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HQ 951241

June 19, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951241 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6206.90.0040

Mr. Tommy Lai
Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office
British Embassy
1233 20th Street, N.W.
Suite 504
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Modification of DD 868382 of November 26, 1991; Classification of a ladies' woven garment

Dear Mr. Lai:c

This ruling is in response to your request of February 26, 1992, for reconsideration of DD 868382 of November 26, 1991 under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated. Your request for reconsideration is limited to one of the ladies' garments that was the subject of the District Ruling. The other garment has not been submitted nor is its classification under dispute. A sample was submitted for examination.


The garment at issue, Style 59163, is a ladies' upper body garment manufactured from a lightweight 55 percent linen and 45 percent cotton woven fabric. The hip length garment contains a full front opening secured by six metal buttons, round collar with capped edge, long sleeves with shirt cuffs, two chest pockets, and four darts each on the front and back panels which extend up from the bottom of the garment. This garment was classified as a jacket in Heading 6202, HTSUSA, in DD 868382. The inquirer asserts that the garment is properly classifiable in Heading 6206, HTSUSA, as a blouse.


Whether the sample garment is classifiable as a jacket in Heading 6202, HTSUSA, as ruled in DD 868382, or is the garment classifiable as a blouse in Heading 6206, HTSUSA?


Imported goods are classifiable according to the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative Section or Chapter notes." Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRIs, taken in order.

The sample garment is potentially classifiable in two headings. One such heading is Heading 6206, HTSUSA, which provides for women's blouses, shirts, and shirt-blouses. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUSA are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. While not legally binding, the EN do represent the considered views of the experts on the Harmonized System Committee. Because the EN represent the considered views of the international community, it has been Customs' policy to follow them whenever possible, when interpreting the HTSUSA.

The General EN to Chapter 62, HTSUSA, defines shirts and shirt-blouses as garments designed to cover the upper part of the body, having long or short sleeves and a full or partial opening starting at the neckline. Blouses are also designed to cover the upper part of the body but may be sleeveless and without an opening at the neckline.

The Textile Category Guidelines, C.I.E. 13/88 at 16, which are sometimes utilized as a guide when determining the common or commercial designation of textile articles describe blouses and shirts as follows:

Blouses are outer garments usually extending from the neck or shoulders to the vicinity of the waistline...Blouses may have a collar treatment of any type or no collar treatment. The closure may be positioned on the front, back, or side, or the garment may even be without closure as in a pullover. Also included in the category are shirts, the feminine counterpart of men's and boys' shirts, from which they may be distinguished by size, style, and usually fastenings.

The other potential heading for the sample garment is Heading 6202, HTSUSA, which provides for women's overcoats...windbreakers and similar articles (including padded sleeveless jackets).

The C.I.E. 13/88 at 6, states in pertinent part:

Shirt-jackets have full or partial front openings and sleeves, and at the least cover the upper body from the neck area to the waist. They may be within the coat category if designed to be worn over another garment (other than underwear).

The sample garment does contain a full front opening that can be fastened with metal buttons. It also possesses sleeves and it covers the upper body to the waist. However, various factors preclude the garment from being classifiable in the coat category. The garment is not designed to be worn over another garment. The instant merchandise can be completely fastened and worn without any type of shirt or undergarment. There are no openings that would prevent the merchandise from being worn in this manner. Finally, the garment is constructed from a lightweight fabric that is not capable of protection against the elements (rain, wind, etc.).

The C.I.E. 13/88 at 6, also lists certain factors to be considered when determining whether a garment is classifiable as a jacket or shirt-blouse. The instant garment does not possess any of the characteristics that would prompt a jacket classification.

We hereby modify DD 868382 in accordance with the rationale given above.


The garment in question is properly classifiable in subheading 6206.90.0040. The rate of duty is 7.1 percent ad valorem, and the textile category is 840.

The designated textile and apparel 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.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraining (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

In order to insure uniformity in Customs classification of this merchandise and eliminate uncertainty, we are modifying DD 868382 to reflect the above classification effective with the date of this letter. However, if after your review, 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 DD 868382 under 10 CFR 177.9(d)(1). It is not to be applied retroactively to DD 868382 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)) and will not, therefore, affect past transactions for the importation of your merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions of merchandise of this type, DD 868382 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, you may, at your discretion, notify this office and apply for such relief from the binding effects as may be warranted by the circumstances. However, please be advised that in some instances involving import restraints, such relief may require separate approvals from other government agencies.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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