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HQ 957342

March 29, 1995

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 957342 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6114.10.0050

Ms. Kathy Redey
Eddie Bauer Inc.
15010 NE 36th St.
Redmond, WA 98052

RE: Pre-entry Classification 801350, dated September 2, 1994, superseded in part; Heading 6114; Heading 6110; vests; sweaters; jumpers; Textile Guidelines

Dear Ms. Redey:

This is in response to a request for reconsideration of Pre- classification Ruling (PC) 801350, dated September 2, 1994, issued to Eddie Bauer from the Customs District Director of Seattle, Washington. After examining the conclusion in PC 801350, we believe that it was decided incorrectly, in part. A sample was submitted for examination.


PC 801350 concerned the classification of numerous articles. Two of those articles, Styles 4830 and 4822 are at issue in this case. One sample described as the "Fairisle Sweater Jumper" was submitted for examination. The other article described as a "Long Sweater Jumper" was not submitted for examination. However, Customs is assuming that the submitted sample is similar in appearance to the sample you failed to submit. The sample which has no label to indicate the exact fiber content is a woman's full-length garment. Based on the description furnished in the PC ruling, the fiber content is 100 percent wool. The garment is sleeveless with oversized armholes, a deep V-neckline that extends into a full-frontal opening with a nine button means of closure. The garment is designed to extend to approximately the calf area of the wearer. At the bottom of each side there is an eight inch vertical slit in the garment. The fabric of the garment is a double knit construction with nine or fewer stitches per two centimeters measured in the horizontal direction.

PC 801350 classified both style numbers in subheading 6110.10.2030 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for women's knitted wool sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles. You contend that the merchandise is properly classifiable in subheading 6114.10.0050, HTSUSA, which provides for wool jumpers.


Whether the subject merchandise is classifiable under Heading 6110, HTSUSA, or Heading 6114, 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.

Heading 6110, HTSUSA, provides for sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN), although not legally binding, are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The EN to Heading 6110, HTSUSA, states that the heading covers a category of knitted or crocheted articles, designed to cover the upper parts of the body (jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats and similar articles).

The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88, [hereinafter, Textile Guidelines], which are occasionally consulted for aid in textile classification state that sweaters extend "from the neck or shoulders to the waist or below (as far as the mid-thigh)." Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088092, dated October 25, 1990, noted that the "guidelines are just that, guides to ascertaining the common or commercial designation of a textile article. C.I.E. 13/88 is not an immutable document. It must be applied in a reasonably prudent manner in order for the results obtained from its application to be meaningful."

The subject merchandise is constructed of knit fabric which has a high degree of elasticity and is commonly used in the production of sweaters. The garment contains a stitch count of less than nine stitches per two centimeters measured in the horizontal direction. According to the Textile Guidelines at page 20, this stitch count is generally indicative of a garment being classified as a sweater. The garment extends far below the knee area of a wearer and continues to the calf area.

Statistical Note 3 to Chapter 61, HTSUSA, states that statistical provisions for sweaters include garments which are constructed essentially with 9 or fewer stitches per two centimeters measured in the direction the stitches were formed.

In HRL 955084, dated March 23, 1994, Customs determined the tariff classification of a garment similar in construction to the subject garment. The garment therein was described as:

[A] women's size medium knit, 100 percent lambswool, long garment that extends from the neck and shoulder to well below the knees. The fabric of the garment has more than nine stitches per two centimeters measured in the horizontal direction and features long sleeves with rib knit cuffs, a two inch rib knit bottom, a deep V-neckline, and a full- front opening that closes with twelve fabric covered buttons.

Customs concluded in HRL 955084 that:

[W]ere this garment to extend only to the knee, it would unquestionably be classifiable as a sweater (though not a sweater at the statistical level). Therefore garments, such as the one in this case, can exceed the mid-thigh length criteria and, due to fabric, construction, styling, and use, be considered sweaters or sweater-like garments. Accordingly, the garment is classified as a garment similar to a sweater, in heading 6110, HTSTUSA.

