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 0955614 - HQ 0955729 > HQ 0955633

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

HQ 955633

May 3, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955633 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 6108.32.0010

Ms. Susan Kearney
Customs Coordinator
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
International Merchandising Division
702 S.W. 8th Street
Bentonville, Arkansas 72716

RE: Classification of women's loungewear vs. sleepwear; Heading 6108; Textile Guidelines; garment is the controlling factor in classification

Dear Ms. Kearney:

This is in response to your letter of December 29, 1993, in which you requested that we review the classification of a women's garment that was subject to a redelivery notice. A sample of this garment was submitted for our examination and will be returned to you with this ruling.


The garment at issue, style SIKK-5LB, is a women's pullover garment constructed from knitted fabric with a fiber content of 85% polyester and 15% cotton fleece. It is loose-fitting and extends to approximately the wearer's calf. The garment features a rib knit neckline, long sleeves with small rib knit cuffs and a hemmed bottom that is rounded on each side. The garment has on seam pockets at both side seams. In addition, an applique of a sleeping bear is located on the upper chest portion.

According to your letter, this garment was imported under textile category code 650. On July 23, 1993, the shipment cleared Customs. However, on September 29, 1993, a redelivery notice was issued stating that the merchandise was "determined to be sleepwear, requiring a 651 visa."

It is your position that the garment at issue is a robe which is to be worn as loungewear in the evening. Therefore, you are requesting classification of the garment as a robe in subheading 6108.92.0030, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for "[w]omen's or girls slips,...nightdresses, pajamas, negligees, bathrobes,
dressing gowns and similar articles, knitted or crocheted: [o]ther: [o]f man-made fibers: [o]ther: [w]omen's." In support of your position you supplied the following information:

1) A sketch of the store plan which directs the store on where to display the subject garment. The sketch shows the loungers and robes at the left of the store section, while the pajamas and sleepwear are at the right of the store section. This garment is displayed with the loungers and robes.

2) A copy of a print advertisement depicts a woman, sitting on a bed with an open book, who is wearing a red garment that has a large applique depicting a bear wearing a scarf and ear muffs. The copy reads: "Ladies Fleece Lounger, choose from assorted bright colors and appliques. Cute novelty designs. 100% polyester. S-L." You state that this picture is opposite pictures advertising a Ladies' Fleece Robe and a Ladies' Brush Gown. In addition, on the opposite page there is a picture of a young woman wearing a cotton flannel dorm shirt and a picture of ladies' flannel gowns or pajamas.

3) A copy of the store sign which was placed above this merchandise. This sign depicts a lady drinking orange juice wearing a pink garment with a large applique of a sleeping lamb and a plaid print block. In the inset are two women: one is wearing the instant garment, except it is purple, and the other woman is wearing a button front garment. In this inset, one women is holding a coffee cup and both women appear to be talking in a kitchen setting. The print states "Fleece Loungers".

4) A copy of a listing used by the buyers which shows the separation of the various garments into categories. The buyer's listing of the various Department 29 Sleepwear Finelines shows the item in question described under the section labeled as 29-05- Loungewear. In contrast, pajamas are listed under 29-04-P.J.s.


Is style SIKK-5LB classified as a robe in subheading 6108.92.0030, HTSUS, or as a nightgown in subheading 6108.32.0010, HTSUS?


The classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely
on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied, taken in order.

Heading 6108, HTSUS, provides for, inter alia, women's nightdresses, pajamas, bathrobes, dressing gowns and similar articles. The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, (Guidelines), CIE 13/88, November 23, 1988, on page 24, describe "nightwear" as meaning sleepwear, including "various articles worn for sleeping, such as nightgowns, night-shirts, 'waltz gowns,' etc." Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary (1984) clarifies this description by defining "nightshirts" as "a long shirt worn in bed."

Furthermore, The Guidelines state, at page 23, that the physical characteristics expected in dressing gowns, including bathrobes, beach robes, lounging robes and similar articles, are the following:

1. Looseness.
2. Length, reaching to the mid-thigh or below. 3. Usually a full or partial front opening, with or without means of closure.
4. Sleeves are usually, but not necessarily, present.

When determining the classification of a garment, the most persuasive evidence is the garment itself. See, HRL 088904, dated February 19, 1992, and HRL 087843, dated December 19, 1990, where it was held that the appearance of the garment itself was determinative of classification. The court in Mast Industries v. United States, 9 CIT 549, 552 (1985), aff'd, 786 F. 2d 1144 (1986), noted that the "merchandise itself maybe strong evidence of use." Additionally, in Mast, supra, at 552, the court stated that the definition of "nightwear" was garments to be worn to bed. The court held that the particular garment at issue therein was classifiable as nightwear since it was designed, manufactured, marketed and used as nightwear.

Based on our examination of the subject garment, we do not believe that it is classifiable as a bathrobe, a dressing gown or similar apparel. First, this garment does not have a full or partial front opening. Furthermore, the garment's knit fabric construction does not make it too warm for use as sleepwear. Though its weight is more suited for wear during the colder fall and winter months, this does not negate its use as sleepwear. If this were so, all flannel sleepwear garments would not be considered sleepwear. Moreover, features such as loose fit, a large neckline and absence of any fasteners render this garment particularly well-suited for wear when sleeping. In addition, the fact that the garment has pockets and long sleeves does not preclude it from classification as sleepwear. Furthermore, we find that the submitted advertisements are not dispositive of classification of this garment as a robe. For example, in the print advertisement, while we note that the woman is sitting rather than lying down on the bed, this nevertheless suggests use of the garment in a sleepwear setting. While you state that this picture is opposite pictures advertising a fleece robe and a brushed gown, it is also opposite pictures depicting pajamas and night shirts. In fact, the closest garment to the subject garment is the brushed gown, not the fleece lounger. It could also be argued that this garment is advertised next to or alongside nightgowns or night-shirts. We also note that children's clothing are advertised on the same page on which this garment is pictured. The store sign states that these items are fleece loungers and the women wearing the garments are not depicted in a traditional sleepwear setting. Clearly, the consumer is getting a conflicting message from the advertisement and the store sign and they do not clearly demonstrate that the subject garment is clearly loungewear.

You also submitted a sketch of the store plan which depicts where the garment will be displayed and the buyer's listing showing the item at issue described under the section for loungewear. This evidence is also not dispositive of classification. Customs has been consistent in holding that location of sale of an article is not indicative of classification. Internal documents and descriptions on invoices may be self-serving and should only be considered in totality with other evidentiary information. See, e.g, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 953001, dated January 21, 1993, HRL 950503, dated June 19, 1992, HRL 088904 dated February 19, 1992, HRL 087675, dated February 4, 1991,. HRL 087483, dated December 12, 1990, HRL 087772, dated November 27, 1990, HRL 087478, dated November 9, 1990, HRL 085672, dated October 29, 1989, and HRL 082624, dated March 22, 1989.

Thus, as the submitted evidence is not persuasive and the physical characteristics suggest use of this garment as sleepwear, this garment is classifiable in subheading 6108.32.0010, HTSUS.


The garment at issue is classifiable in subheading 6108.32.0010, HTSUS, which provides for "[w]omen's or girls' slips, petticoats, briefs, panties, nightdresses, pajamas, negligees, bathrobes, dressing gowns and similar articles, knitted or crocheted: [n]ightdresses and pajamas: [o]f man-made fibers: [w]omen's." The rate of duty is, 17% ad valorem and the textile category code is 651.

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 that the importer 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 changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, the importer should contact the 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: