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HQ 952215

December 16, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952215 SK


TARIFF NO.: 6110.30.3030

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
909 First Ave., Rm. 2039
Seattle, WA 98174

RE: Decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 3001-92-100580; classification of men's French terry vest; subheading 6110.30.3030; vests are designed and intended to be worn over other clothing, not alone over the skin; United States v.C.J. Tower & Sons of Buffalo, N.Y., 48 CCPA 87, C.A.D. 770 (1961); tariff terms are construed in accordance with their common and commercial meanings.

Dear Sir:

This is a decision on application for further review of a protest timely filed on behalf of Somerset Knitting Mills of Bridgewater, New Jersey, through their broker, Harper Robinson & Co., on June 22, 1992, against your decision regarding the classification of a man's knit terry upper body garment. A sample was submitted for our examination.


The garment at issue, referenced Style 725, is a men's sleeveless pullover garment which is constructed from 65 percent polyester, 35 percent cotton, finely knit, French terry fabric. The garment has a V-shaped neckline, slightly oversized armholes, a loose fitting body and a rib knit waistband. The neckline and armholes are finished with a rib knit edging. A logo, showing the figure of a golfer and the designation "PGA Tour", has been embroidered on the left chest.

The importer contests the Seattle district's classification of the subject merchandise as a men's sleeveless pullover shirt under subheading 6110.30.3050, HTSUSA. The importer asserts that the article at issue is a vest designed and marketed to be worn
in coordination with knit shirts and not for wear directly on the skin and therefore classification is proper under subheading 6110.30.3030, HTSUSA, which provides for men's or boys' knitted vests, other than sweater vests.


Whether the subject merchandise is properly classifiable as a men's sleeveless pullover or as a men's knitted vest?


Classification under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes.

A determination of how the garment at issue will be worn is essential in determining whether it is a pullover or a vest. Although there is no specific definition of vests in either the Explanatory Notes or the Textile Category Guidelines (CIE 13/88), Customs has consistently classified as vests only those garments which are designed to be worn over another outer garment. Shirts, however, are described in the Textile Category Guidelines, at page 15, as garments which are "worn over underwear or the skin... ." An examination of the garment's fabric, styling, construction, sizing and the manner in which it is marketed will aid in determining whether it is designed to be worn next to the skin, or over other clothing.

The fabric used in the construction of the subject merchandise is a fine gauge, French terry material suitable for use as either a vest or pullover. The garment is designed with a V-neck, slightly oversized armholes and a very generous cut; these characteristics suggest that the garment is designed to be worn over other clothing. Moreover, the presence of a golfing logo on the garment's left breast ("PGA Tour") indicates that this article is designed to be a casual sportswear vest worn over other outerwear such as knit golfing shirts. While it is conceivable that some teens and young adults may wear an article such as this over their bare skin, it is highly unlikely that this would be acceptable dress on a golf course. It appears that the target market for this article is the golfer, who would wear this vest over another shirt where additional warmth was desired and where the sleeveless vest would not inhibit movement of the arms when swinging.

In United States v. C.J. Tower & Sons of Buffalo, N.Y., 48 CCPA 87, C.A.D. 770 (1961), the court held that "tariff terms are
to be construed in accordance with their common and commercial meanings." The article at issue will normally be worn over other outer clothing and falls within the class of merchandise which is commonly and commercially recognized in the United States as a vest.

Lastly, we note that this office has previously classified similarly styled garments, made from finely knit fabric, with V- necks, as men's pullover vests designed to be worn over another outer garment. See Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRL's) 079508, dated June 17, 1987, 083610, dated May 25, 1989, 084282, dated August 9, 1989, and 085288, dated September 27, 1989.


The article at issue is classifiable under subheading 6110.30.3030, HTSUSA, which provides for men's or boys' knitted vests, other than sweater vests, of man made fibers, with duty assignable at a rate of 34.2 percent ad valorem. The quota category is 659.

As the proper textile quota category for the subject merchandise is different from that assigned at entry, you are instructed to grant the protest in full. A copy of this decision should be furnished to the protestant with the Form 19 notice of action.


John Durant, Director

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