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 > 1995 HQ Rulings > HQ 954377 - HQ 954712 > HQ 954709

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 954709

December 5, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 954709 SK


TARIFF NO.: 6202.93.4500; 6202.93.5021

Mr. Robert L. Eisen and Ms. Karen Bysiewicz Coudert Brothers
1114 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036-7794

RE: Jacket, scarf and mittens permanently attached to one another; toddlers' and infants' accessories; not a composite good; set; GRI 3(b); essential character imparted by jacket; separate visas required for set components; DD 885233 (3/11/93).

Dear Mr. Eisen and Ms. Bysiewicz:

This is in response to your letter of July 28, 1993, in which you request, on behalf of Outerstuff Limited, a tariff classification for two styles of children's jackets with attached accessories. Samples of the jackets were submitted for Customs' examination.

We are also in receipt of your second submission, dated January 28, 1994, in which you request classification of a third sample and provide an affidavit in support of your contention that the subject garments are composite goods.


The first sample, which you refer to in your submission as Prototype B, is a girl's mid-thigh length jacket with attached scarf and mittens. The outer shell and quilted lining of the jacket are made of 100% nylon woven shell fabric and the filler is made of 100% polyester. You state that the shell has been treated with a polyurethane coating which renders it water resistant. It has a full frontal opening
with a zipper closure, an overlap with metal snaps, a hood with a drawstring closure, long sleeves with elasticized sleeve cuffs and an elasticized waistband. The scarf is attached onto the outer layer of the jacket at a point underneath the hood. The stitching extends for approximately 3 inches in the vertical direction and 1/2 of an inch in the horizontal direction. In addition, each mitten is attached to a strip of purple nylon fabric, which in turn is machine sewn to the inside seam of the sleeve. The body of the jacket is primarily pink with green and purple trim. The jacket's upper front portion is decorated with an acrylic knit applique panel. This fabric is purple and has red, green, yellow and pink patterned accents. The sleeves of the jacket are purple with a pink trim. The scarf and mittens are made of the same acrylic material as the applique. The scarf is primarily green and has yellow, orange, pink and purple patterned accents and purple fringes. The mittens are primarily pink and are decorated with the same patterns and colors as found on the scarf.

Prototype C is a girl's mid-length jacket that will be imported with an attached 100% acrylic knit scarf. The outer shell and quilted lining of the jacket are made of 100% nylon woven fabric and the filler is made of 100% polyester. You state that the jacket has a polyurethane coating on it. The jacket has a full frontal zipper opening with velcro-like closures, a snap-on hood with a drawstring and long sleeves with elasticized cuffs. The scarf is attached below the hood by means of a nylon loop. At one of its ends, the loop is sewn directly onto the outer shell of the jacket. The scarf is folded in half along its length and is secured to the loop by means of machine stitching. The body of this jacket is primarily purple and has green and pink accents. For example, the pocket flaps are green with pink trim. The front closure is primarily green with a block of pink. A thin applique with blue, gold and pink snowflakes decorates the jacket's front portion and trims the sleeves. The scarf is primarily green and has two purple strips at its base. According to your submission, you have submitted a separate request for a binding classification ruling on Prototype C, without an attached scarf. However, it is now your plan to import this garment with an attached scarf. Therefore, with regard to Prototype C, you state that your request is limited to the issue of whether the attachment of the scarf to this garment renders it a composite good for tariff purposes.

A third sample was submitted to this office for purposes of comparison with Prototype B. The third sample is hereinafter referred to as "Sample 3." Sample 3, barring insignificant styling details, is similar in all material respects to Prototype B.

The garments will be made in Hong Kong, China, India or Sri Lanka and will be imported in sizes ranging from infants to toddler sizes 2T - 4T.

It is your position that the jacket, scarf and mitten combinations which comprise Prototype B and Sample 3, as well as the jacket and scarf combination comprising Prototype C, form an inseparable whole and should be considered composite goods for tariff classification purposes.

