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HQ 955878

August 2, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955878 CC


TARIFF NO.: 6211.43.0091

Miguel Ruiz
Customs Broker
Sig M. Glukstad, Inc.
P.O. Box 523730
Miami, FL 33152-3730

RE: Reconsideration of DD 891734; classification of a protective textile vest; imported without ballistic insert; GRI 2(a)

Dear Mr. Ruiz:

This letter is in response to your request for reconsideration of DD 891734, which concerned the classification of a textile vest. A sample was submitted for examination.
In DD 891734, dated November 22, 1993, we ruled that the subject merchandise is classified under subheading 6211.43.0091 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for other garments, women's or girls', of man-made fibers, other.


The merchandise at issue, made from 65 percent polyester and 35 percent woven cotton fabric, consists of two parts which are designed to be worn together. The front and back panels are secured and sized to the torso of the wearer by means of velcro straps at the shoulders and chest area. The article has a rounded neckline, oversize armholes and when worn has full openings along each side and at the shoulders. It is stated that the article is "designed as an outer shell carrier for ballistic inserts which will protect the wearer from gunfire." The inserts will be incorporated by means of a chest pocket and will not be imported with the vest. Labels on the inside of both front and back portions of the garment read "body armor, small arms (hand gun), protective undergarment."


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with 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.

Heading 6211, HTSUSA, provides for other garments. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes, the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, state that the Explanatory Notes to Heading 6114 are applicable to Heading 6211. They state at page 842 that other garments include "(1) aprons, boiler suits (coveralls), smocks and other protective clothing of a kind worn by mechanics, factory workers, surgeons, etc." In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088807, dated August 9, 1991, we stated the following concerning whether an article is classifiable as a garment:

... However, wearing apparel, which we believe to be synonymous with garments, has been defined by the courts to be articles worn by human beings for reasons of comfort, decency, or adornment, Antonio Pompeo v. United States, 40 Cust. Ct. 362, C.D. 2006 (1958), and includes "articles worn for protection against the elements and those worn for protection against more localized conditions prevailing in the environment of the home, workplace, school, or restaurant." Admiral Craft Equipment Corp. v. United States, 82 Cust. Ct. 162, C.D. 4796 (1979).

Heading 6217, HTSUSA, provides for other made up clothing accessories. The term accessory is not defined in the tariff schedule or the Explanatory Notes. Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged (1986) defines accessory as "an object or device that is not essential in itself but that adds to the beauty, convenience, or effectiveness of something else.... any of various articles of apparel (as a scarf, belt, or piece of jewelry) that accent or otherwise complete one's costume."

Heading 6307, HTSUSA, provides for other made up articles. According to the Explanatory Notes, at page 867, Heading 6307 covers made up articles of any textile material which are not included more specifically in other headings of Section XI or elsewhere in the Nomenclature.

GRI 2(a) provides that any reference in a heading to an article shall be taken to include a reference to that article incomplete or unfinished, provided that, as entered, the incomplete or unfinished article has the essential character of the complete or finished article. It shall also include a reference to that article complete or finished (or falling to be classified as complete or finished by virtue of this rule), entered unassembled or disassembled.

As a finished article the subject merchandise would provide protection and would be classifiable as an other garment of Heading 6211. In its condition as imported, this merchandise does not contain the ballistic insert and is therefore unfinished. To be classified as the finished article, it must have the essential character of the complete article.

The vest as imported has all the features of the finished article except for the ballistic insert and is designed to be used exclusively with the insert. The vest, therefore, has the essential character of the finished article and in application of GRI 2(a) is classifiable as the finished article in Heading 6211.

The shell does not meet the definition of accessory. It does not complete one's costume; it holds the ballistic insert. Consequently, it is not classifiable in Heading 6217.

You argue that the subject merchandise is classifiable in Heading 6307, HTSUSA, and cite HRL 084341 of July 31, 1989 in support of your position. In HRL 084341 a "police vest" was classified in Heading 6307. That merchandise did not provide for protection and therefore is much different from the merchandise at issue in its finished state. In addition, HRL 084341 was revoked by HRL 089325 of September 4, 1991. Therefore, HRL 084341 has no applicability to the merchandise at issue and it is not classifiable in Heading 6307.


The merchandise at issue is classified under subheading 6211.43.0091, HTSUSA, which provides for other garments, women's or girls', of man-made fibers, other. The rate of duty is 17 percent ad valorem, and the textile category is 659.

DD 891734, dated November 22, 1993, is affirmed.


John Durant, Director

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