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HQ 956103

June 29, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956103 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6201.92.2051

John N. Politis, Esq.
Politis, Pollack & Doram
3255 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 1688
Los Angeles, CA 90010

RE: Request for Reconsideration of DD 894653, dated February 22, 1994; Classification of a man's leather and denim jacket; GRI 3(c)

Dear Mr. Politis:

This is in response to your inquiry of March 18, 1994, on behalf of Intersport Fashions West, Inc., requesting reconsideration of DD 894653 of February 22, 1994, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), concerning a man's jacket. A sample was submitted for examination. As requested the sample will be returned under separate cover.


The jacket at issue is constructed of cotton denim fabric and leather. The jacket contains a full-frontal zipper opening, chest pockets with flaps, pockets at the waist, and a permanently attached half-belt. The leather portion of the jacket includes the sleeves, front and back yokes, a small patch in the lower back, the collar, the flaps on the chest pockets, edging on lower pocket openings at the waist area, the belt, and the belt loops. The torso area and the back area of the jacket are made of denim material.

The District Director of Miami classified the jacket in subheading 6201.92.2051, HTSUSA, which provides for anoraks and similar garments of cotton. In your submission, you assert that the jacket is properly classifiable in subheading 4203.10.4030, HTSUSA, as leather wearing apparel.


Whether the subject jacket is classifiable as a textile garment under Heading 6201, HTSUSA, or a leather garment under Heading 4203, HTSUSA?


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.

You contend that the instant garment is correctly classifiable under Heading 4203, HTSUSA, which provides for articles of apparel and clothing accessories, of leather or of composition leather. The alternative heading for the subject merchandise is Heading 6201, HTSUSA, which provides for men's or boys' overcoats, carcoats, capes, cloaks, anoraks (including ski-jackets), windbreakers and similar articles (including padded, sleeveless jackets), other than those of heading 6203. You refer to an internal memorandum 084118, dated April 13, 1989, where Headquarters addressed the tariff classification issue of garments comprised of both textile and nontextile components. Memorandum 084118 stated the following, in pertinent part:

[I]n the absence of unusual circumstances, the following criteria should be applied in the classification of garments consisting of different fabrics or of textile and nontextile components.
a. For upper or lower body garments, if one component exceeds 60 percent of the visible surface area, that component will determine the classification of the garment unless the other component:

(1) forms the entire front of the garment; or (2) provides a visual and significant decorative effect (e.g. a substantial amount of lace); or
(3) is over 50 percent by weight of the garment; or (4) is valued at more than 10 times the primary component.

If no component comprises 60 percent of the visible surface area, or if any of the above four listed conditions are present, classification will be according to GRI 3(b) or 3(c), as appropriate.

In light of Memorandum 084118, the aforementioned criteria was used to evaluate the subject merchandise for tariff classification purposes. When examining the garment in its entirety, it is apparent that neither the textile nor the leather component makes up or exceeds 60 percent of the visible surface area. In your submission, you state that "the leather component covers 54.5 percent of the visible outer surface area of the garment, and the denim component occupies only 45.5 percent of the visible surface. Since the garment cannot be classified based on GRI 1, and neither of the components exceeds 60 percent of the visible surface area, then classification must be determined by GRI 3(b) or GRI 3(c).

GRI 3(b) states that the material or component which imparts the essential character to the goods will determine the classification. Generally essential character is determined by the nature of the component materials, the quantity, weight, value, or the role of the constituent materials in relation to the use of the goods. You assert that the leather component provides the essential character of the subject jacket. You specifically state that the leather component "provides resistance to abrasion; it is heavier than the denim component; it covers over half of the outer surface of the jacket; and it is sold only at Harley Davidson motorcycle shops in the United States." In essence, you claim that the leather utilized in this jacket is particularly suited to protection from road burns, a common hazard for motorcyclists; and therefore, it is the leather which imparts the essential character of the garment. Despite the use of this specialized leather, your argument is based on the end use of the subject garment.