If these articles are considered to be composite goods for tariff purposes, the textile category and quota-visa requirements will be determined by the classification of the component which imparts the essential character and only one visa will be required for these articles. If, however, these garments are deemed articles put up in sets for retail sale, the components comprising each set are subject to their respective visa and quota requirements.


Are the subject garments and their attached accessories deemed composite goods or goods put up in sets for retail sale?


On March 11, 1993, Customs issued you District Ruling Letter (DD) 885233, which classified a child's jacket with an attached scarf as a set under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). In describing the attachment of the scarf to the jacket in DD 885233, the ruling stated the following: "[T]he 100 percent acrylic knit scarf is attached at the back of the collar with top stitching." In DD 885223 it was determined that the jacket and scarf comprised a set and were classified based on their essential character which was imparted by the jacket. It is our opinion that an analogous classification situation exists in the instant case: all three children's jackets have attached scarves, and Prototype B and Sample 3 also have attached mittens. As no analysis was provided in DD 855233 as to how Customs determined that the scarf and jacket in that ruling comprised a set as opposed to a composite good, we will set forth a detailed analysis here.

Classification of merchandise 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, taken in order. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's.

Scarves and mittens that are attached to jackets at the time of importation, and intended to be sold together, are potentially classifiable as either "composite goods" or "goods put up in sets for retail sale." Items classified together as either "composite goods" or "goods put up in sets" shall be classified as if they consisted entirely of the component which gives them their "essential character." See GRI 3(b).

GRI 3(b) provides:

"Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable."

Before applying GRI 3(b), we must determine if the subject garments are composite goods or goods put up in sets for retail sale. While this distinction will not affect the essential character determination, and consequently the classification, it will control the quota and visa requirements for the goods.


The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System define composite goods made up of different components as:

"not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts."

The EN to GRI 3(b) set forth two examples of articles regarded as composite goods:

1) Ashtrays consisting of a stand incorporating a removable ash bowl;

2) Household spice racks consisting of a specially designed frame (usually of wood) and an appropriate number of empty spice jars of suitable shape and size.

The EN to GRI 3(b) include as composite goods components which are attached to one another so as to form a whole, as well as those components which are separable so long as they are "mutually complementary," form a whole and are not normally offered for sale separately. We think it important to note that the mere fact that components are attached together will not definitively create a composite good for tariff classification purposes. In determining whether the subject articles meet the definition of "composite good," we will apply the criteria set forth supra to the jackets, scarves and mittens at issue.

While we recognize that the components at issue are all attached to one another, and that they are "mutually complementary" in their color schemes, it is the opinion of this office that the subject components are not composite goods for several reasons. In situations where components are attached to one another, as in the instant case, the determinative issue is whether they form a "whole." In this case, the scarf and mittens do not serve to form a whole when affixed to the jackets; the children's jackets are complete and marketable without the scarves and mittens, and the scarves and mittens are similarly functional, saleable and whole unto themselves. Moreover, these accessories differ from the composite good exemplars set forth above in that the scarves, mittens and jackets at issue are not adapted one to the other. None of the accessories have been changed or modified in any way so as to make them more suitable for use with the jackets.

Not only are the scarves and mittens at issue functional, saleable and "whole" unto themselves, we further note that they are not usually attached in a permanent manner to toddlers' and infants' jackets. We base this determination on the expertise provided by the Customs National Import Specialist (NIS) for children's wear. In the opinion of the NIS, who has examined many thousands of children's garments during his tenure with Customs, infants' and toddlers' jackets do not normally have scarves and mittens attached by means of "permanently" sewn fabric straps. The NIS believes that infants' and toddlers' garments designed in this fashion pose an extreme safety hazard to young children in that the attached accessories are not readily detachable and may get caught in car doors, escalators, etc... . In the opinion of the NIS, garments with scarves and mittens that are not readily detachable (i.e., by means of
clip or button) pose an easily recognizable danger which renders the garments commercially unfeasible for use by small children and infants. These types of accessories are not usually sold permanently attached to toddlers' and infants' jackets; they are the type of accessory which is normally sold in a detachable condition or separately.

