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HQ 088822

November 4, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088822 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6109.10.0007

Richard Wortman, Esq.
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, New York 10017

RE: Revocation of NYRL 860744 of March 3, 1991; tank top vs. underwear

Dear Mr. Wortman:

This ruling is in response to your submission of February 27, 1991, on behalf of Ruby International, requesting this office reconsider NYRL 860744. In that ruling, a man's tank top garment was classified in subheading 6109.10.0018, HTSUSA, as a men's tank top. You assert it is properly classified as a men's underwear singlet in subheading 6109.10.0007, HTSUSA. The merchandise will be imported from the People's Republic of China or Hong Kong.


The garment at issue, style 8497, is a men's tank top made of 100 percent cotton, lightweight, jersey knit fabric. The garment is sleeveless with a somewhat wide body. It has a low, rounded front neckline, a rear neckline which reaches below the nape of the neck, oversized armholes, shoulder straps which measure one and one-half inches in width at the shoulder seam, and a hemmed bottom. The armholes and neckline are finished with self-fabric capping. This garment will be imported only in white in sizes small, medium, large and extra-large. The garment will be packaged three garments per polybag.


Is the garment at issue, style 8497, classifiable as a men's underwear singlet or as a men's tank top?

May men's underwear singlets be constructed of flat jersey knit fabric as opposed to rib knit fabric? -2-


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRIs taken in order]."

The classification issue in this case is at the statistical level (the ninth and tenth digits). There is agreement upon the classification through the eight digit level, i.e. that the garment at issue is classified under subheading 6109.10.00, HTSUSA, which provides for T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted, of cotton. The issue is simply whether it is classifiable in the statistical provision for men's all white cotton singlets, without pockets, trim or embroidery.

The Textile Category Guidelines, CIE 13/88, describes singlets (athletic-type undershirts) as "sleeveless, all-white undergarments constructed of a lightweight, fine ribbed-knit material." The garment at issue herein is sleeveless. This style will be imported only in white. It is constructed of a lightweight fine knit fabric and has no pockets, trim or embroidery. The one characteristic the garment lacks from those stated in the Guidelines and in the statistical language is that the fabric from which the garment is made is not ribbed-knit.

The garment will be packaged and sold as men's underwear singlets. Several other men's underwear singlets were submitted with this ruling request and examined by Customs. All were packaged for retail sale as men's underwear singlets. There is no doubt that is what they are manufactured as, sold as and used as. None of these singlets were constructed of ribbed-knit material.

The requirement in the Guidelines that the garment be of ribbed-knit fabric is no doubt based on how these garments were constructed at the time the Guidelines were written. Commercial practice has changed since that time and while many singlets are still constructed of ribbed-knit fabric, many are not. The Guidelines are just that, guidelines, and to classify this garment as other than a men's underwear singlet because it is not of ribbed-knit fabric would fly in the face of commercial reality.


The garment at issue, style 8497, is classified as a men's cotton, knitted, underwear singlet in subheading 6109.10.0007, -3-

HTSUSA, textile category 352, dutiable at 21 percent ad valorem.

In order to insure uniformity in Customs classification of this merchandise and eliminate uncertainty, we are revoking NYRL 860744 of March 3, 1991. However, if after your review of this ruling letter, 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 revocation of NYRL 860744 under 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). It is not to be applied retroactively to NYRL 860744 (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 in merchandise of this type, NYRL 860744 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this revocation in that current contracts for importation 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 may apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision 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.

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 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 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 your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

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