Instead of focusing on the protective element of the leather component, Customs is considering the jacket in its entirety. Granted, the leather portion has a protective element in that it might shield a wearer from abrasions during a vehicular accident. However, the leather on the front and back yokes, sleeves, the collar, belt, belt loops, and flaps would probably not protect the area most susceptible to serious injury, namely the torso area and the lower back area. You stated in a conference with Customs employees that generally in a motorcycle accident, riders usually lurch forward and fall onto their arms, neck area, and head area, which is usually protected by a helmet. Therefore, the subject jacket is designed to specifically guard against these vulnerable areas during an accident. However, you offered no objective evidence or studies to substantiate this claim. Finally, if Customs based classification primarily on the assertion that this particular jacket is constructed of a specialized leather that is utilized for protective reasons, then basically identical garments made of a textile material and of a leather which has not been designed to guard against the specified injuries that you refer to, run the risk of being classified in different provisions because the end use is not the same.

In examining the jacket as a whole, it appears that a significant amount of the jacket is composed of both nontextile (leather) and textile (denim) material. The leather portion of the garment appears to have a important purpose in that it is strategically placed for fashion purposes. As a result of the location of leather, it seems to be more akin to trimming as it is found on the flaps, pockets, collar, belt, and loops. Neither the denim nor the leather appear to impart the essential character of the jacket. Both components seem to enhance and accentuate the entire jacket as opposed to having some primary practical or functional purpose.

In your oral presentation you also cited Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 081655, dated June 10, 1988, as evidence of your claim that the subject garment is classifiable as a leather good under Heading 4203, HTSUSA. You maintain that the garment therein is very similar in construction to the subject garment and it was classified as an article of leather under Heading 4203, HTSUSA. HRL 081655 describes the jacket therein as:

[A] hip-length jacket with a shell made from cotton canvas and cowhide leather. The lining is quilted polyester. * * * The front of the jacket is predominately woven cotton, with small amounts of leather trim on the pocket flaps and welting, on the collar tab and at the top of the storm flap. There are also leather adjustment tabs at the waist. The shoulders are almost entirely of leather while the sleeves are textile in the front and leather in the back. The back of the body is mostly leather and the stand-up collar (inside of which is a roll-up hood) is all textile (except for the tab).

Although we no longer have the garment at issue in HRL 081655 in Customs' custody, it is clear from the aforementioned description that it contains substantially more leather than the subject garment. The trimming on the jacket is leather, there is leather on the back of the sleeves, most of the shoulder area, and most of the back portion of the jacket. As this ruling was issued prior to the release of Memorandum 084118, Customs was unable to apply the rationale of Memorandum 084118 to the facts of HRL 081655. It is important to note, however, that if the criteria presented in Memorandum 084118 were applied to the facts of HRL 081665, the garment therein would have still been classified as leather apparel; since from the listed description, it appears that the leather component exceeded more than 60 percent of the visible surface area of the subject garment. Whereas, in this instance, the leather component does not exceed more than 60 percent of the visible surface area of the jacket at issue.

As none of the constituent materials impart the essential character of the jacket, Customs must look to GRI 3(c) for classification of the garment.

GRI 3(c) provides, in pertinent part:

When goods cannot be classified by reference to Rule 3(a) or 3(b), they are to be classified in the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration in determining their classification.

As stated above, the headings that equally merit consideration in determining the classification of the subject jacket are Heading 6201, HTSUSA and Heading 4203, HTSUSA. Pursuant to GRI 3(c), the jacket in question is classifiable under Heading 6201, HTSUSA, as it occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.


Based on the foregoing, the subject jacket was correctly classified in DD 894653, in subheading 6201.92.2051, HTSUSA, which provides for men's cotton anoraks (including ski-jackets), windbreakers and similar articles. The applicable rate of duty is 10 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 334.

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
Commercial Rulings Division

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