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 957315 - HQ 957419 > HQ 957341

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 957341

May 24, 1995

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 957341 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6204.52.2070, 6206.30.3040, 6206.40.3030

Ms. Diane Zorrilla
Hecny Brokerage Services, Inc.
8933 S. La Cienega Boulevard
Inglewood, CA 90301

RE: Classification of a woven skirt (ghagra) and three women's blouses; qualification as "India Items" at issue

Dear Ms. Zorrilla:

This is in response to your request of October 11, 1994, on behalf of Destiny Imports, for a ruling regarding whether certain garments to be imported by Destiny Imports qualify as "India Items" which are exempt from quota. The garments, samples of which were received with your request, will be imported through the port of Los Angeles/Long Beach, California.


The first sample is a women's 100 percent cotton woven pull- on skirt. In your letter you refer to the skirt as a ghagra. The skirt, style 11001/6551, features a waistband which is approximately four inches in width and is elasticized in the back with four separate bands of elastic inserted into the waistband. The front of the waistband consists of a flat piece of fabric with two non-functional drawstrings attached and an additional piece of draped fabric covering the flat fabric thus creating a cummerbund effect. The skirt is ankle-length and has a patch work type print which appears to be the result of hand printing.

Style 8074 is a pullover blouse of a "baby doll" style design/shape. It is made of 100 percent cotton woven fabric and features long sleeves, a scoop neck and a partial front opening secured by two tie closures.

Style 9088 is a short sleeved, pullover blouse which features a deep, scoop front neckline, a partial front placket opening secured by seven buttons (right over left), and a straight hemmed bottom with side vents. The garment is hip length. -2-

Style 9081 is a pullover blouse of 100 percent rayon woven fabric. The garment features long sleeves, a slightly rounded V- neckline and a partial front opening secured by thirteen buttons/fabric loops closure (right over left). The garment is hip length with a straight hemmed bottom with deep side vents (about 8-1/2 inches).

Styles 8074, 9088 and 9081 are identified in your letter as kurtas.


Are the submitted garments "India Items" exempt from quota?


Designation of certain items as "India Items" exempt from quota is determined by the language of the bilateral textile agreement between the United States and India, and not by the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The U.S./India bilateral textile agreement, at Annex E, Head Note, describes "India Items", in part, as:

* * * traditional folklore handicraft textiles products made in the cottage industry. They comprise clothes, clothing accessories and decorative furnishings whose shape and design are traditionally and historically Indian. [Emphasis added.]

These products should not include zip fasteners and must be ornamented in the characteristic Indian folk styles using one of the following methods:

(a) handpainting (including Kalamkari) or handprinting or handicraft tie and dye or handicraft Batik, [Emphasis added].

Style 11001/6551, a woven skirt, is identified by you as a ghagra. A ghagra is defined in the U.S./India bilateral textile agreement as "an ankle-length, very wide skirt with draw-string or hooks at the waist." [Emphasis added.]

In addition to the information contained in the United States/India bilateral textile agreement, further guidelines regarding "India Items" were outlined in a notice published in the January 15, 1995 issue of the Federal Register (60 FR 16 at 4892). The notice, in the form of a directive to the Commissioner of Customs, stated that the Governments of the United States and India had agreed that: -3-

Indian items may not include closures devices such as zippers, elastic (any form), elasticized fabric (any form), or hook-and-pile fasteners (such as "Velcro" or other similar holding fabric). In addition, buttons (including snap buttons) may not be used as a means of securing at the waist such Indian items as salwar, ghagra/lahnga and pavadai.

The garment at issue is held up at the waist by the elastic bands inserted into the rear of the waistband. The strings attached on the front (creating the appearance, though false, of a drawstring) serve as ornamental features and have no other function. The definition of a ghagra includes the requirement that the garment have a drawstring or hooks at the waist. This garment has elastic which is not allowed per the notice in the Federal Register.

Based upon our examination of style 11001/6551 and all the information provided to Customs regarding the meaning of the term ghagra as used in the bilateral, it is our belief that this skirt does not qualify as a quota exempt India item (ghagra) as defined in the bilateral textile agreement.

A kurta is defined in the U.S./India bilateral textile agreement as:

A loose, almost straight cut tunic of any length from the hips to the ankles with quarters, half or full length narrow or loose sleeves, with or without buttons at the neck or cuff but without out-turned shirt-style cuffs or out-turned shirt collar.

Style 8074 is a "baby doll" designed or shaped garment. As such, Customs believes it fails to meet the requirement of the Head Note of Annex E of being of a "shape and design [which is] traditionally and historically Indian." Additionally, a "baby doll" styled garment is not an "almost straight cut tunic". "Baby doll look" is defined in Charlotte Mankey Calasibetta's Essential Terms of Fashion, at 101, as: "Childish look with dress (and sometimes coat) styled with gathers or pleats hanging from a tiny yoke." Style 8074 is styled with front and back yokes with the front and back panels gathered at the yokes thus flaring out somewhat. Therefore, style 8074 fails to meet the requirements in terms of shape and design and the definition of a kurta as set out in Annex E. It is not considered an "India Item".

Styles 9088 and 9081 meet the description of a kurta. Both are loose, almost straight cut tunic style garments which reach to the hips. Each has long sleeves and buttons at the neck. As to the requirement in Annex E regarding ornamentation, styles 9088 and 9081 appear to be handprinted with designs which we will -4-
accept as being traditionally and historically Indian. At the request of this office, Customs' Office of Laboratories and Scientific Services examined these garments and confirmed that they exhibit characteristics of handprinting. Thus, styles 9088 and 9081 meet the requirements to be "India Items" exempt from quota.

The classifications of these garments are not in dispute, but will be set out below for your convenience.


Style 11001/6551, a woven cotton skirt, is classified in subheading 6204.52.2070, HTSUSA, which provides for women's woven cotton skirts. This garment is dutiable at 8.6 percent ad valorem and falls within textile category 342. As it is not an "India Item", it is subject to quota/visa requirements.

Style 8074, a woven cotton blouse, is classified in subheading 6206.30.3040, HTSUSA, which provides for, among other things, women's woven cotton blouses. This garment is dutiable at 16.3 percent ad valorem and falls within textile category 341. As it is not an "India Item", it is subject to quota/visa requirements.

Styles 9088, a women's woven cotton blouse, is classified in subheading 6206.30.3040, HTSUSA. It is dutiable at 16.3 percent ad valorem. Style 9081, a women's woven rayon blouse, is classified in subheading 6206.40.3030, HTSUSA, which provides for, among other things, women's woven blouses of man-made fibers. Style 9081 is dutiable at 28.4 percent ad valorem. As styles 9088 and 9081 qualify as "India Items", they are exempt from quota. Exempt certification stamps issued by the Indian government that specifically identifies the folklore articles by name should be presented with your entry documents.

The designated textile and apparel category 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 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, you should contact your 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: