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HQ 950131

November 6, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 950131 SK


TARIFF NOS.: 6103; 6104; 6105; 6106; 6110; 6203; 6204

Alan G. Lebowitz, Esq.
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, N.Y. 10017

RE: Classification of children's playsuits; coordinate clothing sets; apparel sets; Textile Category Guidelines 13/88, (11/23/88); Headquarters Memorandum 085944 (5/10/91); Headquarters Ruling Letter 088423 (5/20/91)

Dear Mr. Lebowitz:

This is in response to your letter of August 6, 1991, on behalf of your client, Wear Me Apparel Corp., requesting a binding classification ruling for several styles of children's garments. Four samples were submitted for our examination and will be returned to you under separate cover.


Four styles of children's garments were submitted for classification. All girls' sizes will be imported in sizes 2 to 14. Boys' sizes will be imported in sizes 2 to 7.

Style 18623A -- This article is a girls' three-piece knit garment set comprised of 70% cotton and 30% polyester. The pullover has shoulder loops, long sleeves, a napped interior, ribbing at the neck and cuffs, and a hemmed bottom. The pants have adjustable suspender straps, a napped interior, a waistband that is less than 50% elasticized and ribbing at the ankle cuffs. The suspender straps, which are to be passed through the shoulder loops of this and every submitted style, are sewn to the inside of the rear waist portion of the bottom component and are attached by button closures to the front waist portion of the garment when worn. The sleeveless vest has a full front zipper opening, napped interior, overlay, embroidery, and ribbing at the neck, armholes and bottom.

Style F-18824 -- This sample is referred to as F-18826 in your submission to Customs. The article's tag, however, identifies this style as F-18824 and that is the number we will use for reference purposes. This sample is a girls' two-piece knit garment set comprised of 70% cotton and 30% polyester. It is affixed with a hangtag which reads "LITTLE BY LITTLE 2 piece set". The top is a long sleeve shirt with napped interior and has shoulder loops on each shoulder. The bottom component is an ankle length garment with a nap interior and features suspender straps designed to pass through the shoulder loops of the top component. The waistband is less than 50% elasticized.

Style 4/5880 -- This style consists of a boys' knit two-piece garment set consisting of 60% cotton and 40% polyester. The top is long sleeved with a nap interior and with loops on each shoulder. The waistband of the bottom component is less than 50% elasticized and the trouser-length pants have a nap interior.

Style SS3 -- This style consists of a boys' two-piece garment set constructed of 100% cotton woven fabric. The top is a short sleeve shirt featuring loops on each shoulder. The bottom is a pair of shorts which features suspender straps designed to pass through the top's shoulder loops. The shorts have rear pockets as well as front slash pockets, a frontal opening, and a waistband which is less than 50% elasticized.

All styles, except for 4/5880 and the vest of Style 18623A, will be imported, packaged and sold with each component on a separate hanger. The suspenders will hang freely inside the legs and waists of the bottom components. The two hangers will be interlocking so that no set becomes separated. Style 4/5880 will have both top and bottom components imported, packaged and sold on a single hanger with the suspenders hanging freely inside the trouser waist. The vest of Style 18623A will hang over the top.

The importer has agreed to affix hangtags to the subject merchandise which bear an illustration of a child wearing a playsuit with suspenders and which have the language "2 PIECE PLAYSUIT" printed on one side.


Whether the articles at issue are properly classifiable as playsuits under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?

Whether the packaging of these articles precludes classification as playsuits?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the heading and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied in order of their appearance.

In the instant case, the articles at issue are assorted styles of two and three-piece children's garments. The threshhold question with regard to these articles is whether they are classifiable as children's coordinate apparel sets or playsuits.

The Textile Category Guidelines, CIE 13/88, dated November 23, 1988, define "playsuits" as follows:

Two-piece physically connected entireties for girls 2-14 and boys 2-7, such as shirts and shorts having matching buttons and buttonholes, or shoulder loops with suspender straps designed to join the two pieces, which are so manufactured that the use of one without the other is not practicable, are encompassed within this category.

All four submitted styles meet this definition: they consist of two pieces (with the exception of Style 18623A which consists of three pieces); all styles are manufactured to fit the designated sizes; all styles have shoulder loops with suspender straps designed to join the two pieces; all styles are manufactured in such a manner so as to render the use of one component without the other impracticable.

