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HQ 089083

July 2, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089083 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6109.10.0037, 6109.90.1090

Ms. Mary Jo Muoio
Wolf D. Barth Co., Inc.
90 West Street
New York, New York 10006

RE: Classification of certain women's undergarments--camisole and knit bra-type articles

Dear Ms. Muoio:

This ruling is in response to your submission of February 7, 1991, requesting the classification of certain women's undergarments on behalf of J.C. Penney Purchasing Corporation. The garments are anticipated to originate from Hong Kong and are expected to be imported through the New York Seaport and JFK Airport. Samples were received by this office with your submission and will be returned to you as requested.


The garments at issue include three styles of women's undergarments. The first, style 4832, is a women's 100 percent cotton knit camisole featuring a scalloped man-made fiber (80 percent nylon/20 percent spandex) lace-like insert at the top. The garment has spaghetti shoulder straps which extend to the underarm area and serve as capping. The straight top back is edged with 1/4 inch elastic and the waist length garment is hemmed at the bottom.

The second garment at issue, style 4831, is a "bra-styled" underwear top of 100 percent cotton knit material with scalloped man-made fiber (80 percent nylon/ 20 percent spandex) lace-like inserts at the V-shaped front. The elastic spaghetti shoulder straps are formed from an extension of the capping of the upper back of the garment and the under the arm area. The garment (size medium) reaches just below the bust and measures ten inches from the top of the shoulder strap to the bottom of the garment. The bottom of the garment has a 3/8 inch elasticized edging.

The last garment, style 4834, is a women's underwear crop top made from a 100 percent nylon, lace-like raschel knit, openwork fabric. The garment features self-fabric straps which are stitched front-to-back at the top of the shoulder and measure 3/4 inch at that point. The garment has U-shaped front and back necklines with elasticized capping. Elasticized capping also appears on the armholes and bottom of the garment. The garment (size large) reaches just below the bust and measures 11 inches from the top of the shoulder strap to the bottom of the garment.

The garments are regarded as women's lingerie and will be sold at retail in the women's underwear department.


Are the garments at issue classifiable as women's underwear of heading 6109, HTSUSA?


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]."

The garments at issue are similar to garments which have been the subject of previous classification rulings by Customs Headquarters.

Style 4832 is a camisole which Customs believes is designed as an underwear camisole. The most persuasive evidence is the garment itself. The type of capping and straps present on the garment are typical of that found on underwear garments and the scalloped lace-like insert on the front is also of the type often seen on underwear camisoles. Customs has noted in previous rulings that underwear camisoles are similar to undershirts as they are worn in a similar manner, i.e., under a shirt or blouse and over a bra. See, HRL 086977 of June 19, 1990. Customs has stated in earlier rulings that heading 6109, HTSUSA, is the proper classification heading for upper body undergarments. In HRL 085685 of December 10, 1990, it was expressed as follows:

Heading 6109, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, women's or girls' t-shirts, singlets, tank tops, and similar garments. The EN to this latter heading includes for classification therein "singlets and other vests." Funk & Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary of the English Language (1939), defines singlets as "underwear," and vests as "an undershirt, especially one for women's wear." Underwear-type shirts are
therefore prima facie provided for at the international level in heading 6109. This, in addition to the fact that these in NO provision in heading 6108, HTSUSA, for upper body undergarments, causes us to conclude that your "underwear heading contention is incorrect. [The contention was that the garments at issue were underwear of heading 6108, HTSUSA.]

In light of the appearance of style 4832 and considering that it is to be sold as lingerie in the women's underwear department (although not determinative, a factor to consider), the garment is classifiable under heading 6109, HTSUSA, which provides for T- shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted.

Style 4831 is similar to garments which were the subject of HRL 085685 of December 10, 1990. That ruling classified bra-let style tops in heading 6212, HTSUSA, which provides for body- supporting garments, including, inter alia, brassieres and similar articles, whether or not knitted or crocheted. While style 4831 is similar to the bra-lets of HRL 085685, it is distinguishable from those garments. The elastic edging at the bottom of style 4831 is very narrow and offers no support to the wearer of the garment. We believe it is present only to keep the bottom of the garment close to the wearer's body. In HRL 085685, the garments featured wide lower bands and were of somewhat different construction. Customs believes style 4831 fails to provide body support. It is sized in a general manner, small, medium, and large, which is not typical of brassiere sizing and the elastic straps are not adjustable and are thin and extremely stretchable. Therefore, Customs does not believe this garment is classifiable as a brassiere or similar to a brassiere. It is more akin to the garments classified in HRL 085431 of December 20, 1989, as women's underwear of heading 6109, HTSUSA.

Style 4834 is also similar to the garments of HRL 085431. It is also similar to the garment which was the subject of 085682 of December 22, 1989. That ruling classified a women's sheer crop top as an underwear garment of heading 6109 based on the sheerness of the garment and the marketing of the garment as an article of intimate apparel. Style 4834 is a sheer, lace-like, crop top styled garment. As with style 4831 and 4832, it is to be sold in the women's underwear department as lingerie.


The garments at issue, styles 4831, 4832 and 4834, are classified as women's upper body undergarments, similar to undershirts. Styles 4831 and 4832 are classified in subheading 6109.10.0037, HTSUSA, which provides for T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted, of cotton,
women's or girls', underwear. The garments are subject to a duty rate of 21 percent ad valorem and fall within textile category 352.

Style 4834 is classified in subheading 6109.90.1090, HTSUSA, which provides for T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted, of man-made fibers, women's or girls', other. The garment is subject to a duty rate of 34 percent ad valorem and fall within textile category 639.

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 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 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, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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