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HQ 088670

June 11, 1991



TARIFF NO.: 6110.20.2075

Mr. Marty Langtry
Castelazo & Associates
5420 west 104th Street
Los Angeles, California 90045

RE: Modification of DDRL 854707; Classification of T-Shirts With Shoulder Pads

Dear Mr. Langtry:

This is in reply to your letter of February 7, 1991, requesting that this office reconsider DDRL 854707, dated July 31, 1990, which held that a T-shirt with shoulder pads (style No. 200) is classifiable under the provision for women's or girls' knit cotton garments similar to T-shirts, in subheading 6109.10.0070, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Our ruling on the matter follows.


No sample was submitted. Style No. 200 is described in DDRL 854707 as a pullover garment with a rounded close fitting rib knit neckline, close fitting hemmed short sleeves, a close fitting hip length body, a hemmed bottom, a patch pocket in the upper left front, and shoulder pads tacked in at the shoulder seam. It is made from lightweight knit cotton fabric which contains more than 10 stitches per centimeter in both the horizontal and vertical directions. An identical garment without the shoulder pads, style No. 100, was classified under the provision for women's cotton T-shirts, in subheading 6109.10.0040, HTSUSA. The classification of style No. 100 is not in issue.


The issue presented is whether a garment which would otherwise be classifiable as a T-shirt is classifiable as an article similar to a T-shirt when it is imported with shoulder pads attached.


Heading 6109, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), provides for knit T-shirts, singlets, tank tops, and similar garments. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, which are the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level (for the 4 digit headings and the 6 digit subheadings), describes T-shirts as "lightweight knitted or crocheted garments of the vest type." In Customs Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQRL) 087211, dated October 9, 1990, it was stated that the phrase "garments of the vest type" means underwear-type garments.

HQRL 085695, dated October 17, 1989, which ruled that certain T-shirts with shoulder pads were not classifiable under Heading 6109, contained the following statement:

The presence of, or provision for, attached or detachable shoulder pads, is incongruous with the requirement that garments be "constructed of the underwear type." Therefore, classification of the instant merchandise as T-shirts is precluded.

That statement is clear and definitive, and represents the position of the Customs Service. The addition of shoulder pads to what would otherwise be classifiable as a T-shirt changes the character and use of that T-shirt from an "underwear-type" garment to an article of outer wear apparel. As an outer wear garment, the subject merchandise is not considered to be similar to an underwear-type T-shirt.

HQRL 087492, dated July 12, 1990, classified merchandise similar to the instant sample under the provision for women's or girls' pullovers and similar articles, in subheading 6110.20.2075, HTSUSA. Following that ruling, the instant merchandise is also classifiable under that provision.


The submitted sample, style No. 200, described above, is classifiable under the provision for women's or girls' pullovers and similar articles, in subheading 6110.20.2075, HTSUSA, with duty, if entitled to column one rates of duty, at the rate of 20.7 percent ad valorem. The designated textile and apparel category applicable to this merchandise remains 339.

In order to insure uniformity in Customs classification of this merchandise and eliminate uncertainty, pursuant to Section 177.9(d)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.9(d)(1)), DDRL 854707 is modified to reflect the above classification effective with the date of this letter. If, after your review, you disagree with the legal basis for our decision, we invite you to submit any arguments you may have with respect to this matter. Any submission you wish to make should be received within 30 days of the date of this letter.

This modification is not retroactive. However, DDRL 854707 will not be valid for importations of the subject merchandise arriving in the United States after the date of this notice. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected (i.e. DDRL 854707 will not be applicable to merchandise previously ordered and arriving in the United States subsequent to this modification). If it can be shown that you relied on DDRL 854707 to your detriment, you may apply to this office for relief. However, you should be aware that in some instances involving import restraints, such relief may require separate approvals from other government agencies.

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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