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HQ 955945

April 28, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955945 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 6210.10.2000

Robert F. Seely, Esq.
Katten Muchin & Zavis
525 West Monroe Street, Suite 1600
Chicago, Illinois 60661-3693

RE: Classification of disposable operating room gowns; GRI 3(c); heading 6210; HRL 951978

Dear Mr. Seely:

This is in response to your letters of August 23, 1993, and February 1, 1994, requesting a ruling on behalf of your client, Baxter Healthcare Corp., concerning the classification of disposable operating room gowns under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). You submitted two sample garments for our examination. We note that a response to your inquiry regarding the eligibility of these garments for a partial duty exemption under subheading 9802.00.80, HTSUS, was forwarded to you on February 2, 1994.


The products to be imported are two styles, referred to as "A" and "B", of disposable operating room gowns designed for use in hospitals and clinics. The gowns will be assembled in Mexico entirely from U.S. origin components and materials. The components and materials consist of cuffs, previously cut-to-shape fabric components for the body and sleeves, neck binding, chest reinforcement (Style B only), belt binding, velcro hook, transfer tab, glue and thread. The components are joined together by gluing and sewing. Prior to attaching the sleeves to the body, the side seam along the entire length of the sleeves is closed by a heat sealing operation.

The components that form the body and sleeves of Style A consist of laminated "Optima" fabric. Laminated "Optima" fabric consists of a base layer of "Sontara" fabric that is stretched, treated to increase softness and absorbency and is then laminated to a 1 mil polyester film using a hot melt adhesive. The "Sontara" fabric itself consists of a layer of wood pulp fiber
combined with a layer of polyester fiber batt. The outer surface of "Sontara" is polyester-rich and it is to that surface that the 1 mil plastic film is laminated. According to your letter, the polyethylene film layer gives the gown impervious barrier properties and the non-woven "Optima" layer provides the gown with strength, softness and wearer comfort.

Style B is made of the "Optima" fabric and its sleeves consist of the laminated "Optima" fabric. This gown also has a chest reinforcement that is comprised of a non-woven polyester and polyethylene laminate.


What is the tariff classification of the two styles of disposable operating rooms gowns imported from Mexico?


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.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 951978, dated October 2, 1992, we dealt with the classification of surgical garments and drapes made from "Sontara" fabric. We determined that as neither the paper portion nor the nonwoven textile fabric imparted the essential character to the merchandise, classification of these articles was properly based on a GRI 3(c) analysis. Accordingly, we held that the surgical garments were properly classified under heading 6210, HTSUS. Specifically, they were classified in subheading 6210.10.2000, HTSUS, which provides for "[g]arments, made up of fabrics of heading 5602, 5603, 5903, 5906 or 5907: [o]f fabrics of heading 5602 or 5603: [o]f fabric formed on a base of paper or covered or lined with paper."

In the instant case, the garments are composed of "Optima" fabric, which is comprised of treated "Sontara" fabric. The body and sleeves of Style A and the sleeves of Style B have an additional laminate of 1 mil plastic film on their outer surfaces. Based on the composition of the subject garments and our analysis and holding in HRL 951978, it is our position that these garments are also classifiable in subheading 6210.10.2000, HTSUS.


Both styles of disposable operating room gowns are classifiable in subheading 6210.10.2000, HTSUS, which provides for "[g]arments, made up of fabrics of heading 5602, 5603, 5903, 5906 or 5907: [o]f fabrics of heading 5602 or 5603: [o]f fabric formed on a base of paper or covered or lined with paper." The rate of duty is 5.6% ad valorem.

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

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