In this case, despite the fabric and the stitch count of the subject garment which seem to manifest that it is a sweater or sweater-like garment, the styling and overall construction are not indicative of a sweater or any of the enumerated exemplars provided in Heading 6110, HTSUSA. The garment is sleeveless and designed to be worn over a shirt or blouse. As a result of the oversized armholes and its lack of coverage in the chest area, the garment is not constructed to provide warmth for the wearer as is the purpose of most sweaters or sweater-like garments.

In addition to the oversized armholes, the deep V-neckline with a full-front opening and a nine button means of closure, the sleeveless garment is designed to be worn over another outer garment. This general description seems to suggest that the subject article is a vest which is provided for under Heading 6110, HTSUSA. Customs has consistently classified as vests only those garments which are designed to be worn over another outer garment. See, HRL 085288, dated September 27, 1989; HRL 952215, dated December 16, 1992; HRL 954939, dated January 6, 1994.

In HRL 954939, Customs was confronted with the tariff classification of a sleeveless pullover garment with large armholes, a deep U-shaped neck, and which extended from the
wearer's neck to the knee area. On each side of the garment there was a long slit that continued from the top of the hips to the bottom of the garment. Customs determination was as follows:

An examination of the style, fabric, construction and sizing of the vest will aid us in determining whether this garment is a vest for HTS classification purposes. The fabric used in the construction of the subject garment is suitable for use as fabric for a vest. The styling of the garment suggests that it is intended as a pullover vest. For example, the neckline, the oversized arms and the comfortable cut of the garment facilitate wearing it over another outer garment. Moreover, although most vests have a full-front opening and extend to the waist or slightly below, some pullover vests and some vests that extend farther below the waist than usual are also extant in today's fashion marketplace.* * *Therefore it is our position that this garment is more akin to a vest and is not worn over underwear, but rather over other apparel as a vest.

Although the instant garment seems to meet the description of vests in accordance with other Customs rulings, certain design characteristics found on the garment indicate that it is not a vest for tariff classification purposes. For example, as stated in HRL 954939, most vests extend to the waist or slightly below the waist area of the wearer. In this case, however, the garment hangs well below the waist area and stops around the calf area of an average size wearer. Also, the slits extend from the knees to the wearer's calf, whereas most slits on vests start around the waist area of the wearer. Finally, vests are generally constructed to be worn over a shirt or blouse in conjunction with either pants or skirts, since vests do not usually offer enough coverage to the lower body to be worn without pants or skirts. However, in this instance, the subject garment offer sufficient coverage to the lower body so that it can easily be worn alone. In fact, because of the long length of the garment as well as the bulky knit fabric used in its construction, it is Customs belief that wearing this garment over pants or skirts would be uncomfortable and cumbersome. As the subject garment is not considered a vest, sweater, or similar garment, for tariff classification purposes, it is not classifiable under Heading 6110, HTSUSA.

Heading 6114, HTSUSA, provides for other garments, knitted or crocheted. The subject garment is designed to be worn over a shirt or blouse as it lacks appropriate coverage in the chest area. Moreover, the garment is extremely long in length and reaches the calf area of an average size wearer, and therefore, can be worn without pants or a skirt underneath. You assert that the garment is a "jumper" and you have submitted catalog advertising which depicts the garment being worn and referred to, as a jumper. In light of the general appearance of the garment, as well as the submitted advertising data, Customs is classifying the subject garment as a jumper which is provided for under Heading 6114, HTSUSA.


Based on the foregoing, Style Nos. 4830 and 4822 are classified in subheading 6114.10.0050, HTSUSA, which provides for other wool garments, knitted or crocheted; jumpers. The applicable rate of duty is 16.5 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 459.

This decision supersedes PC 801350 with respect to Style Nos. 4830 and 4822.

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 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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