The last prerequisite, which mandates that an individual's use of any component without the other be impracticable, is met by all submitted samples. The bottoms of all samples are less than 50% elasticized. This means that the pants will have difficulty staying up without the suspenders. Moreover, the suspenders are not removable; they are sewn to the back of the waistband and therefore must be worn over the shoulders when the pants are worn. When the suspenders are being used, it is likely that they will fall off a child's shoulders unless threaded through the top's shoulder loops. It follows, therefore, that
the bottom components are physically dependent upon the tops and must be worn together for their use to be practicable. The bottoms cannot be worn without the tops and the tops are not likely to be used without the suspender straps and bottoms because this would leave the shoulder loops conspicuously empty. Thus, it has clearly been established that the submitted articles meet the definition of playsuits as set forth in the Guidelines.

The remaining question is whether the use of piggy-back hangers is acceptable in that it may appear to consumers that these articles are really apparel sets as opposed to playsuits. While the packaging of these garments on one hanger is preferable, it is not a prerequisite to classification as playsuits. It is Customs' opinion that the garments need not be displayed on one hanger with the suspender straps actually threaded through the shoulder loops. At the time of importation the articles need only be readily recognizable as playsuits, that is, it need be apparent that the components are physically interdependent upon one another. The importer's use of piggy back hangers, and its decision to import, package and sell these articles with the suspenders hanging down into the legs and waist of the garments does not render these articles unrecognizable as playsuits. In this instance, it is entirely reasonable to expect a potential purchaser of this article to handle the garment and quickly recognize that it utilizes non-removable suspenders and that the top is designed to accommodate the suspenders.

In your submission, you advised us that the importer, Wear Me Apparel Corp., is prepared to affix hangtags to the garments which 1) bear illustrations of children wearing suspender sets and 2) feature large plain black letters reading "2 PIECE PLAYSET". As we have previously indicated, the term "playsuit" denotes nothing more than a coordinated garment set. The hangtag should read "2 PIECE PLAYSUIT" and include appropriate language which would indicate that the component pieces are designed to be worn together. It is Customs' opinion that with the affixation of these hangtags it will be readily apparent to a potential consumer that these goods are being sold as, and are intended to be worn as, playsuits.

The subject merchandise is imported as sets which are "put up for retail sale". In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088423, dated May 20, 1991, Customs acknowledged that the "retail sale" determination places a heavy burden upon Customs field personnel inasmuch as it is difficult to authenticate an importer's claim
as to how their merchandise will be sold and that allowing packaging to govern how multi-component wearing apparel is classified has overwhelming potential for abuse. Therefore, whether sets of garments which are not packed together in such a manner that they are readily identifiable as playsuits at the time of importation are classifiable as such depends on the intent of the importer. See Headquarters Memorandum 085944, dated May 10, 1991, which examines this issue with regard to suits. In this case, the importer's intent to market and sell these articles as playsuits is clearly evidenced by the fact that each garment will be affixed with the hangtags described above. The importer bears the burden of proof at the time of importation to clearly manifest his intent to market and sell these articles as playsuits. If information is received that the garments are merchandised in a manner not consonant with the entered classification, action under 19 U.S.C. 1592 may be appropriate.

The submitted samples meet the traditional standards for playsuits. The goods are manufactured to be interdependent and are sold as a unit. The parts are coordinated in design and when worn are physically attached by means of the suspender being threaded through the shoulder loops. Accordingly, the submitted samples, with the exception of the vest component of Style 18623A, are classifiable as playsuits.


The submitted samples are classifiable as follows:


18623A girls' cotton knit 6106.10.0020 21% 237 shirt: imported as parts of playsuits

18623A girls' cotton knit 6104.62.2015 16.7% 237 trousers: imported as parts of playsuits

18623A girls' cotton knit 6110.20.2035 20.7% 359 vest

F-18824 girls' cotton knit 6106.10.0020 21% 237 shirt: imported as parts of playsuits

F-18824 girls' cotton knit 6104.62.2015 16.7% 237 trousers: imported as parts of playsuits

4/58800 boys' cotton knit 6105.10.0020 21% 237 shirts: imported as parts of playsuits

4/58800 boys' cotton knit 6103.42.1035 17.1% 237 trousers: imported as parts of playsuits

SS3 boys' woven cotton 6205.20.2070 21% 237 shirt: imported as part of playsuit

SS3 boys' woven cotton 6203.42.4055 17.7% 237 trousers: imported as part of playsuit

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 your client 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 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, your client should contact its local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

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