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 0955106 - HQ 0955231 > HQ 0955133

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 955133

November 17, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955133 CMR


TARIFF NO: 6205.20.2065

District Director
U.S. Customs Service
300 South Ferry Street
Terminal Island, Rm 2017
San Pedro, CA. 90731

RE: Classification of certain men's garments; shirt v. jacket; 6201, HTSUSA v. 6205, HTSUSA; Protest 2704-93-102792

Dear Mr. Heinrich:

This ruling is in response to a protest filed against your exclusion of two entries of men's garments from Bangladesh. You believe the garments are properly classified as men's shirts of heading 6205, HTSUSA, requiring textile visas for category 340; the protestant believes the garments are properly classified as men's jackets of heading 6201, HTSUSA, requiring textile visas for category 334.


A sample garment was received with the protest packet. The sample is a men's cotton flannel upper body garment which reaches to about the hip area in length. The garment has an outer shell of cotton flannel fabric, long sleeves with sleeve vents and buttoned cuffs, a shirt collar, a breast patch pocket with a buttoned flap, a full front opening with a placket and button closure (typical shirt buttons), a tapered shirt silhouette, side vents at the bottom of the garment, side-seam pockets at the waist and a quilted nylon lining.

Since the garments at issue contain features generally associated with both shirts and some features associated with jackets, i.e., it is a hybrid garment, the Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88, [hereinafter, Textile Guidelines] were utilized in determining the correct classification of the garments.


Were the garments at issue properly classified as shirts of heading 6205, HTSUSA, or are they more properly classified as claimed by protestant as jackets of heading 6201, HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRIs taken in order]."

The garments at issue, represented by the submitted sample, are considered hybrid-type garments because they contain features generally associated with both shirts and jackets. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, the official interpretation of the nomenclature at the international level, offer little assistance in classification of garments such as those at issue.

The explanatory notes which are applicable to garments of heading 6201, HTSUSA, indicate that garments of the heading are generally worn over all other clothing for protection against the weather. The explanatory notes for heading 6205, HTSUSA, indicate that "with the exception of nightshirts, singlets and other vests of heading 6207, [the] heading covers shirts not knitted or crocheted for men or boys including shirts with detachable collars, dress shirts, sports shirts and leisure shirts."

The Textile Guidelines were developed and revised in accord with the HTSUSA in order "to insure uniformity, to facilitate statistical classification, and to assist in the determination of the appropriate textile categories established for the administration of the Arrangement Regarding International Trade in Textiles" [emphasis added]. Shirt-jackets are discussed in the Textile Guidelines. Various features generally considered jacket features are listed. If a garment possesses at least three of the listed features and if the result is not unreasonable, then the garment is generally classifiable as a jacket. It is important to recognize that the Textile Guidelines are merely guidelines that are sometimes used as an aid in difficult classification determinations.

Protestant's counsel cites three Customs rulings on similar garments in which Customs ruled the garments were classifiable as jackets of heading 6201, HTSUSA. In each case, the garments possessed three of the listed features found in the Textile -3-

Guidelines: a full or partial lining, pockets at or below the waist, and side vents in combination with back seams. The garments at issue have a full lining, pockets at or below the waist and side vents.

Customs has issued other rulings on similar merchandise in which the garments were ruled to be classifiable as shirts of heading 6205, HTSUSA. See, HRL 953464 of April 22, 1993; HRL 081675 of June 29, 1988; HRL 082339 of August 5, 1988; HRL 083888 of June 21, 1989; NYRL 836870 of February 24, 1989; NYRL 832047 of October 4, 1988; HRL 080966 of January 11, 1988; and NYRL 836648 of February 17, 1989. In each of these rulings, the garments possessed less than three jacket features from the list in the Textile Guidelines.

Classification of garments must be based on the individual garment at issue. It is true that Customs has classified garments which possessed fewer than three of the listed features as jackets when the garments possessed other features which clearly indicated their use as jackets and not shirts. The Textile Guidelines are turned to only as a guide to assist in determining classification when resort to the tariff and the Explanatory Notes and other usual means of assessing a garment's commercial identity have failed. The garment at issue is a truly difficult classification matter and that is why the Textile Guidelines were used.

The protestant's counsel did not submit any marketing or advertising material for the subject garments. The Customs National Import Specialist who deals with the merchandise did include advertising for similar garments in his report. The garments are described in the advertisements as "quilt-lined flannel shirt-jacket" (WearGuard catalogue), "Cabela's Ranger Flannel--uninsulated and insulated" (Cabela catalogue), and "Stir- Ups quilt-lined flannel shirt" (J.C. Penney Fall and Winter 1993 catalogue). The copy for the Cabela shirts reads:

Cabela's Ranger Shirts provide the relaxed comfort that only a good extra-heavyweight flannel shirt can. Warm yet rugged, these full cut, traditionally-styled shirts .... Insulated model has warm fiberfill insulation quilted to a nylon lining for that extra warmth needed in cool Fall weather. * * *

The submitted sample has the appearance of a flannel shirt. The quilted lining and the pockets below the waist are features generally associated with jackets and not shirts. However, side vents may be found on both jackets and shirts. Therefore, we do not consider the side vents alone to be a jacket feature and the garment thus only possesses two features generally associated with jackets from the Textile Guidelines. -4-

Counsel for the importer has argued that the garment at issue possesses additional features which should lead to classification of the garment as a jacket. These features are: the absence of shirttails; the length and bulk of the garment below the waist; the full cut and loose fit of the garment; and the full cut and large opening of the armholes.

Some shirts have shirttails and some shirts do not; thus, the absence of shirttails is not persuasive as to classification. As to the length and bulk of the garment, Customs has issued numerous rulings of substantially similar garments classifying the garments as shirts. The length of the garment is not, in our view, excessive for a shirt, and the additional bulk due to the quilting is not so extreme as to clearly change the character of the garment. The National Import Specialist informs us that the armholes are not oversized and as to the full cut of the garment, it is typical of this type of item.

Utilizing the Textile Guidelines, taking into consideration the advertising material on similar garments submitted by the National Import Specialist and viewing the garment itself, this office believes that classification of the garment at issue as a shirt and not a jacket was a proper determination. In light of the numerous rulings on similar garments classified as shirts, such a result is not unreasonable.


The protest should be denied in full. A copy of this decision should be attached to the Form 19 which is sent to the protestant.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Lexis, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: