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HQ 950848

May 11,1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 950848 JS


TARIFF NO.: 6211.33.0060

John C. Haedrich
Meiko America, Inc.
2132-B East Dominguez Street
Long Beach, CA 90810

RE: Modification of NY 866955; albs; liturgical vestments; religious garments; classifiable heading 6211, HTSUSA

Dear Mr. Haedrich:

On September 20, 1991, you were issued New York Ruling 866955 on behalf of The Autom Company ("Autom"). Upon further review, this ruling, which classified an alb (a liturgical vestment) under subheading 9810.00.1500, is determined to be in error.


The merchandise at issue is stated to be a religious garment made of a woven fabric composed of 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton fibers. The one piece garment is a full length liturgical vestment worn during religious ceremonies of the Catholic faith.

Your letter of November 7, 1991, requested reconsideration of the New York ruling on the basis that classification of the merchandise did not meet the requirements of U.S. Note 1 of Subchapter X. You emphasis that Autom, is a "for-profit" body that imports these goods for sale to religious institutions.


Whether these garments were correctly classified as religious regalia under NY 866955.


Heading 9810 provides for articles imported for the use of an institution established solely for religious purposes, including regalia.


The U.S. Notes to Subchapter X specify the following with regard to classification of goods within the Subchapter:

1. Except as provided in subheading 9810.00.20 and headings 9810.00.70, 9810.00.85, 9810.00.90 and 9810.00.95, or as otherwise provided for in this U.S. note, the articles covered by this subchapter must be exclusively for the use of the institutions involved, and not for distribution, sale or other commercial use within 5 years after being entered...

2. The term "regalia," as used in this subchapter, (subheadings 9810.00.15 and 9810.00.45) embraces only such insignia of rank or office, emblems or other articles as may be worn upon the person or borne in the hand during public exercises of the institution, and does not include articles of furniture or fixtures, nor regular wearing apparel nor personal property of individuals.

The present garment meets the requirements for religious regalia as specified in U.S.Note 2 above; however, the prohibition in U.S. Note 1 regarding sale of such goods within 5 years of importation disqualifies the alb in this case from classification within heading 9810. Although the alb is to be used exclusively by religious institutions and their organizations, it will be sold to such organizations after importation into the United States by Autom, which is conducting such trade for profit. Accordingly, the alb does not fall within the provision for religious regalia as ruled in NY 866955.

Heading 6211, however, does encompass the goods in question under the provision for other garments.


The alb imported by Autom is classified under subheading 6211.33.0060, HTSUSA, which provides for other garments: other garments, men's or boys': of man-made fibers, other, textile category 659, dutiable at the rate of 17 percent ad valorem.

In order to assure uniformity in Customs classification of this merchandise and eliminate uncertainty, we are modifying NY 866955 to reflect the above classification effective with the date of this letter. However, if you disagree with the legal basis for our decision, we invite you to submit any arguments you might have with respect to this matter for our review. Any submission you wish to make should be received within 30 days of the date of this letter.


This notice to you should be considered a modification of NY 866955 under 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1) (1989). It is not to be applied retroactively to NY 866955 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2) (1989)) and will not, therefore, affect the transaction for importation of your client's merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, including that for which the present classification was requested, NY 866955 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification, in that current contracts for importation arriving at a port subsequent to the release of NY 866955 will be classified under the new ruling. If such a situation arises, you may, at your discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of the new ruling as may be dictated by the circumstances. However, please be advised that in some instances involving import restraints, such relief may require separate approvals from other government agencies.

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 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 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 its 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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