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HQ 951629

August 21, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951629 jb


TARIFF NO.: 6110.30.3050

Gail T. Cumins, Esquire
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt, P.C. 67 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004

RE: Boy's finely knit cardigan; not a jacket, under heading 6101, HTSUSA; classification as sweater-like garment, heading 6110, HTSUSA

Dear Ms. Cumins:

This is in response to your letter, dated April 20, 1992, on behalf of your client, Baby Togs, Ltd., requesting the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of a boy's finely knit cardigan. A sample was provided and, as per your request, will be returned under separate cover.


The merchandise at issue, style 1234, is a boy's, 70 percent polyester, 30 percent cotton cardigan, constructed from finely knit French terry fabric, which exceeds nine stitches per two centimeters in the horizontal direction. The garment has a full front three button opening that fastens left over right. Other features include a deep V-neck, long sleeves, shoulder pads, and ribbing at the neck, front opening, sleeve cuffs and bottom. Style 1234 will be imported from the Philippines, in boys' sizes two to four and four to seven.


Whether the garment is classifiable as a sweater-like cardigan under heading 6110, HTSUSA, or as a jacket, under heading 6101, HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied in the order of their appearance.

You argue that the submitted article manifests predominant features which characterize it as a jacket, classifiable under heading 6101, HTSUSA. These features are as follows:

1. The fabric of the garment, "French terry" knit, is a specialized type of knit terry fabric, providing both warmth and wind resistance. In support of this claim you refer to HQ 088424 and HQ 088259;

2. The garment has applied cuffs and waistband;

3. The garment has large jacket/coat style buttons as its front closure

You add that, the fact that this garment is V-necked does not preclude classification as a jacket, as past Customs rulings have acknowledged that factor as being not determinative when the overall design and appearance of the garment is that of a jacket. You conclude that when all the factors which are present in this garment are taken together, it becomes "abundantly clear" that the subject garment is one that provides warmth and wind resistance similar in styling to light weight jackets and is commercially recognizable as such.

The features to which you refer, in support of the claim that the submitted article is a jacket, derive from the jacket features enumerated in the CIE Textile Category Guidelines (Guidelines). As per the Guidelines these features are: appropriate fabric weight, full or partial lining, lapels, back vents or pleats, pockets at or below the waist, specialized styling or tailoring and heavy duty zipper or toggle closure.

We do not agree with your argument that the submitted garment has three jacket features for the following reasons:

1. Nowhere within the parameters of the Guidelines is French terry fabric listed as a jacket feature. The cases you cite in support of the claim that it is the presence of the terry fabric which was a significant factor in determining that the garments in the cited rulings were jackets, is a partial reading of those cases. Though both HQ 088424, dated February 26, 1991, and HQ 088259, dated March 12, 1991, recognize the fact that the French terry fabric provides warmth and protection from the elements, those cases also stress that the garments share features generally found on many garments commercially recognized as jackets. Thus it is a combination of the styling and commercial perception of the garment, as well as the fabric, upon which those decisions are based.

2. Applied cuffs and waistband are not features exclusively found on jackets. Furthermore, cases such as HQ 088482, dated May 13, 1991, HQ 950045, dated December 3, 1991, and HQ 084972, dated October 12, 1989, show that features enumerated in the Guidelines as jacket features, have also been found on sweaters. Again, what proved to be decisive factors was the styling and commercial perception of the garment.

3. The buttons found on the front closure of the garment are not considered excessively large, typical of coat closures. The buttons measure 3/4-inch in diameter; they are typical sweater buttons.

It is evident that what has remained uniform throughout Customs' analysis, is the finding that certain factors, more than others have been determinative in the sweater versus jacket issue. In sum, these factors are:
a. the look of the garment
b. how the garment is worn
c. commercial perception of the garment in the retail trade and domestic marketplace

In memorandum file 082943, dated November 29, 1988, giving directions to our field offices, this office outlined and clarified the characteristics of a garment very similar to the disputed article. That memorandum laid the foundation for the classification of finely knit, sweater-like cardigans of heading 6110, HTSUSA. The garment was not a sweater, as the term is defined by Statistical Note 3, to chapter 61, because it was not constructed with nine or fewer stitches per centimeter measured in the horizontal direction. The issue was whether, because the garment did not meet the definition of a sweater, it was precluded from classification in heading 6110, HTSUSA, and was instead, more specifically provided for in heading 6102, HTSUSA.

The submitted sample, similar to the garment in 082943, is - not one of the garments enumerated in the jacket headings. The issue therefore, is whether it is a garment similar to a windbreaker (the named garment in 6101, HTSUSA, it comes closest to being), or a garment similar to a sweater in heading 6110, HTSUSA.

