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HQ 956796

November 10, 1994
CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956796 jb


TARIFF NO.: 6109.90.2035

U.S. Customs Service
Area Director, JFK
J.F.K. Airport
Building No.77, Room 228
Jamaica, N.Y. 11430

RE: Request for Internal Advice No. 29/94; women's cashmere knit top; classification in the HTSUSA is based according to the terms of the headings; garment meets the definition of tank top set forth in the Textile Guidelines; fabric does not preclude classification of garment as a "tank top"

Dear Mr. Mattina:

This is in response to an Internal Advice, dated March 4, 1994, submitted by Ross & Hardies on behalf of their client, Calvin Klein, regarding the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of a woman's cashmere knit top. A sample was submitted to this office for examination.


The submitted sample, referenced style number 400, consists of a woman's plain jersey finely knit top constructed of 100 percent cashmere. Though the body of the garment is wider at the bottom than at the top, it does not detract from the "T" silhouette when measured against a size ten mannequin. The garment is sleeveless and features knit capping around the armholes and neckline. The same knit capping extends to form the shoulder straps which measure three-eights of an inch in width when measured at the top of the shoulder. The neck is U-shaped in the front and back and drops below the back of the neck in back, and the hemline has a tubular finish.

Ross & Hardies state that Customs claim that the subject garment is classifiable as a tank top in heading 6109, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar articles, is incorrect and that the garment is properly classifiable as a pullover in heading 6110, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats and similar articles. In support of their claim they set forth the following reasons:

1. It is the intent of the tariff to classify all upper body garments wholly of cashmere under subheading 6110.10.10, HTSUSA. This is illustrated by a comparison of the statistical suffix descriptions and corresponding quota categories of subheading 6110.10.10, HTSUSA, (wholly of cashmere) to subheading 6110.10.20, HTSUSA, (of other wool or fine animal hair). That is, though both subheadings contain the article descriptions of "sweaters, vests and other", garments under subheading 6110.10.10, HTSUSA, all require quota category 445/446. On the other hand, articles under 6110.10.20, HTSUSA, require categories 445/446, 459 and 438; the latter two quotas being given to garments which are not classified as sweaters. This difference in quota treatment is a clear indication that all cashmere garments are intend ed to be classified in subheading 6110.10.10, HTSUSA;

2. The subject garment fails to conform to the specifications for a tank top outlined in the Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories (Guidelines), CIE 13/88, dated November 23, 1988;

3. The garment is precluded from classification as a tank top by virtue of the fact that it is constructed of cashmere which is not a typical article of commerce.


Whether the garment is classifiable as a tank top in subheading 6109.90.2035, HTSUSA, or as a pullover in subheading 6110.10.1060, HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 requires that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied, in the order of their appearance.

Heading 6109, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted. The subheadings that follow the heading provide for garments of cotton and other textile materials including man-made fibers; wool, with long sleeves and other. The statistical suffix descriptions for "other" include garments containing 70 percent or more by weight of silk or silk waste, wool and other fibers. Customs interprets the term "wool" to include fine animal hair such as cashmere.

Heading 6110, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted. The subheadings that follow the heading also provide for garments of a variety of fibers, but also include the specific provision for " of wool or fine animal hair: wholly of cashmere". In defining "tank top", the Guidelines state:
tank tops are sleeveless with oversize d arm holes, with or without a significant drop below the arm. The front and the back may have a round, V, U, scoop, boat, square or other shaped neck which must be below the nape of the neck. The body of the garment is supported by straps not over two inches in width reaching over the shoulder. The straps must be attached to the garment and not be easily detachable. Bottom hems may be straight or curved, side-vented, or of any other type normally found on a blouse or shirt, including blouson or drawstring waists or an elastic bottom.

It sho uld be borne in mind that a distinction must be made between men's tank tops and singlets (athletic-type undershirts). Tank tops are of a fine knit construction with wider capping on armholes and neckline than singlets, which are made of fine knit lightweight fabric of ribbed construction.

As "pullover" is not defined in the Guidelines, we look to other sources. Those sources define a pullover garment as:
a sweater with a round, crew, or V-neck, pulled over the head, as contrasted with a cardigan or coat sweater, which opens down the front. Also called pull-on or slip-on sweater. Charlotte Mankey Calasibetta, Essential Terms of Fashion at 211, (1986).
garment that pulls over the head. Usually, a blouse or sweater. Mary Brooks Picken, The Fashion Dictionary at 291, (1973).

In addressing Ross & Hardies first argument, classification of merchandise in the HTSUSA is based on the terms of the headings and not as they claim, based on a comparison of statistical suffixes and textile quota categories. Accordingly, the comparison that is executed is as between the two competing headings, i.e., heading 6109, HTSUSA, and heading 6110, HTSUSA. It is our belief that the subject garment meets the requisite features defining tank top as outlined in the Guidelines . Our examination of the garment reveals that the armholes are oversized, the neckline is U-shaped and below the nape of the neck, the shoulder straps are not over two inches in width and are permanently affixed to the garment, and the bottom, which extends below the waist, is hemmed.

In Ross & Hardies' letter they state that the subject garment has straps which are approximately the same width as the capping on a singlet. They incorrectly cite the Guidelines' definition of tank top as requiring "wider capping on armholes and neckline than singlets". That particular statement, when taken in its proper context, refers to men's singlets and tank tops and is therefore not applicable in the case of the subject woman's top. Consequently, it is our opinion that the submitted sample has the features of a tank top as described in the Guidelines and provided for eo nomine under the article description of heading 6109, HTSUSA. As such, heading 6110, HTSUSA, is no longer a consideration.

Finally, Ross & Hardies claim that the fact that the top is constructed entirely of cashmere precludes the garment from classification as a tank top. The rationale being that tank tops, for the most part, are relatively inexpensive garments made from cotton and/or man-made fiber and that cashmere tank tops are not typically articles of commerce. Although the Guidelines indicate that tank tops are of fine knit construction, the term "fine" is not defined, nor is there any requirement that the fabric be limited to a particular knit construction, weight. gauge or composition. Thus, there is no reason to preclude a more expensive fiber such as in this case, cashmere, from heading 6109, HTSUSA. The definitions of tank top mentioned above take into account stylistic features and not the type of fiber used or the cost of the completed garment.


The subject garment, referenced style 400, is correctly classifiable as a tank top in subheading 6109.90.2035, HTSUSA, which provides for inter alia, tank tops, other, women's or girls', other, of wool. The applicable rate of duty is 17 percent ad valorem and the quota category is 438.

This decision should be mailed by your office to the internal advice requester no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Regulations Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director

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