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HQ 955710

January 27, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955710 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6208.11.0000

Ms. Laurie Everill
J.C. Penney Purchasing Corporation
6501 Legacy Drive
Plano, Texas 75024-3698

RE: Classification of women's garments; slips v. sleepwear; Heading 6208

Dear Ms. Everill:

This is in response to your inquiry of September 22, 1993, requesting a tariff classification ruling concerning a garment described as a "chemise" under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The merchandise has been entered and will continue to be entered through the port of Los Angeles/Long Beach, California. A sample was submitted for examination.


The garment at issue is referred to as #2451. This garment is a chemise styled garment featuring braided non-adjustable shoulder straps, a V-shaped neckline with an insert constructed of lace and sequins, a V-shaped back, and a rounded bottom with lace inserts on the front panel at the bottom hemmed corners.


Whether the garment at issue is classifiable as a slip or as sleepwear?


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.

The garment at issue is referred to as a "chemise" which is a general term used to describe various types of garments. Customs has attempted to expound upon the term in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 950503, dated June 19, 1992. Customs stated that the term "chemise" may be used to describe a variety of clothing, i.e., a chemise dress, a chemise nightgown or a chemise slip. The term itself refers to the styling or cut of the garment as a simple, straight, loose hanging garment. HRL 950503 consulted various lexicographic sources in order to obtain a specific and accurate definition of "chemise". After consulting these ancillary sources, Customs discovered that the term "chemise" was used to describe both slips and sleepwear. Thus, looking to lexicographic sources as guidance in classifying the garments therein was ineffective. Customs further maintained the following:

Basically, the classification determination turns on whether the subject garments are designed and suitable for wear under outer clothing as slips and there is reasonable expectation that the garments are principally used as such, or whether the garments are designed and suitable for wear in bed and there is reasonable expectation that the garments are principally used in that manner.

If after careful examination of the garment, Customs cannot conclusively ascertain whether it is sleepwear or a slip, Customs will look to the documentation submitted by the importer as a factor in determining the appropriate tariff classification category. In HRL 950503 Customs was required to classify garments similar to the subject garment. In that case, Customs was presented with oral and written representations of the garments' intended and principal use as underwear. Customs specifically stated that it recognized that internal documentation and descriptions on invoices may be self-serving and should be considered in totality with other evidentiary information.

In this instance, the importer has submitted marketing information, written representation from a JCPenney Merchandise Manager, manufacturing data, and illustrations of store displays depicting items similar to the subject garment being sold in the underwear and lingerie department. Moreover, the importer asserts that all future shipments of merchandise of this type will have the word "slip" printed on the retail ticket in order to eliminate any ambiguity as to the intended use of the garment. All of the supplemental information has been presented to Customs to confirm that the subject garment has been designed and intended for use as a slip. As Customs has not been presented with any information contrary to the importers claim that the merchandise at issue will be principally used as a slip and such use is reasonable and appropriate based on an examination of the garment, the garment is classifiable as a slip under Heading 6208, HTSUSA.


Based on the foregoing, the subject garment identified by JCPenney as lot #2451 is classifiable as a slip of man-made fibers of subheading 6208.11.0000, HTSUSA. The textile restraint category is 652 and the applicable rate of duty is 17 percent ad valorem.

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

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