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HQ 089280

May 13, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089280 JS


TARIFF NO.: 6109.10.0037

Tommy Lai
Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office
British Embassy
1233 20th Street, N.W.
Suite 504
Washington, D.C. 20030

RE: Modification of HRL 088572 concerning women's cotton undershirt; underwear; classifiable heading 6109, HTSUSA

Dear Mr. Lai:

Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088572 issued to you on April 24, 1991, classified a women's cotton undershirt under heading 6108 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Upon further review, that classification is determined to be in error.


The merchandise at issue is a women's cotton knit undershirt as described in detail under the facts of HRL 088572. This item was classified as other women's knit underwear of heading 6108, HTSUSA.


Whether classification of the subject merchandise as women's knit underwear of heading 6108 is appropriate under the HTSUSA.


Customs policy in the classification of women's underwear has centered around a distinction between the type of underwear provided for under heading 6108 and that of heading 6109, HTSUSA. The Explanatory Notes of heading 6108 separates the goods of this

heading into two categories; the applicable category here is that which contains "namely slips, petticoats, briefs, panties and similar articles (underclothing)." All of these items are garments which are worn below the waist. Heading 6109, on the other hand, provides for women's underwear which is worn above the waist, as indicated by the terms of the headings and subheadings. See, HRL 085685 (issued December 10, 1990) which underlined this distinction as follows:

Heading 6109, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, women's or girl's 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...there is NO provision in heading 6108, HTSUSA, for upper body garments...

Therefore, since the subject of HRL 088572 is a tank-style undergarment worn above the waist, it is properly classified as women's underwear of heading 6109, HTSUSA.


The merchandise at issue is correctly classified under 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, textile category 352, dutiable at the rate of 21 percent ad valorem.

HRL 088572 is modified accordingly pursuant to 19 CFR 177.9(d).

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 your client 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, your client should contact its local Customs Office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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