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 0955016 - HQ 0955095 > HQ 0955084

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 955084

March 23, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955084 jb


TARIFF NO.: 6110.10.2080

Mr. Ba-Sang Yeung
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
British Embassy
1150 18th Street, N.W., Suite 475
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Classification of ladies' 100 percent wool knit garment; cannot be worn as a coat for protection against elements; elasticity of sweater-like garments; subheading 6110.10.2080, HTSUSA.

Dear Mr. Yeung:

This is in regard to your letter, dated September 27, 1993, on behalf of W.A.I.T., Inc., requesting classification of a ladies' 100 percent wool knit garment. A sample was sent to this office for examination and will be returned under separate cover.


The sample, referred to as style number 326L9, is a women's size medium knit, 100 percent lambswool, long garment that extends from the neck and shoulders to well below the knees. The fabric of the garment has more than nine stitches per two centimeters measured in the horizontal direction and features long sleeves with rib knit cuffs, a two inch rib knit bottom, a deep v-neckline and a full-front opening that closes with twelve fabric covered buttons.

In pre-entry classification (PeC) 885504, dated May 12, 1993, this garment was given an "other knitted garment" classification in subheading 6114.10.0070, HTSUSA, with quota category 459. You disagree with the classification and claim that the proper classification of the garment is in heading 6102, HTSUSA, under the provision for coats, with a quota category of 435.


What is the proper classification of the submitted merchandise?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 requires that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied, in the order of their appearance.

Chapter 6102, HTSUSA, provides for, among other things, women's or girls' coats. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN), state that the provisions of the EN to heading 6101, HTSUSA, apply mutatis mutandis, to the articles of this heading. The EN to chapter 6101, HTSUSA, state:

This heading covers a category of knitted or crocheted garments... characterised by the fact that they are generally worn over all other clothing for protection against the weather.

Coat is defined as:

- outer garment worn for warmth, made of fabric or fur, usually fitting upper part of body, extending below hipline, open at front or side, having sleeves. The Fashion Dictionary, Mary Brooks Picken, 70 (1973)

- hip-length to full-length outerwear with sleeves, designed to be worn over other clothing. Essential Terms of Fashion, Charlotte Mankey Calasibetta, 33 (1986)

The Textile Category Guidelines, CIE 13/88, November 23, 1988, also state:

Three-quarter length or longer garments commonly knows as coats...fall within this category. A coat is an outerwear garment which covers either the upper part of the body or both the upper and lower parts of the body. It is normally worn over another garment, the presence of which is sufficient for the wearer to be considered modestly and conventionally dressed for appearance in public, either indoors or outdoors or both...Coats have sleeves of any length.

Heading 6110, HTSUSA, provides for sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted. The EN to this heading state that the heading covers a category of knitted or crocheted articles, designed to cover the upper parts of the body (jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats and similar articles). The Guidelines state that sweaters extend "from the neck or shoulders to the waist or below (as far as the mid-thigh)." When applying the Guidelines to a given situation, they are used as a guide and not a determining factor. In HQ 088092, dated October 25, 1990, it was noted that the "guidelines are just that, guides to ascertaining the common or commercial designation of a textile article. CIE [13/88] is not an immutable document. It must be applied in a reasonably prudent manner in order for the results obtained from its application to be meaningful."

It is our opinion that the instant garment is not a "coat" as intended by the terms of heading 6102, HTSUSA. Though the garment is made of 100 percent wool, providing warmth to the wearer, the thinness of the fabric is such that it does not provide protection against the elements, i.e., rain or wind. Customs has ruled on several occasions that sweater-like garments are not classifiable as coats because they provide inadequate protection from the elements (see, HQ 954827, dated December 8, 1993; HQ 953411, dated April 22, 1993 and HQ 952086, dated August 12, 1992).

Statistical Note 3 to chapter 61, HTSUSA, states that statistical provisions for sweaters include garments which are constructed essentially with 9 or fewer stitches per two centimeters measured in the horizontal direction. The submitted garment is not a sweater because it does not have the requisite fewer than nine stitches per two centimeters measured in the horizontal direction stitch count. Nevertheless, the garment is not precluded from classification in heading 6110, HTSUSA, because it does have features of a sweater-like garment. The garment provides warmth to the wearer and is constructed of knit fabric that provides a high degree of elasticity. As was stated in HQ 088092, though the Guidelines outline a "mid-thigh length rule" for sweaters, it is Customs opinion that this rule can lead to an erroneous classification determination if the character of the garment is not also given consideration. Additionally, although the EN to heading 6110, HTSUSA, state that the heading covers knitted or crocheted articles designed to cover the upper parts of the body and this garment extends well beyond the knee, we believe it is a similar garment of heading 6110, HTSUSA. Were this garment to extend only to the knee, it would unquestionably be classifiable as a sweater (though not a sweater at the statistical level). Therefore, garments, such as the one in this case, can exceed the mid-thigh length criteria and, due to fabric, construction, styling, and use, be considered sweaters or sweater-like garments. Accordingly, the garment is classified as a garment similar to a sweater, in heading 6110, HTSUSA.


The submitted merchandise, style number 326L9, is classified in subheading 6110.10.2080, HTSUSA, which provides for sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles knitted or crocheted, of wool or fine animal hair, other, other, women's or girls'. The applicable rate of duty is 17 percent ad valorem and the textile quota category is 438.

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 negotiations and changes, we suggest that the importer check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service which is updated weekly and is available at the local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) categories, the importer should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: