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HQ 951821

September 28, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951821 CMR


TARIFF NO: 6104.31.0000

Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Astor Plaza
1515 Broadway
43rd Floor
New York, New York 10036

RE: Reconsideration of NYRL 872924 of April 30, 1992; suit-type jacket (6104, HTSUSA) v. similar to a sweater (6110, HTSUSA)

Dear Sir:

This ruling is in response to your submission of May 11, 1992, on behalf of Hook Sportswear, requesting reconsideration of NYRL 872924. In that ruling, Customs classified a women's upper body garment, style 3E66639/FA701, as a suit-type jacket of heading 6104, HTSUSA. A sample garment was received with your submission.


The submitted sample, style 3E66639/FA701, is a 100 percent wool knit garment designed to cover the upper body. The wool knit fabric from which the garment is made measures more than nine stitches per two centimeters in the horizontal direction. During the manufacturing process, the wool fabric is washed giving the finished garment a "washed" or "shrunk" appearance.

The garment has a three panel construction--two in the front, one in the back, sewn together lengthwise. It extends from the neck and shoulders to slightly below the waist and has a short, boxy look reminiscent of a Chanel-type jacket. The garment features a full-front opening secured by four metal buttons, two patch pockets on the chest area (each secured by one metal button), a collarless round neckline, stitched in shoulder pads, long sleeves, and knit capping around the neckline, along the placket and along the bottom of the garment as well as over each pocket and at the sleeve cuffs.

The garment will be imported from Hong Kong either through the New York Seaport or JFK International Airport.


Was the subject garment, style 3E66639/FA701, properly classified in NYRL 872924 as a suit-type jacket of heading 6104, HTSUSA, or should it be classified as claimed as a garment similar to a sweater in heading 6110, 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]."

The Explanatory Notes for the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, the official interpretation of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule at the international level, do not offer much assistance in classifying the garment at issue. The Explanatory Notes for headings 6104, HTSUSA, and 6110, HTSUSA, are rather general and, it could be argued that the garment at issue fits within the descriptions provided for both headings.

Heading 6104, HTSUSA, provides for, among other things, women's knitted or crocheted suits, suit-type jackets, and blazers. The Explanatory Notes for heading 6104, HTSUSA, which incorporate the Explanatory Notes for heading 6103, basically provide that jackets and blazers may be constructed of three or more panels (of which two are at the front), sewn together lengthwise. With the exception of allowing jackets and blazers to be constructed of three panels, the garments have the same characteristics of suit jackets, i.e., they are designed to cover the upper body, have a full front opening with or without a closure (other than a zipper), do not extend beyond the mid- thigh area and are not for wear other another coat, jacket or blazer.

Heading 6110, HTSUSA, provides for knitted or crocheted sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles. The Explanatory Notes for heading 6110, HTSUSA, provide that the heading covers knitted or crocheted articles, for men and women, which are designed to cover the upper parts of the body (jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats and similar articles.

Since the explanatory notes for the headings at issue fail to clarify the proper classification of the submitted garment, consideration of the guidance provided in the Textile Category Guidelines, CIE 13/88, is appropriate. However, as with the explanatory notes, we find little assistance in the Guidelines. In the discussion of garments which fall within the category designation for women's and girls' other coats, it is indicated that "tailored" cardigans fall within this category designation. "Tailored" is defined in the forward to the Guidelines as "shaping of a fabric into a garment so as to neatly fit the contours of the body by means of cutting, seaming and finishing." In your submission, you have referred to this definition of tailoring and argued the submitted garment fails to fall within this definition as it has some elasticity, like a sweater, and lacks such features as darts. We submit this is but one definition of tailoring and to limit consideration of "tailored" garments to garments which fit the contours of the body would eliminate many garments which are highly tailored, but for reasons of fashion, may not be close-fitting.

The garment at issue is described in the "FACT" portion of this ruling as a Chanel-type jacket. In Mary Brooks Picken's The Fashion Dictionary, at 204, "Chanel jacket" is defined as "a box style jacket with long sleeves, no collar and front opening. Usually wool with braided trim on edges and cuffs." The garment at issue appears to fall within this description. While it does not have a braided trim, the knit capping trim gives a similar effect.

The National Import Specialist for this merchandise in his report to this office cited a discussion in George E. Linton's The Modern Textile and Apparel Dictionary, (4th revised ed.), at 567, regarding the concept of a tailored garment. Tailoring can be viewed in two ways--tailored styling and tailored workmanship. It is the view of the National Import Specialist, and this office concurs, that the garment at issue possesses both styling and workmanship, "in that it is professionally sewn and finished, and . . . has the basic fashion lines of a woman's box-type jacket (Chanel styling)."

You have argued that the garment at issue is "virtually indistinguishable" from a garment which was the subject of Pollak Import Export Corp., v. United States, 16 CIT , Slip Op. 92- 12 (February 14, 1992). The garment in that case was described by the court as a waist-length women's jacket, commonly known as a boiled wool jacket. Customs believes the garment at issue is
similar to that ruled upon by the court on Pollak, but we disagree that it is virtually indistinguishable. The submitted garment is waist-length and, although not made of boiled wool fabric, is constructed of washed or shrunk wool which is somewhat similar to boiled wool.

The issue in Pollak was different in terms of the competing tariff provisions, i.e., the classification dispute involved the previous tariff, the Tariff Schedules of the United States, and the competing provisions were, in simple terms, coats versus other. The court determined that the garment at issue therein was not a coat, however, throughout the court's opinion, it referred to the disputed garment as a jacket. In relevant part, the court stated:

From the general physical characteristics of the jacket, the expectation of the ultimate purchasers, the channels of trade in which the jacket moves, the manner in which the jacket is displayed, and the use of the jacket, the court finds that the imported jacket is chiefly used as a (sic) indoor coordinate jacket, the ipso facto, is not a coat.

Hence, your argument that the garment at issue is virtually indistinguishable from the garment in Pollak works to support the classification decision in NYRL 872924 of April 30, 1992, that the garment is a suit-type jacket.

Based upon the styling of the garment, the fabric from which it is made and its similarity to the garment at issue in the Pollak case, the decision in NYRL 872924 is viewed as correct.


NYRL 872924 of April 30, 1992, properly classified style 3E66639/FA701 as a wool suit-type jacket in subheading 6104.31.0000, HTSUSA, textile category 435, dutiable at 68.3 cents/kg plus 20 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 you 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 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 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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