United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1994 HQ Rulings > HQ 0954346 - HQ 0954483 > HQ 0954461

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 954461

October 18, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 954461 SK


TARIFF NO.: 6104.32.0000

Tommy Lai
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
1150 18th St., N.W., ste. 475
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Classification of a women's cotton knit upper body garment; suit-type jacket of heading 6104, HTSUSA v. knit shirt of heading 6110, HTSUSA; Textile Category Guidelines, 13/88; suit-type jackets can be worn over outerwear or alone; HRL 953237 (2/2/93); Customs Memorandum 953757 (7/1/93).

Dear Mr. Lai:

This is in response to your letter, dated June 21, 1993, requesting a binding classification ruling for a women's upper body garment. A sample was submitted to this office for examination and will be returned to you under separate cover.


The article at issue is a women's knit upper body garment and is referenced style number SP-509. The garment is made from 100 percent cotton and its knit fabric has more than nine stitches per two centimeters measured in the horizontal direction. The garment has a full-front opening with a four button closure, round neckline, and long sleeves that are hemmed and finished with a decorative scalloped edging that is inserted onto the sleeve ends in the same manner as piping. Each sleeve also has a functional two-button vent at the cuff that has the same decorative edging as the sleeve endings. The sample has two pockets at the waist and two breast pockets, each of which has a one button closure and decorative scalloped edging at its opening. The garment has one back panel and two front panels. To ensure a more tailored fit, each front panel has a dart, and the back panel has two. The submitted sample is a size medium.

Style SP-509 was imported together with the same quantity of knit skirts that were made from the same knit fabric, but without the decorative edging on the hem.


Whether the garment at issue is classifiable as a suit-type jacket under heading 6104, HTSUSA, or as a shirt of heading 6110, HTSUSA?


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 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in order. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's.

The definition of "suit" for classification purposes within heading 6104 is set forth in Chapter 61, Note 3(a) which states:

"The term 'suit' means a set of garments composed of two or three pieces made up of identical fabric and comprising:

- one garment designed to cover the lower part of the body and consisting of trousers, breeches or shorts (other than swimwear), a skirt or a divided skirt, having neither braces nor bibs, and

- one suit coat or jacket the outer shell of which, exclusive of sleeves, consists of four or more panels, designed to cover the upper part of the body, possibly with a tailored waistcoat in addition.

All of the components of a suit must be of the same fabric construction, style, color and composition; they must also be of corresponding or compatible size."

Although the upper body garment at issue, referenced style SP-509, was imported with the same quantity of knit skirts made from identical knit fabric, these articles are not classifiable as suits because the two garments are not identical in style: the skirts do not possess the same decorative scalloped edging as do the tops, Moreover, no evidence was submitted that these articles are put up together for retail sale.

As the garment at issue is not part of a suit, our next inquiry is whether the subject merchandise is classifiable as a suit-type jacket of heading 6104, HTSUSA, or as a shirt of heading 6110, HTSUSA. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 6104, which represent the official interpretation of the HTS at the
international level, state in regard to suit-type jackets and blazers of heading 6104 that the notes of heading 6103 apply, mutatis mutandis, to the articles of heading 6104. EN (C) for heading 6103, provides in relevant part:

"The jackets or blazers of this heading have the same characteristics as the suit coats and suit jackets in paragraph (A) above, except that the outer shell (exclusive of sleeves, and facings or collar, if any) may consist of three or more panels (of which two are at the front sewn together lengthwise)... ."

The EN to heading 6103, paragraph (A), states:

"one suit coat or suit jacket the outer shell of which (exclusive of sleeves, and facings or collar, if any) consists of at least four panels (two in the front and two in the back) sewn together lengthwise, designed to cover the upper part of the body, with a full front opening without a closure or with a closure other than a slide fastener (zipper). It does not extend below the mid thigh area and is not for wear over another coat, jacket or blazer. A tailored waistcoat may also be included."

The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88, enumerates characteristics usually associated with suit-type jackets. The Guidelines, at page 4, state that suit-type jackets must:

(1) be tailored;

(2) have a full-frontal button or snap opening;

(3) have sleeves (of any length);

(4) be designed for wear over a lighter outer garment; and

(5) have three or more panels (excluding sleeves), of which two are at the front sewn together lengthwise."

Style SP-509 meets all of the criteria set forth in the Guidelines for suit-type coats. With regard to the fourth criterion, we note that Customs has previously held that a jacket may be worn over outerwear or be worn by itself. See Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRL's) 953237, dated February 2, 1993 and 088476, dated May 10, 1991. In the instant case, style SP-509 is of the type of garment that may be worn over other outerwear as well as by itself.

In addition to the fact that style SP-509 satisfies all the requirements for classification as a suit-type jacket, as set forth in the Guidelines, this garment also possesses other features which are indicative of its status as a suit-type jacket. Suit-type jackets and blazers often possess features that are commonly associated with jackets and coats. The Guidelines, at page 6, list the following features as characteristic of jackets:

(1) fabric weight equal to or exceeding 10 ounces per square yard;

(2) a full or partial lining;

(3) pockets at or below the waist;

(4) back vents or pleats. Also side vents in combination with back seams;

(5) Eisenhower styling;

(6) a belt or simulated belt or elasticized waist on hip length or longer shirt-jackets;

(7) large jacket/coat style buttons, toggles or snaps, a heavy-duty zipper;

(9) long sleeves without cuffs;

(10) elasticized or rib knit cuffs;

(11) drawstring, elastic or rib knit waistband.

The Guidelines further state that garments having features of both jackets and shirts will be classified as jackets if they possess at least three of the above listed features and if the result is not unreasonable. Style SP-509 possesses three jacket features: the garment has pockets at or below the waist; large jacket style buttons; long sleeves. Moreover, if this garment were to be deemed classifiable as a suit-type jacket of heading 6104, HTSUSA, based on the presence of these three features, it is not an unreasonable result. The overall appearance of the garment strongly resembles a lightweight version of a "Chanel"- style jacket (i.e., round neckline, full frontal opening with buttons, no collar, two breast pockets and two pockets at the waist). The presence of the three jacket features, together with the overall "Chanel"-like appearance and design of the garment, renders style SP-509 classifiable as a suit-type jacket under heading 6104, HTSUSA.


Style SP-509 is classifiable under subheading 6104.32.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for "women's or girls' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, dresses, skirts, divided skirts, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (other then swimwear), knitted or crocheted: suit-type jackets and blazers: of cotton...," dutiable at a rate of 16.9 percent ad valorem. The textile quota category is 335.

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
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: