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HQ 089059

July 25, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089059 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6109.10.0037

Chief CIE
U.S. Customs Service
6 World Trade Center
New York, New York 10048

RE: Classification difference; Crop top; underwear vs. outerwear; 6109, HTSUSA, vs. 6114, HTSUSA

Dear Ms. DeGaetano:

This difference, submitted November 19, 1990, from the port of Seattle concerns the classification of a woman's crop top. A sample of the garment, along with a matching panty, were received by this office.


The garment at issue, style 3335, is a woman's crop top made of finely knit, 100 percent cotton fabric. The garment extends from the shoulders to just beneath the bust area. It features a U-shaped front neckline, a T-styled back, 1-3/8-inch wide shoulder straps, oversized armholes and teardrop designed opening in the front with a small ribbon bow. The neckline, shoulder straps, armholes and teardrop cut-out are capped with a narrow elastic band which is attached by a stitch which we believe to be a type of three-needle top stitch. A 1/2-inch elasticized band is sewn to the bottom of the garment by the same type of stitch used to attach the capping. The garment is imported with matching panties. Both the top and panties have the same style number and are packaged for sale together.

The sending port, Seattle, believes the garment is properly classified as a woman's underwear top of heading 6109, HTSUSA. HRL 084865 of September 22, 1989, is cited as support for this position.

The New York Customs office believes the garment at issue is distinguishable from that at issue in HRL 084865 and is classifiable as outerwear of heading 6114, HTSUSA. -2-


Is the garment at issue, style 3335, classifiable as women's underwear of heading 6109, HTSUSA, or women's outerwear of heading 6114, HTSUSA?


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 decision in this case turns on an examination of the garment itself. The finely knit fabric of the garment, while not see-through, is lightweight, soft to the touch and rather thin. It is the type of cotton knit fabric typically used in the manufacture of underwear garments. The fabric alone, however, is not conclusive. The elastic band and capping are also persuasive elements leading to the classification of this garment as an underwear garment. Although the type of capping is not unique to underwear garments, the type of thread and stitch used to sew the elastic band and capping to the garment are typically used in the construction of underwear, rather than outerwear, garments.

The matching panties and the fact the top and panties are packaged together as a set for sale lend further support for a classification decision that the garment at issue is an underwear garment.


This office agrees with the port of Seattle that the subject garment is classifiable as an underwear garment of heading 6109, HTSUSA. The garment at issue, style 3335, is classified in subheading 6109.10.0037, HTSUSA, textile category 352, dutiable at 21 percent ad valorem.

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 the importer 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 the local Customs office. -3-

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, the importer should contact the 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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