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HQ 957239





March 8, 1995

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 957239 SK

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

TARIFF NO.: 6211.49.1070

Alex Wong
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
1150 18th Street, N.W.
Suite 475
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Classification of women's silk and wool vest; 6211.49.1070, HTSUSA; Headquarters Memorandum 084118 (4/13/89); GRI 3(b); essential character imparted by silk component which forms the entire front of garment and comprises 60 percent of the garment by weight; Statistical Note 2 to Section XI; wool restraints inapplicable.

Dear Mr. Wong:

This ruling is in response to your inquiry of October 17, 1994, in which you request a binding classification ruling, on behalf of Bidermann Industries Corp., for a women's vest. A sample was submitted to this office for examination and will be returned to you under separate cover.

FACTS:

The submitted sample, referenced style number 21837, is a women's upper body garment manufactured from two woven fabrics: the entire front of the garment is 100 percent silk and the entire back is 100 percent wool. The garment is a sleeveless vest that extends slightly below the waist. The vest features oversized arm holes, a double-breasted opening with ten fabric-covered buttons, a shawl collar, two pockets located at the waist, one pocket in the upper left chest area and an adjustable tie located at the back. You state that the garment is comprised of 60 percent silk and 40 percent wool by weight.

ISSUES:

What is the proper classification for style number 21837?

Are wool restraints applicable to this garment?

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (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.

Heading 6211, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, women's vests. As the subject garment is undoubtedly a vest, classification is proper within this heading. The determinative issue is whether style 21837 is classifiable as a silk vest under subheading 6211.49.1070, HTSUSA, or as a wool vest under subheading 6211.41.0050, HTSUSA.

As the vest at issue has both woven silk and wool components, our analysis may be aided by applying a set of classification guidelines set forth in Headquarters Memorandum 084118, dated April 13, 1989. These guidelines apply when confronted with the classification of garments consisting of two or more different fabrics.

"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 your submission to this office, you did not provide information as to the percentage of visible surface area that each component comprises. As the front and back of the garment appear to be of approximately equal surface area, and no one component exceeds 60 percent of the visible surface area of the vest, we can not base classification on the criteria set forth in HQ Memorandum 084118, and GRI 3 provides the relevant analysis.

GRI 3 reads:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only... of the materials contained in mixed or composite goods, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

(b) ... composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components ... 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.

Explanatory Note (EN) 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.

In applying the criteria set forth in EN VIII to GRI 3(b), we find that not only does the silk component predominate by weight, it also forms the entire front of the garment. On this basis, we are of the opinion that it is the silk component that imparts the essential character to the vest. Accordingly, classification of style number 21837 is based on the 100 percent silk component and classification is proper under subheading 6211.49.1070, HTSUSA.

In your submission to this office, you state that in accordance with paragraph 8(b)(iv)(B) of the Hong Kong/U.S. Textile Agreement, style 21837 is to be considered a wool textile and subject to textile quota category 459. We direct your attention to Statistical Note 2 to Section XI of the tariff schedule. Statistical Note 2(b) reads:

"[T]he term "subject to wool restraints" means articles not provided for in (a) above (articles subject to cotton restraints) and in which the wool (including fine animal hair) component exceeds 17 percent by weight of all the component fibers thereof ... . [emphasis in the original]
[F]or the application of this note, where appropriate, only the part of the product which determines the classification under general interpretive rule 3 shall be taken into account." [emphasis added]

The principle the United States uses in determining the applicable statistical annotation, cited above, reflects the same principal this office uses in classifying a garment made from components of different fabrics: only the part of the garment which determines classification under a GRI 3 analysis shall be taken into account. The classification, in turn, determines the applicable textile restraint category.

In this instance, as set forth supra, the classification of style 21837 is premised on a GRI 3(b) analysis because the garment is comprised of two different types of fabric, each classifiable under a different subheading. GRI 3(b) mandates that classification be based on the material or component which imparts the essential character to the good. This office determined that the100 percent silk front panel imparts the essential character to the vest, therefore style 21837 is to be classified as a garment made wholly of silk under subheading 6110.49.1070, HTSUSA. As only the silk component of style 21837 is to be taken into account, no wool restraints are applicable to this garment.

HOLDING:

Style 21837 is classifiable under subheading 6211.49.1070, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, women's vests containing 70 percent or more by weight of silk or silk waste, dutiable at a rate of 7.1 percent ad valorem. The applicable textile quota category is 759.

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 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 updated weekly and is available for inspection at the local Customs office.

Due to the 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.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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