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HQ 951824

June 4, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951824 SK


TARIFF NO.: 6212.10.2010

Lynne W. Wendt
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.
127 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-1800

RE: Classification of knit sports bras; bra made of three different fabrics of same construction; when garments are made from two or more different fabrics of same construction, an essential character test determines classification; 6212, HTSUSA; HRL 084707 (9/6/89); HRL 087672 (11/21/90); Headquarters Memo 084118 (4/13/89)

Dear Ms. Wendt:

This is in reply to your letter of May 1, 1992, on behalf of your client, JBI, Inc., requesting a ruling on the tariff classification and textile category designation of a sports bra.


The article at issue is a brassiere constructed from three different knit fabrics and is designated as Style #09. The two- ply cups are made of 100% knit cotton fabric cut and sewn in three panels with baseball style seams. 100% knit polyester mesh is used between the cups and on the upper portion of the cups. The sides and back are all knit and are comprised of 42% nylon, 33% cotton and 25% spandex. The garment also features adjustable shoulder straps and a double, adjustable metal hook and eye rear closure.


Whether classification of a sports bra is determined based upon the component which comprises the article's chief weight or based upon the component which imparts the essential character to the garment?


This office has previously issued a response with regard to the issue of when to apply a chief weight or an essential character analysis in determining the classification of an article comprised of two or more materials or substances. See Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRL) 084707, dated September 6, 1989, and 087672, dated November 21, 1990, and also Headquarters Memorandum 084118, dated April 13, 1989. The rulings and memorandum interpret General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3 as reading that a garment made from two or more different fabrics of the same or similar construction will present an essential character question. It is only where a fabric is comprised of blended fibers that a chief weight analysis is applied.

As the article at issue is comprised of several different types of material of the same construction (i.e., knit cotton, polyester and blends), and it is, prima facie, classifiable under two or more subheadings, classification is effected by GRI 3: (a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

The subheadings for cotton and man-made fiber brassieres under heading 6212, HTSUSA, are equally specific with regard to the subject merchandise. Therefore the relevant analysis is provided by GRI 3(b):

(b) ... composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) states:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a
constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

While there is no doubt that the knit mesh and multi-fiber components of this garment are important in that they serve to hold the bra's cups securely in place when worn, it is the 100% cotton cups which serve the primary function in relation to the use of this garment. The cups support a women's bust during vigorous activity and this is the intended function of a sports bra. Accordingly, it is the cotton cups which impart the essential character to this garment and classification is proper under the provision for cotton brassieres under heading 6212, HTSUSA.


The sports bra at issue is classifiable under subheading 6212.10.2010, HTSUSA, which provides for, in pertinent part, brassieres whether or not knitted or crocheted: other ... of cotton, dutiable at a rate of 18% ad valorem. The applicable textile category is 349.

The designated textile and apparel categories 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 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

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