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HQ 089174

September 18, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089174 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6109.10.0027

Mr. Richard Wortman
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49TH Street
New York, NY 10017

RE: NYRL 857943 affirmed. T-shirts cannot have sewn-on appliques. Underwear; quota; TSUS; embroidery; label; decoration

Dear Mr. Wortman:

This is in reply to your letter of April 11, 1991, requesting reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 857943 of December 16, 1990. Please reference your client Premier Sports Group, Inc.; your reference 91-2938-5(1)I.


The merchandise at issue consists of a men's pullover shirt, Style M210, constructed from 100% cotton finely knit jersey fabric measuring more than 9 stitches per 2 centimeters counted in the horizontal direction. The garment features a traditional crew neck, short hemmed sleeves and a hemmed bottom. At the lower left front corner of the garment is stitched a textile label which measures 1&5/8" wide by 25/16" high. The label sets forth the brand name "LOGO 7." The merchandise will be imported from China in various colors.

In NYRL 857943, we classified this garment under subheading 6109.10.0027, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), as a garment similar to a T- shirt.


Whether the textile label precludes classification under the HTSUSA of the instant garment as a T-shirt?

Heading 6109, HTSUSA, provides for T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted. The Customs Service periodically issues the Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories. The Guidelines, most recently published at 53 Fed. Reg. 52563 (Dec. 28, 1988), CIE 13/88 (Nov. 23, 1988), note that since certain types of garments are closely related
in use, the Guidelines "are to be used as an aid in determining the commercial designation and, hence, the classification of an article." Used as such, they "represent the present position of the Customs Service."

The Textile Guidelines, supra, define T-shirts as follows:

Other T-shirts in Heading 6109
[(aside from men's and boys' white underwear style cotton T-shirts)], ... must be constructed of the underwear type and from lightweight, knit underwear-type fabric, not napped, nor of pile or terry fabric, with or without pockets, and with long or short close-fitting sleeves. The garments should have a close-fitting or lower neckline (round, square, boat-shaped or V-shaped) and may have decoration, other than lace, in the form of pictures, words, or letters, obtained by printing, knitting, or other processes. The bottom of the garment is usually hemmed. A ribbed waistband, a drawstring, or other tightening at the waist is not allowed.
Buttons or other fastenings, openings in the neckline, and collars, are not allowed. [Emphasis added.]

In HRL 085695 of October 17, 1989 [modified on other grounds by HRL 087492 of July 12, 1990], we stated that extensive appliques on the garment, such as glued-on ropes, raised threads, and plastic and bamboo effects sewn onto a full front applique, would, as opposed to an elaborate print, preclude classification as a T-shirt. You state that the small trademark-bearing label sewn onto the bottom front corner of the shirt is distinguishable from these appliques, and the garment should be classified as a non-underwear T-shirt. We disagree.

As we explained in HRL 085695, it is the process by which the decoration is placed on the garment, not the extensiveness or obtrusiveness of the decoration itself, which is controlling. By specifying that T-shirts must be of the underwear type and of underwear-type fabric, as well as the other above-listed limitations, it is clear that the drafters of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule intended T-shirts to be relatively simple garments. Based upon this tenet, Customs has consistently classified comparable garments (i.e., with sewn-on appliques) as similar to T-shirts.

Compare NYRL 860914 of March 4, 1991 (classifying boys' pullover garment with sewn-on vinyl emblem on left chest, and sewn-on ribbon applique encircling left sleeve in 6109.10.0027); NYRL 853956 of July 19, 1990 (classifying man's pullover garment with glued-on square fabric logo on left sleeve in 6109.10.0027); NYRL 856131 of October 5, 1990 (classifying woman's pullover garment with shoulder pads and embroidery and printing at left breast area in 6109.10.0070) with NYRL 864259 of June 14, 1991 (classifying girls' T-shirts with embroidery at chest in 6109.90.1060). T-shirt-like garments with sewn-on appliques, as opposed to shirts with
screen prints, puff prints, and similar decorations, are classified as garments similar to T-shirts.

You also contend that since these garments were considered T-shirts under the Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS), Customs should classify the garment as a T- shirt under the HTSUSA. This argument fails to take note of the specific wording of the TSUS; specifically, the allowance of "ornamented" T-shirts. Under this language, even partially sequined garments were classified as T-shirts. See HRL 081618 of November 11, 1988 (stating that "under the [TSUS] textile apparel articles with beads or sequins were generally classified as ornamented textile apparel. * * * The [HTSUSA], in contrast, makes no distinction between ornamented and unornamented textile articles. The HTSUSA is a new statute with new rules for the classification of imported articles.").

Finally, you assert that since the alleged intention of the textile negotiators was to include garments such as the instant merchandise in the quota category for T-shirts, "Customs must classify the garments accordingly." This is incorrect. Resulting from the enactment of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, Pub. L. No. 100-418, 102 Stat. 1107 (1988), the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) became our tariff code, effective January 1, 1989. Customs is mandated by law to classify merchandise according to the terms of this schedule, aided by various explanatory materials. We cannot be swayed by potential quota migration. NYRL 857943 is affirmed.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 6109.10.0027, HTSUSA, textile category 338, as T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted and crocheted, of cotton, men's or boys', other, other. The applicable rate of duty is 21 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.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


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