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HQ 950007

October 4, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 950007 PR


TARIFF NO.: 6110.10.2060; 6110.10.2080

David M. Murphy, Esquire
Grunfeld, Desiderio. Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, New York 10017

RE: Classification of Two Women's Knit Pullover Garments With Woven Fabric Overlaid Fronts--Essential Character

Dear Mr. Murphy:

This is in reply to your letters of June 14 and September 23, 1991, on behalf of Kobra Trading International Ltd., concerning the classification of two submitted garments. Our ruling on the matter follows.


Style No. 9746 is a woman's V-neck sleeveless knit wool pullover. It has large armhole openings finished with rib knit capping, and a 3 inch wide rib knit waistband. The garment extends below the waist and is intended to be worn over other outer wearing apparel. The knit fabric comprising the garment is constructed with more than nine stitches per two centimeters. The entire front, except for the arm, neck, and waist bands, is overlaid with a decoratively printed woven silk fabric.

Style No. 1157 is essentially the same garment as Style No. 9746, except that it has long sleeves with rib knit cuffs and the waistband is 2-3/4 inches wide.

The knit portions of the garments are stated to comprise over 60 percent of the surface area of each garment and over 85 percent of the weight of each garment.


The issue presented by the two samples is whether they are classifiable as knit garments, in Chapter 61, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), or as woven garments, in Chapter 62, 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.

GRI 2(b) provides that a reference to a material in a heading shall be taken to include mixtures or combinations of that material with other materials and that any reference to goods of a given material shall be taken to include goods partly of that material; if goods consist of more than one material, then classification will be according to GRI 3.

GRI 3(a) requires that where two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials in the goods, then classification will be by GRI 3(b). GRI 3(b) states that the material or component which imparts the essential character to the goods will determine their classification.

Normally where garments consist of both knit and woven fabrics, those garments are, pursuant to GRI's 2(b) and 3(b), described by provisions in both Chapter 61, which covers knit garments, and Chapter 62, which provides for garments of other fabrics, and classification must be in accordance with GRI 3(b)-- according to the component which imparts the essential character to each garment.

Accordingly, it is contended that a Customs Headquarters memorandum, file 084118, dated April 13, 1989, to our Area Director of Customs, New York Seaport, requires Customs to find that the essential character of the garments in question is imparted by the overlaid woven silk fabrics. In that memorandum, it was stated:

Where garments are made from both woven and knit fabrics, or where they contain both textile and nontextile components, the classification of those garments depends on a subjective determination of which component--the woven or the knit, or the textile or nontextile--imparts the essential character to the particular garments. We have discovered that knowledgeable import specialists, when viewing the same garment, differ in their classification of that garment, even though they were instructed that, if in doubt, they should use the tie-breaker--General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3(c).

The memorandum went on to set out certain factors to be considered in determining the essential character of garments consisting of different fabrics or of textile and nontextile components. One factor listed is where a component forms the entire front of the garment. A second factor is where a component provides a visual and significant decorative effect. It is argued that these two factors require the subject garments to be according to their woven fronts.

First, it should be pointed out that the wide solid black waistbands contrast markedly with the brightly colored silk overlays. Accordingly, the waistbands constitute a significant frontal presence and cannot be ignored. As a result, the entire front of each sample is not considered to be formed by the silk overlays.

Secondly, and most important, the cited memorandum is concerned with determining the essential character of garments made of two or more components, each of which must be considered in making that determination. That is not the case in this instance. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, which are the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level (for the 4 digit headings and the 6 digit subheadings), state, on page 830:

The classification of goods in this Chapter is not affected by the presence of parts or accessories of, for example, woven fabrics, furskin [sic], feather, leather, plastics or metal.

The woven silk overlays are not integral parts of the submitted samples. They are decorative additions which, while enhancing the appearance of the garments, do not change the identity or commercial designation of the underlying knit garments. Without the overlays, the garments are knit pullover sweater-like garments. With the overlays, the garments are knit pullover sweater-like garments with decorative fronts.

Accordingly, it is Customs determination that, in accord with the Explanatory Notes, the garments should be classified pursuant to GRI 1 without any consideration being given to the overlaid woven silk fabric fronts.

Since the samples are knit garments for tariff purposes, it must be determined whether they are classifiable as sweaters. Sweaters are provided for by name at the statistical (nonstatutory) level of the tariff schedules. Statistical Note 3 to Chapter 61 states that for the purposes of Chapter 61, sweaters are garments which are "constructed essentially with 9 or fewer stitches per 2 centimeters." Since the submitted samples consist of fabric that has more than nine stitches per two centimeters, they are not classifiable under the statistical provisions for sweaters.


The essential character of the sample garments is imparted by the knit fabrics which form those garments. Therefore, pursuant to GRI 3(b), the garments are classifiable in Chapter 61, as follows:

Style No. 9746 is classifiable under the provision for other women's wool vests, in subheading 6110.10.2060, HTSUSA, with duty at the rate of 17 percent ad valorem. The designated textile and apparel category applicable to this merchandise is 459.

Style No. 1157 is classifiable under the provision for other women's wool sweaters, pullovers, and similar garments, in subheading 6110.10.2080, HTSUSA, with duty at the rate of 17 percent ad valorem. The designated textile and apparel category applicable to this merchandise is 438.

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, your client should contact its 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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