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HQ 088580

May 29, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088580 JS


TARIFF NO.: 6204.62.2010

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

RE: Women's bib overalls; detachable suspenders; essential character bib overalls; classifiable heading 6204, HTSUSA

Dear Mr. Lai:

This is in reference to your letter of December 28, 1990, on behalf of Esprit de Corp., requesting classification of a women's bib overall under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise at issue is a pair of woven, 100 percent cotton bib overalls which you state are made for women. The garment is dyed indigo blue, and they are cut for the oversized look now in fashion for this type of garment. There is a front bib permanently stitched onto the waist which has a 10 inch rise, a horizontal cut top edge, and two medium sized buttons on the right and left corners of the bib, to which the suspenders are attached.

Five belt loops surround the 44 inch waist; three buttons each are sewn vertically onto the right and left side of the pants portion of the garment. A hidden button fly is sewn into the crotch, and front slash pockets reach from waist to hip. The back of the garment is characterized by two over-sized pockets, and there are two buttons at the center of the waist for attaching the "Y" shaped braces. The pants legs would reach to mid-shin or lower, and are very baggy (each leg is approximately 14 inches across at its widest point).


The Y-shaped, detachable suspenders match the color and the sizing of the bib overalls. The 1 1/2 inch wide straps are deep blue and adjustable, and oversized leather loops attach to the garment's buttons.


Whether the garment at issue is classified under the provision for bib and brace overalls under heading 6204, HTSUSA.


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

Heading 6204, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, women's or girls' bib and brace overalls, not knitted or crocheted. The Explanatory Notes ("EN"), the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, state that the provisions of the Explanatory Notes to headings 61.04 and 61.03 respectively, apply mutatis mutandis to the articles of this heading (heading 62.04). EN 61.03 note (E) states that "bib and brace overalls" means garments of the type illustrated in figures 1 to 5 and similar garments which do not cover the knee. The merchandise at issue is substantially similar to that which is depicted in figure 4; it has long pants legs which extend to form a front bib rise above the natural waistline, with suspender straps, a pocket on the front bib, side slash and back pockets on the pants. The oversized styling of the present merchandise, and the fact that the straps are detachable and join to form a "Y" in the back, does not significantly distinguish it from EN 61.03 (E) figure 4 such as to exclude classification under heading 6104, HTSUSA (restrictive application of pictorial examples set forth in EN 61.03 will not be made where basic structure and style of garment at issue appears similar, HRL 088677 issued March 15, 1991).

Consideration of this merchandise under heading 6210, HTSUSA, which provides for other garments, not knitted or crocheted, is thus precluded by GRI 1, which requires that the terms of the headings be given primary weight for purposes of classification. Since the terms of heading 6204 specifically include the merchandise at issue, it is inappropriate to continue consideration of subsequent headings and subheadings but for the analysis below.


Since the suspenders of this garment are detachable, they may be separately classifiable, but the proper analysis depends on whether the two items, suspenders and bib overalls, are treated as a set or as composite goods. We look to GRI 3(b) which contemplates the issue of sets and composite goods 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.

It is our opinion that the bib and brace overalls are composite goods as that term is defined and applied in the HTSUSA. The Explanatory Notes define composite goods made up of different components as not only those in which the components are attached to each another to form a practically inseparable whole, but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary, and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

The bib and brace overalls at issue in this case fit the definition of composite goods. The suspenders, which may be detached, are specially adapted to fit the buttons on the bib overalls, and these buttons are positioned and sized to fit the loops of the suspenders. Moreover, the suspenders have the same color and oversized proportions as the overalls. We also note that if the bib overalls had no suspenders attached to them, the bib would flap down in a manner contrary to the design of the garment. It is clear that the present garment is coordinated for sale as a commercial unit which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

Having determined that the present merchandise is a composite good, it is necessary to determine the essential character of those goods. Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) states 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.


As in virtually every instance involving accessories (or accessory type items) and garment combinations, it is the garment which provides the essential character. In this case, the bib overalls form the basis of the garment and provide the motivating factor for purchase of the merchandise; the essential character of these component goods are the bib overalls. See, HRL 084936 issued July 31, 1989 (pants with detachable suspenders fastened by coordinated button and button holes considered component goods; essential character pants).


The merchandise at issue is classified under subheading 6204.62.2010, HTSUSA, which provides for women's or girls' suits, ensembles, suit-type jackets, blazers, dresses, skirts, divided breeches and shorts (other than swimwear): trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts: of cotton: other: bib and brace overalls, other: women's, textile category 359, dutiable at a rate of 9.5 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 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.

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


John Durant, Director
Commercial Operations Division

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