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HQ 952324

November 25, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952324 SK


TARIFF NO.: 6109.90.1090

Richard M. Wortman
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, N.Y. 10017

RE: Reconsideration of NYRL 874842 (6/23/92); camisole of raschel lace and woven 100% polyester charmeuse; essential character imparted by the lace; 6109.90.1090; GRI 3(b); Headquarters Memorandum 084118 (4/13/89); HRL 950007 (10/4/91).

Dear Mr. Wortman:

On June 23, 1992, our New York office issued your client, Jacalyn E.S. Bennett & Co., New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 874842, classifying women's undergarments. This office has been asked to review that ruling with regard to the classification of a camisole top, referenced Style 41361. A sample of the article at issue was submitted to this office and will be returned under separate cover.


Style 41361 is a women's 100 percent polyester underwear camisole top. The entire top portion of the V-neck garment, which extends to form a deep V center insert, is comprised of raschel knit lace fabric. The remainder of the garment is woven. The camisole features adjustable spaghetti straps and extends to the top of the waist and has a hemmed bottom.

New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 874842, dated June 23, 1992, classified the subject merchandise under subheading 6109.90.1090, HTSUSA, which provides for T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted: of other textile materials.


What is the proper classification of the subject merchandise?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Where the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the remaining headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied in order of their appearance.

There is no question that the subject merchandise is a women's undergarment. The determinative issue is whether the article is classifiable under heading 6109, HTSUSA, as a knitted undergarment, or under heading 6208, HTSUSA, as a woven undergarment.

As the camisole at issue has both knitted and woven components, our analysis is aided by applying a set of classification guidelines set forth in Headquarters Memorandum 084118, dated April 13, 1989. These guidelines state that, absent any unusual circumstances, the following criteria should be applied when classifying garments consisting of different fabrics:

"a. For upper or lower body garments, if one component exceeds 60 percent of the visible surface area, that component will determine the classification of the garment unless the other component:

(1) forms the entire front of the garment; or (2) provides a visual and significant decorative effect (e.g. a substantial amount of lace); or (3) is over 50 percent by weight of the garment; or (4) is valued at more than 10 times the primary component.

If no component comprises 60 percent of the visible surface area, or if any of the above four listed conditions are present, classification will be according to GRI 3(b) or 3(c), as appropriate."

In your submission, you assert that the actual visible woven portion of the camisole comprises 76 percent of the entire garment. It is our position that the woven portion comprises considerably less than this figure. For example, you state that the total square inches of lace used in the manufacture of this camisole is 112 inches. However, your submitted figures were added incorrectly; the total square inches of lace used is 122 inches (90 plus 32). Moreover, the figure you used for the front
panel area of charmeuse is too generous in that it includes woven portions of the front which are covered by lace. The lace covered area should not be considered as part of the woven component. Even if the charmeuse does comprise 60 percent of this garment's visible surface area, this component will not automatically determine the classification of the garment because one of the four enumerated criteria also applies to the garment at issue. The lace component of this camisole is so pervasive, and creates such a revealing and intimate look, that it is accurately deemed to "provide a visual and significant decorative effect." The lace portion of the camisole defines this garment and creates an undergarment of very different character from a totally woven camisole.

As classification may be based on either the woven or lace components, and neither heading 6109 nor 6208, HTSUSA, provides for the camisole in its entirety, GRI 3 provides the relevant analysis. GRI 3 reads:

(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 contained in mixed or composite goods, 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.

(b) ... composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components ... 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.

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.

It is this office's opinion that the lace component of the
article at issue imparts the essential character to the camisole. By providing a visual and significant decorative effect, the lace portion of the camisole defines this garment. Accordingly, classification of this garment is based on its knitted component and classification is proper under heading 6109, HTSUSA.

You cite HRL 950007, dated October 4, 1991, and interpret it as holding that lace portions of a garment are not integral components and therefore the lace component in the instant case is not an integral part of the camisole. We do not interpret HRL 950007 as creating any such broad, definitive rule about the role of lace in a garment and that case merely holds that the lace overlay used in the manufacture of that particular sweater was merely decorative and not intergral and therefore no essential character issue existed. We believe that the lace is an integral part of the camisole currently under review and the concept discussed in HRL 950007 does not provide an appropriate analogy. In the instant case, the lace is more than mere decoration and actually contributes to the formation of the camisole.

Lastly, you suggest that the camisole be examined as a set in its entirety. Section XI Note 13 states that garments put up in sets for retail sale are classified in their own headings. Viewing the set for classification purposes is therefore inappropriate.


NYRL 874842 is affirmed.

The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 6109.90.1090, HTSUSA, which provides for T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted: of other textile materials: of man-made fibers, women's or girls': other, dutiable at a rate of 34 percent ad valorem. The applicable textile category is 639.

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 renegotiations 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 internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available 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, your client should contact its local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

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