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HQ 951405

July 20, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951405 CMR


TARIFF NO: 6202.92.2060

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

RE: Classification of a ladies' 100 cotton woven upper body garment; blouse v. jacket; 6202, HTSUSA v. 6204, HTSUSA; category 341 v. category 335; Your reference HK49/92

Dear Mr. Lai:

This ruling is in response to your letter of March 24, 1992, on behalf of Mast Industries (Far East) Limited. Customs at the port of Columbus, Ohio, where the merchandise at issue was entered, demanded an export license in category 335, rejecting the importer's export license in category 341. This office has examined the sample you submitted with your letter and we agree with the Customs officials in Columbus. Our decision is explained below.


The garment at issue is a 100 percent cotton woven garment designed to cover the upper body. You identify it as a ladies' woven blouse. Customs in Columbus believed it to be a ladies' woven jacket.

The garment constructed of 100 percent woven cotton fabric. It features long sleeves with cuffs that have metal snaps at the wrist, a full-frontal opening that is secured by a heavy-duty metal zipper, three-inch wide double fabric plackets on each side of the metal zipper, a pointed collar, two side vents, two large front chest pockets, storm flaps at the chest that are secured by metal snaps, a storm flap across the top of the back of the garment, epaulets which are secured by metal snaps, and shoulder pads. -2-


Is the submitted sample garment classifiable as a women's woven blouse in heading 6204, HTSUSA, or as a women's woven jacket, similar to a windbreaker, in heading 6202, 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 and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRIs taken in order]."

Reference to the provisions of the HTSUSA and the relevant Explanatory Notes (which are the official interpretation of the HTS at the international level) offer little assistance in this particular case. Therefore, it is reasonable to look to the Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88, for guidance regarding characteristics normally associated with shirts versus those normally associated with jackets.

The Guidelines were developed and revised in accordance with the HTSUSA to insure uniformity, to facilitate statistical classification, and to assist in the determination of the appropriate textile categories established for the administration of the Arrangement Regarding International Trade in Textiles. They offer guidance to the trade community and Customs personnel as to various characteristics of garments. It is important, however, to remember that the Guidelines are not hard and fast rules, but guidance in drawing distinctions between classes of garments.

In the Guidelines at pages 5 and 6, characteristics of shirt-jackets are described and some general guidance in distinguishing between shirts and jackets is given. Various features are listed and it is stated that provided the result is not unreasonable, if a garment possesses at least three of the listed features it will be categorized as a jacket. Additionally, it states that "[g]arments not possessing at least 3 of the listed features will be considered on an individual basis.

Although the garment at issue exhibits only one of the features listed in the Guidelines, i.e., a heavy-duty zipper, it possesses additional features which leads Customs to conclude it is a jacket and will be worn as such. These features include the three-inch wide double fabric plackets on each side of the heavy-
duty zipper opening, the storm flaps at the chest that are secured by metal snaps, the storm flap across the back of the garment and the epaulets that are secured by metal snaps.

Storm flaps are generally associated with raincoats or jackets, not shirts or blouses. While epaulets are sometimes found on shirts or blouses, they are not usually secured by heavy-duty snaps as in this garment. Again, the use of rather heavy-duty snaps tends to give the garment the character of a jacket similar to a windbreaker and not the character of a blouse or shirt. Based upon the features mentioned and the overall character of the garment as a result of the combination of those features this office agrees with the classification determination of the Customs officers at the port of Columbus.


The garment at issue is classifiable as a lightweight jacket similar to a windbreaker in subheading 6202.92.2060, HTSUSA, textile category 335, dutiable at 9.5 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director

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