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HQ 950691

March 31, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 950691 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6109.90.1090

Mr. Alan R. Klestadt
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49TH Street
New York, NY 10017

RE: NYRL 854336 modified. Underwear; top

Dear Mr. Klestadt:

This is in reply to your letter of November 8, 1991. That letter concerned the tariff classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of ladies undershirts, produced in Hong Kong. Please reference your client Mast Industries (Far East) Ltd., 91-289-5(316)I. Your question as to the applicability of the Notices of Redelivery described infra will be responded to in a separate correspondence.


The merchandise at issue was described in NYRL 854336 of August 6, 1990, as:

The second submitted style, VSP 246, is a woman's knit underwear top. The sides and part of the front are made from a knit fabric that is 85% cotton and 15% spandex. The balance of the garment is constructed from a lace-like open work raschel knit fabric of 89% nylon and 11% spandex. The garment has two inch wide scalloped shoulder straps and scalloped plunge neckline. A three inch wide scalloped band extends around the garment below the bust. The essential character of both garments is imparted by the raschel knit fabric.

In NYRL 854336, we classified this merchandise under subheading 6108.92.0015, HTSUSA, as other women's underwear of man-made fibers.

In March of 1991, Victoria's Secret Catalogue, the ultimate purchaser of this merchandise, requested that Mast Industries change the style number of VSP 246 so that it would be consistent with their own internal product designations. In accordance with this request, Style VSP 246 was changed to VS2569. You state that in all other respects the garments are identical.

Beginning July 1, 1991, you were issued several Notices of Redelivery by Cleveland, Ohio, Customs, stating that the garment at issue was misclassified. The Import Specialist held that since the style numbers, as described above, were different, NYRL 854336 was not binding upon the merchandise as entered.


Whether the classification under the HTSUSA of the merchandise in NYRL 854336 was correct?


Heading 6108, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, women's or girls' slips, petticoats, briefs, panties and similar articles. The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part, that "... classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes ...." Goods which cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRIs, taken in order.

Heading 6108, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, women's or girls' slips, petticoats, briefs, and panties. The Explanatory Notes to this heading merely names these articles "un- derclothing." Heading 6108, therefore, prima facie provides for underwear at the international level. Heading 6109, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, women's or girls' t-shirts, singlets, tank tops, and similar garments. The EN to this latter heading includes for classification therein ~singlets and other vests." Webster's New World Dictionary (1988) defines singlets as a "man's undershirt esp. a sleeveless one," and vests as "girls undershirts." See also Funk & Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary of the English Language (1939), defining singlets as "underwear," and vests as "an undershirt, especially one for women's wear." Underwear-type shirts are therefore prima facie provided for at the international level in heading 6109. This, in addition to the fact that there is no provision in heading 6108, HTSUSA, for upper body undergarments, causes us to conclude that classification in heading 6109, HTSUSA, is correct. NYRL 854336 is modified accordingly.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 6109.90.1090, HTSUSA, textile category 639, as t-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted, of other textile materials, of man-made fibers, women's or girls', other. The applicable rate of duty is 34 percent ad valorem.

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 negotiations 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 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, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the 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 NYRL 854336 of August 6, 1990, pursuant to 19 C.F.R. 177.9(d)(1) (1989), to reflect the above classification effective with the date of this letter. This letter is not to be applied retroactively to NYRL 854336 (19 C.F.R. 177.9(d)(2) (1989)) and will not, therefore, affect the transaction for the importation of your merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, including that for which the present classification is requested, NYRL 854336 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 the release of HRL 950691 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.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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