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HQ 088807

August 9, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088807 PR


TARIFF NO.: 6117.80.0035

Mr. Victor K. Saiz
1485 Bayshore Boulevard
San Francisco, California 94124

RE: Modification of NYRL 857599; Classification of Identifier Scrimmage Vests

Dear Mr. Saiz:

This is in reply to your letter of December 5, 1990, requesting that we reconsider the ruling in NYRL 857599, dated November 20, 1990. Our ruling on the matter follows.


The submitted sample is a knitted nylon mesh sleeveless pullover garment that is stated to be worn over practice jerseys during football (or other sports) training sessions to distinguish individuals, positions, or teams. It comes in only one size; has a rounded neck opening, oversized armholes, and narrow elastic strips which have been sewn around the inside of the waist, neck, and armhole openings.


NYRL 857599 ruled that the instant merchandise is classifiable under the provision for other women's or girls' knit vests, of man-made fibers, in subheading 6110.30.3035, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). It is contended that the "scrimmage vest" should be classified either (1) under a basket provision for other made up articles of man- made fibers, in subheading 6307.90, HTSUSA, and not as a garment since its sole function is to change the color of a player's jersey; or (2) under a provision for other articles and equipment for outdoor games, in subheading 9506.99, HTSUSA.


Imported goods are classifiable according to the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUSA). GRI 1 provides that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings in the tariff and according to any pertinent section or chapter notes. In this instance, it appears that we need not go beyond GRI 1 to determine the classification of the scrimmage vests. In our view, the competing headings provide for "vests" and similar garments (6110); other nonspecified garments (6114); clothing accessories (6117); sports equipment (9506); and "other made up articles" (6307).

The submitted sample has the appearance of an article of apparel because it covers the entire upper torso from neck to waist (except the arms) and is worn on the person in the same manner as a garment. However, wearing apparel, which we believe to be synonymous with garments, has been defined by the courts to be articles worn by human beings for reasons of comfort, decency, or adornment, Antonio Pompeo v. United States, 40 Cust. Ct. 362, C.D. 2006 (1958), and includes "articles worn for protection against the elements and those worn for protection against more localized conditions prevailing in the environment of the home, workplace, school, or restaurant." Admiral Craft Equipment Corp. v. United States, 82 Cust. Ct. 162, C.D. 4796 (1979).

Not all garment-like articles are classifiable as apparel. In Dynamics Classics Ltd. v. United States, 10 CIT 666 (1986), the court held that plastic exercise suits were worn chiefly to retain body heat and not as apparel. Therefore, the exercise suits were not classifiable as apparel.

The subject merchandise does not fit within either the Antonio Pompeo or Admiral Craft definitions of apparel. However, it does fall within the Dynamics Classics holding because it is not worn as a garment. The article is worn solely to allow others to identify the wearer and serves much the same purpose as a policeman's badge.

While it appears that the scrimmage vests may be used for casual wear, no evidence of such use has been submitted. Accordingly, our decision on this matter has been made without consideration of uses of the subject merchandise outside of the area of its intended use in the practice of sports.

In Customs view, the scope of Heading 9506, HTSUSA, which provides for most sports equipment and which would cover the subject merchandise if it were determined to be sports equipment, is limited to the requisites needed for the sport. While we believe that certain practice equipment (e.g. football tackling dummies and practice sleds) may be classifiable under Heading 9506, scrimmage vests do not assist the player in the pursuit of the sport. Instead, they function as a means for coaches to identify one or more players during a practice session. They are no more considered to be sports equipment than a numbered square of paper pinned on a jersey.

Since the instant merchandise is classifiable neither as a garment nor as sports equipment, the remaining headings to be considered are Heading 6117, which provides for clothing accessories, and Heading 6307, which provides for other (not previously enumerated) made up articles. Obviously, if Heading 6117 is applicable, pursuant to GRI 1, Heading 6307 cannot be considered.

The Explanatory Notes state that Heading 6117 includes such articles as labels, badges, and emblems. While some labels may be considered to be classifiable in Heading 6117 as parts of garments, badges, emblems, and brand name labels are not considered to be parts of garments and, therefore, must be classifiable in Heading 6117 because they are considered to be "clothing accessories". If badges, emblems, and brand labels, which usually serve as forms of identification, are clothing accessories, then it follows that other articles which are worn on the person primarily for identification, such as the instant scrimmage vests, are also classifiable as clothing accessories.


The sample scrimmage vest is classifiable under the provision for other knit clothing accessories of man-made fibers, in subheading 6117.80.0035, with duty at the column one rate of 15.5 percent ad valorem. The designated textile and apparel category applicable to this merchandise is 659.

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)), NYRL 857599 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 it is not retroactive. However, NYRL 857599 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. NYRL 857599 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 NYRL 857599 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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