rule 3 shall be taken into account.

Note 2(A), Section XI, to which Subheading Note 2(A) refers, provides:

Goods classifiable in chapters 50 to 55 or in heading 5809 or 5902 and of a mixture of two or more textile materials are to be classified as if consisting wholly of that one textile material which predominates by weight over each other textile material.

In applying the Section Note, we have stated that:

Subheading Note 2(A) is dependent on the application of Section XI Note 2(A).
The subheading note states that the classification of textile garments and articles will be governed by the textile material selected under the section note.

[T]he mixture of textile materials contemplated in the section note is not a mixture of two or more separate fabrics.
Before the subheading note, which is predicated on the section note, can be utilized, it must first be determined to which of the fabrics comprising the article the section note (and, therefore, the subheading note) applies. The [ties] in question [are] made of [several] fabrics. If those fabrics were imported together in fabric form, Section XI Note
2(A) would not require that the weights of their components be compared and that classification be according to the textile material which predominates. Rather, they would be classifiable as separate fabrics. Therefore, where separate fabrics are combined to form a textile garment or article [as in the instant matter], GRI 3 is utilized first to select which fabric
[(and which part of the garment that fabric comprises)] will determine classification.

HRL 084012 PR of June 12, 1989.

Accordingly, where the instant ties contain parts that materially contribute to their character or usefulness, those parts or accessories must be considered along with the outer shell in determining the applicable classification. Following Subheading Note 2(B)(a) to Section XI, GRI 3 is consulted to determine which portions of the garment are to be considered in applying Subheading Note 2(A).

GRI 3 states, in pertinent part:

When by application of Rule 2(b) [goods of more than one material or substance] or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materi- als or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) [which requires that goods be classi- fied, if possible, under the more specific of the competing provisions], shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The factors which determine essential character of an article will vary from case to case. It may be the nature of the materials or the components, its bulk, quantity, weight, value, or the role a material plays in relation to the use of the goods. In general, essential character has been construed to mean the attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish what an article is; that which is indispensable to the structure or condition of an article.

It is clear that the silk outer shell imparts the essential character of these ties. The silk shell provides not only the smooth feel and look, but the entire decorative effect of the tie. Therefore, classification under subheading 6215.10, HTSUSA, is appropriate.

Subheading 6215.10.00.25, HTSUSA, provides for ties of silk or silk waste, containing 50 percent by more by weight (including any linings and interlinings) of other textile products. You state that this subheading should not apply to the instant merchandise, because, inter alia, "the silk outershell imparts the essential character to the product." We disagree.

First, it must be recognized that the application of the GRIs to the statistical annotations is not required under the HTS. GRI 6, which incorporates GRIs 1 to 5 in classifying goods at the subheading level, 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 Committee for the Statistical Annotation of Tariff Schedules, established by 484(e), Tariff Act of 1930, rather than the legal classification of the goods. Accordingly, there is no legal requirements that GRI 6 apply to the determination of the appropriate statistical annotation.

It is our opinion, however, that GRI 6 can apply at the ten digit level. This will occur only where there is an existing question as to which statistical annotation applies and where no other rule will resolve the matter.

As we stated above, GRI 1 mandates that, wherever possible, classification shall be determined first according to the terms of the headings, and then, if necessary, according to GRIs 2 through 4. Before the instant classification analysis even reaches a GRI 3(b) essential character determination, the terms of subheading 6215.10.00.25, HTSUSA (including any linings and interlinings) are controlling. The weight of the linings and interlinings are therefore taken into account.

You have also stated that, separate and apart from any essential character analysis as undertaken above, "Attachment III to the agreed minute date 9.12.87" requires only the weight and fiber content of the outer shell of textile product to be taken into consideration. This argument is appropriately presented to the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is
classified under subheading 6215.10.0025, HTSUSA, textile category 659, as ties, bow ties and cravats, of silk or silk waste, containing 50 percent or more by weight (including any linings or interlinings) of textile materials other than silk or silk waste. The applicable rate of duty is 8 percent ad valorem.


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