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HQ 957971

August 17, 1995
CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 957971 SK


TARIFF NO.: 6109.10.0060

B.S. Yeung
Second Secretary
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
1150 18th Street, N.W., ste. 475
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Classification of ladies' 95% cotton and 5% spandex knitted tank tops; 6109.10.0060, HTSUSA.

Dear Mr. Yeung:

This is in response to your letter of May 17, 1995, in which you request a binding classification ruling for two styles of women's knitted upper body garments. Samples of each style were submitted to this office for examination and will be returned to you under separate cover.


The two garments at issue are referenced style numbers P94020 and P94021. The garments were imported by One Step Up. Both garments are made from 95 percent cotton and 5 percent spandex knitted fabric. The garments are sleeveless with a body length of 24-1/2 inches and shoulder straps measuring 1-3/4 inches. Style P94021 features a U-shaped back neckline and a V-shaped front with a mock full frontal opening secured by eight plastic buttons. Style P94020 features a U-shaped back neckline and front without any frontal opening. The bottoms of both styles are hemmed and the back of both garments' necklines reach below the wearers' nape.


What is the proper classification for styles P94020 and P94021?


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.

Heading 6109, HTSUSA, provides for, "[T]-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted." The determinative issue in the instant case is whether the subject upper body garments are classifiable as tank tops. Reference to The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88, (Guidelines) is helpful in this instance. The Guidelines were developed and revised in accordance with the HTSUSA to ensure uniformity, to facilitate statistical classification, and to assist in the determination of the appropriate textile categories established for the administration of the Arrangement Regarding International Trade in Textiles.

The Guidelines, at page 13, offer the following with regard to the classification of tank tops:

"... sleeveless [garments] with oversized armholes, with or without a significant drop below the arm. The front and 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 draw-string waists or an elastic bottom. The following features would preclude a garment from consideration as a tank top:

1) pockets, real or simulated, other than breast pockets;

2) any belt treatment including simple loops;

3) any type of front or back neck opening (zipper, button, or otherwise).

This office is of the opinion that styles P94020 and P94021 meet the definition of tank tops set forth supra and both garments are suitable for use as outerwear in terms of the amount of body coverage they provide. Accordingly, classification is proper under subheading 6109.10.0060, HTSUSA.


Styles P94020 and P94021 are classifiable under subheading 6109.10.0060, HTSUSA, which provides for "[T]-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted: of cotton: women's or girls': other: tank tops: women's ...," dutiable at a rate of 20.6 percent ad valorem. The applicable textile quota category is 339.

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 a 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 a 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

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