As was stated in 082943:

Classification of an article must begin at the four digit heading level, and, following the hierarchical system of classification embodied in the HTSUSA, the article must then be classified under the appropriate six and then eight digit subheadings, and finally under the proper statistical annotation. Once it is determined that a garment is classifiable under one four digit heading, it may not be classified under a different four digit heading because, for one reason or another, a subheading or a statistical annotation does not seem appropriate.

In this situation, while there is a statistical note which states what the statistical provisions for "sweaters" includes, that note does not (and at that level can not) control the definition of a sweater at the four digit heading level. Conceivably, a garment may be commonly and commercially known as a sweater and yet not fall within the requirements of the statistical note for inclusion under a sweater annotation.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, state that heading 6110, HTSUSA, "covers a category of knitted or crocheted articles, without distinction between male or female wear, designed to cover the upper parts of the body (jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats and similar articles)".

Cardigans are defined as follows:

1. A sweater or knitted jacket opening down the front. Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary, 1984, p.230. Also, the American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition, 1982, p.240.

2. A knitted woolen jacket or sweater, collarless and open in front. The Random House College Dictionary, 1973, p.203.

3. A sweater style, usually a 3-button coat sweater with either a V or round neck. There are also cardigan jackets made of a woolen or worsted fabric. The Modern Textile and Apparel Dictionary, 1973, p.79.

The definitions of a cardigan serve only to show that a cardigan may be a sweater, or may be a jacket. Cardigan refers to the styling of the garment; it is not dispositive as to its classification.

The EN applicable to heading 6101, HTSUSA, do not expound on the heading description, other than to explain that the garments are generally worn over other clothing for protection against the wearer.

In both the submitted garment and 082943, the sample garments are clearly cardigan sweaters or articles similar to cardigan sweaters. The knit construction and relatively lightweight fabric are indications that the garments would be worn over other garments for warmth only and not in the manner of a windbreaker. Considering the deep v-neck and lack of collar, the submitted garment is not similar to overcoats, carcoats, capes anoraks (including ski-jackets), windbreakers and similar articles.

In HRL 088482, dated May 13, 1991, Customs reaffirmed its memorandum, 082943. In HRL 088482 the submitted sample was a woman's, cotton, knit cardigan with a five button full front deep V-neckline opening. A placket extended completely around the front opening and neckline. Customs held that for the garment to be classifiable as a jacket, it must be one of the named garments, i.e.: overcoats, carcoats, capes, anoraks (including ski-jackets), windbreakers and similar articles, knitted or crocheted.

HRL 088482 specifically stated:

Considering...the deep V-neck opening, and the lack of a collar, it does not appear to be similar to any of the named garments. Accordingly, it is not classifiable as a coat or jacket.

However, the submitted sample is described by Heading 6110, HTSUSA, which provides for "sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted." The submitted sample resembles a sweater in both appearance and use. Since the subject garment is not described in two or more provisions and only consists of one material, the classification of the instant garment uner Heading 6110 is required by GRI 1.

Under Heading 6110, sweaters are provided for only at the statistical (10 digit) level. In this regard, Statistical Note 3, Chapter 61, Section XI, HTSUSA, defines sweaters as follows:

For the purpose of this chapter, statistical provisions for sweaters, include garments, whether or not known as pullovers, vests or cardigans, which are constructed essentially with 9 or fewer stitches per two centimeters measured in the horizontal direction.

The sample in all respects, except for stitch count, is a sweater. Since the sweaters are only provided for at the statistical (as opposed to the legal) level, Statistical Note 3 prevents the classification of the garment under an annotation for sweaters. As a result, the garment is classifiable under a basket provision for women's or girls' other knit cotton articles which are similar to sweaters, in subheading 6110.20.2075, HTSUSA.

The look of the garment and how it is worn determines Customs classification. Like the garments in both HRL 082943 and 088482, the submitted sample is worn and used as a sweater and has all of the characteristics of a sweater, except for the stitch count. It has a deep V-neck, a three button front opening, and it is knit. The garment is worn in the same manner as a sweater, i.e., over a shirt, indoors. Its appearance does not indicate use as a jacket, or windbreaker, to be worn outdoors on a day on which it is too cold and windy to wear a sweater. Though not determinative, among the factors to be considered is that the submitted garment does not have a neck covering to offer protection against the elements. Since the fabric lacks the appropriate stitch count, it is a sweater-like cardigan, classifiable under heading 6110, HTSUSA.

It is our opinion that for the following reasons the submitted sample is a sweater-like garment:

1. the appearance of the garment

2. the use of the garment

3. commercial perception of the garment in the retail trade and domestic marketplace


Style 1234 is classifiable in subheading 6110.30.3050, HTSUSA, as sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, of man-made fibers, other, other, other, other, other, men's or boys'.

The applicable rate of duty is 34.2 percent ad valorem and the textile category is 638.

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 your client 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 the local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the local restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your client should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

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