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HQ 089178

August 8, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089178 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6211.41.0050; 6505.90.4090

M. I.J. Brown
Managing Director
Browns Belts Ltd.
36 Revell Street

RE: Fishing vest is special article of apparel used for certain sports. Cap; hat; wool

Dear M. Brown:

This is in reply to your letter of March 25, 1991, concerning the tariff classification of a fishing vest and cap, produced in New Zealand, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise at issue consists of a fishing vest and matching baseball-style cap, constructed of 100% hand woven wool with leather trim. We assume for the purposes of this ruling that the vest is intended for unisex use.


Whether the vest is considered outerwear for protection from the elements under the HTSUSA?



Heading 6201, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, windbreakers and similar articles (including padded, sleeveless jackets). The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. While not legally binding, they do represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the Explanatory Notes when interpreting the HTSUSA.

The EN to heading 6101, which by reference provides for heading 6201, states that this heading covers garments "characterized by the fact that they are generally worn over all other clothing for protection against the weather." We feel that this excerpt does not adequately describe the instant merchandise. The garment apparently has no padding, and is worn primarily for the pockets' utilitarian functions. Therefore, the vest is not classifiable in heading 6201.

Subheading 6211.41.00, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, vests of wool. The EN to heading 6114, which by reference provides for heading 6211, states that this heading covers "(5) Special articles of apparel used for certain sports...."

It is our opinion that classification under this heading is more appropriate than under heading 6201 (see HRL 085301 of October 19, 1989 (hunting vests are apparel used for sports)).


Heading 6505, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, hats and other headgear made up from fabric in the piece. Assuming your merchandise is not constructed from fabric strips, this heading is applicable.

You have inquired as to an explanation of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. The tariff schedule is divided into various sections and chapters dealing separately with merchandise in broad product categories. These categories, for example, separately cover animal products, vegetable products, products of various basic materials such as wood, textiles, plastics, rubber, and steel and other metal products in various stages of manufacture. Other sections encompass chemicals, machinery and electrical equipment, and other specified or non- enumerated products. The last section, Section XXII, covers certain exceptions from duty and special statutory provisions.

In Sections I through XXI, products are classifiable (1) under items or descriptions which name them, known as an eo nomine provision; (2) under provisions of general descriptions; (3) under provisions which identify them by component material, or (4) under provisions which encompass merchandise in accordance with its actual or principal use. When two or more provisions seem to cover the same merchandise, the prevailing provision is determined in accordance with the legal notes and the General Rules of Interpretation for the tariff schedule. Also applicable are tariff classification principles contained in administrative
precedents or in the case law of the U.S. Court of International Trade (formerly the U.S. Customs Court) or the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (formerly the U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals).


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified as follows:


... under subheading 6211.41.0050, HTSUSA, textile category 459, as track suits, ski-suits and swimwear; other garments, other garments, women's or girls', of wool or fine animal hair, vests. The applicable rate of duty is 17 percent ad valorem.


... under subheading 6505.90.4090, HTSUSA, textile category 459, as hats and other headgear, knitted or crocheted, or made up from lace, felt or other textile fabric, in the piece (but not in strips), whether or not lined or trimmed; hair-nets of any material, whether or not lined or trimmed, other, of wool, other, other, other. The applicable rate of duty is 33.1/kg + 8.4 percent ad valorem.

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 negotiations 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 issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available 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 importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


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