In your January 28, 1994, submission to this office, you provided a sworn affidavit by Professor Rose Rosa who is a designer of children's outerwear and Professor of Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Professor Rosa bases her affidavit on an examination of Sample 3. We note a discrepancy between Professor Rosa's description of Sample 3 and the Sample 3 in Customs' possession. In her description, Professor Rosa describes a garment with attached mittens, but makes no mention of an attached scarf. The Sample 3 submitted to this office possesses an attached scarf. This is an important omission in that the presence of an attached scarf could have altered professor Rosa's testimony. As Professor Rosa's discussion concerns a garment that is significantly different from the garments currently under review, her affidavit is of limited applicability.

Moreover, Customs disputes some of Professor Rosa's findings with regard to the mittens. In paragraph 8, Professor Rosa states that "intentional removal of the mittens from the outer garment by an adult would create a hole in the mittens...," and "even careful cutting of the spaghetti strap would leave a portion of the strap inside the sleeve of the outer garment." Our findings on this matter yielded the opposite result; Customs was able to remove the mitten from the jacket with a pair of scissors. Neither mitten nor jacket were damaged and the strap was completely removed from the sleeve seam without leaving a remnant. In paragraph 10, Professor Rosa states that the garment's "unified design reflects a trend in children's outerwear design to attach accessories permanently to outer garments...," and that such attachment "is a major selling point among consumers because it provides a practical way to prevent misplacement and loss of mittens." The manner in which Professor Rosa uses the term "permanent" is not clear. We agree that detachable mittens (and scarves for that matter) may be a popular selling point, but we disagree that permanently attached mittens and scarves are popular and "reflect a trend in children's outerwear." As stated supra, scarves and mittens which do not detach easily (i.e., by means of button or clip) are inherently dangerous for use in infants' and toddlers' outerwear. We make this point because scarves and mittens which do not detach from infants' and toddlers' garments are not normally sold together as a unit. As designed, these
garments do not represent the norm for infant and toddler wear and to find scarves and mittens attached in such a manner raises concerns from a safety and commercial perspective. Scarves and mittens which are not designed to be detachable, are usually sold separately.

As the attached mittens and scarves do not serve to make the jacket to which they are attached "whole," and as such accessories are normally sold separately from infants' and toddlers' outerwear, the subject garments are not deemed to be composite goods.


The EN define sets as goods which:

"(a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings;

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking."

The subject merchandise meets the three-prong "set" test set forth above. The scarves, mittens and jackets are all prima facie classifiable under different headings. The three components are put up together in order to contribute to the warmth of a toddler or infant and are to be worn during cold weather outdoor activities. And finally, the components are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to the consumer and no repacking is required. Accordingly, it is this office's opinion that the scarves, mittens and jackets at issue are classifiable as goods put up in sets for retail sale. As such, they are to be classified on the basis of the component which imparts the essential character to the set.

Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) states:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the
nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

With regard to the articles at issue, it is the jacket which imparts the essential character to the set. It is this component which performs the most crucial role in providing warmth, and it is also this component which is of the greatest value. On this basis, classification of the set is proper under subheading 6202, HTSUSA, which provides for, in pertinent part, girls' anoraks (including ski-jackets) and similar articles of man-made fibers.


Prototypes B and C and Sample 3 are considered articles put up in sets for retail sale.

The jacket, scarf and mitten combinations of Prototype B and Sample 3, and the jacket and scarf combination of Prototype C, are classifiable in subheading 6202.93.4500, HTSUSA, if the jackets pass the water resistance test as specified in Additional U.S. Note 2 to Chapter 62, HTSUS. The rate of duty is 7.6% ad valorem. If the jackets do not pass the water resistance test as set out in Additional U.S. Note 2 to Chapter 62, HTSUS, Prototypes B and C, and Sample C, are classifiable in subheading 6202.93.5021, HTSUS. The rate of duty is 29.5% ad valorem.

As sets, each of the component articles require separate visas for quota purposes. Accordingly, the jackets fall within textile category 635, the mittens within textile category 631 and the scarves within textile category 659.

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 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 the 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, you 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: