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HQ 954127

August 26, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 954127 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6104.32.0000

Ms. Kimberly Kotchka
The Leslie Fay Companies, Inc.
1400 Broadway
New York, NY 10018

RE: Reconsideration of NYRL 882834, dated March 11, 1993; Classification of women's upper body garments; suit-type jacket v. shirt; Heading 6104; Heading 6106

Dear Ms. Kotchka:

This ruling is in response to your inquiry dated May 4, 1993, requesting reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 882834, dated March 11, 1993. NYRL 882834 classified two women's upper body garments under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Samples were submitted for examination.


The garments at issue are referred to as Styles 3349 and 3346. Both garments are made of 95 percent cotton and 5 percent spandex fibers; are constructed from three knit panels, two in the front, and sewn together lengthwise. Style 3349 has a full- frontal doubled-breasted opening with a six button means of closure, a notched lapel collar, long sleeves, and inside shoulder pads attached to the garment with a slip stitch. Style 3346 contains a V-neck, long sleeves, a full-frontal opening with a six button means of closure, and shoulders pads attached with a slip stitch. Style 3346 also features two darts in the front and rear, and a pointed V-shape opening at the bottom front similar to that found on vests.

NYRL 882834 ruled that the subject garments were women's suit-type jackets. The garments were classified in subheading 6104.32.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for women's cotton knit suit-type jackets. The importer asserts that Styles 3349 and 3346 are garments that are designed, constructed, and intended to be used as knit shirts.

Whether the subject garments were properly classified in NYRL 882834 as suit-type jackets under Heading 6104, HTSUSA, or whether the garments should be classified under Heading 6106, HTSUSA, as knit shirts?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's, taken in order.

Heading 6106, HTSUSA, provides for women's or girls' knitted or crocheted blouses and shirts. The General EN to Chapter 61 state that shirts and shirt-blouses are garments designed to cover the upper body, having long or short sleeves and a full or partial opening starting at the neckline. They may also have pockets, but only above the waist, and a collar. The EN to Heading 6106, HTSUSA, are rather general and do not offer much guidance in classifying the garments at issue.

Heading 6104, HTSUSA, provides for, among other articles, women's knitted or crocheted suits, suit-type jackets, and blazers. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN), although not legally binding, are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The EN to Heading 6104, HTSUSA, which incorporate the EN for heading 6103, HTSUSA, generally state 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 the 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 over another coat, jacket, or blazer.

The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88, provide guidance regarding characteristics normally associated with shirts or blouses versus those normally associated with jackets. Additionally, the Guidelines provide guidance concerning suit- type coats or jackets. It is important to note, that the Guidelines are not the sole determining factor for tariff classification, and are only consulted as an additional source when the identity of apparel is not otherwise clearly established. The Guidelines are not exhaustive, therefore, other factors, including commercial reality, are taken into consideration when a particular situation requires it.

The Guidelines list various attributes generally associated with suit-type jackets or coats. Among the features listed are: (1) tailored; (2) full frontal button or snap opening; (3) sleeves (of any length); (4) lapels; (5) and three or more panels, sewn together lengthwise. The Guidelines indicate that garments having features of both jackets and shirts will be categorized as coats if they possess at least three of the listed features. Garments not possessing at least three of the listed features will be considered on an individual basis.

In recent years there has been a flux of activity concerning suit-type jackets. Traditionally, the type of garments classified as a suit-type jacket under Heading 6104, HTSUSA, were conservative, generally man-tailored articles. However, the contemporary approach to the manufacturing of suit-type jackets has been to vary the styles, colors, fabrics, and construction. Because these less traditional garments are constructed for wear with identical lower body garments and they retain the basic structure of a suit-type jacket, they are still classifiable under the appropriate suit-type jacket heading.

Styles 3349 and 3346 represent the current, less conservative suit-type jacket manufactured for today's modern woman. Both garments are constructed of a heavy cotton fabric, feature decorative, oversized buttons, have a tailored design with a full frontal opening and a button means of closure, and they are both designed from three knit panels, of which two are in the front, and sewn together lengthwise.

In your submission, you contend that the instant garments are not classifiable as a suit-type jacket due to the fact that the garments are unlined, contain exposed shoulder pads, lack pockets below the waist, are constructed of lighter weight fabric, and lack reinforced buttons. Despite these factors, the garments in question still retain the appearance of suit-type jackets. They are also meet at least three of the enumerated features for suit-type jackets expressed in the Guidelines. Consequently, the garments in question are classifiable under Heading 6104, HTSUSA, as suit-type jackets.


Styles 3349 and 3346 were properly classified in NYRL 882834. Based on the foregoing, Styles 3349 and 3346 are classifiable under subheading 6104.32.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for women's cotton knit suit-type jackets. The applicable rate of duty is 16.9 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 335.

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 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 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 applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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