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HQ 958235

September 14, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:T 958235 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6206.30.3040

Herbert J. Lynch, Esq.
Sullivan & Lynch, P.C.
156 State Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02109-2508

RE: Classification of women's woven blouse with detachable, interchangeable collars; composite goods v. sets

Dear Mr. Lynch:

This is in response to your request of June 19, 1995, on behalf of Susan Bristol, Inc., for a ruling on the classification of a women's woven shirt with three interchangeable collars. A sample garment with collars was received with your request.


The garment at issue, style 12625, is a women's 100 percent cotton woven shirt. The garment features a full front opening secured by eight buttons, long sleeves with single button cuffs, a banded collar with five buttons sewn to the inside of the collar, and a straight hemmed bottom. The garment extends to the vicinity of the hips.

The shirt is imported and sold with three interchangeable pointed collars which are secured to the shirt by means of the five inside collar buttons. All three collars feature five button holes which correspond to the buttons on the collar of the shirt. One collar is made of identical fabric as that of the shirt and features contrasting colored embroidered flowers along the collar's outer edge. Another collar is made with different flannel plaid twill fabrics on either side of the collar; the same cotton fabric as the garment is used to form the band of the collar. The last collar is made with black corduroy fabric forming the collar and the same cotton fabric as the garment forming the band of the collar. This last collar is decorated with two bands of narrow woven fabric strips featuring embroidered flowers.

The shirt and collars are imported from Hong Kong and will be packaged together at the time of importation. The shirt and collars will be marketed together as a unit.


Is style 12625, consisting of the women's woven shirt and three interchangeable collars, classified as a composite good or a set?


Classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRIs taken in order]."

There is no issue regarding the classification of the shirt component of style 12625. The shirt is classified as a women's woven cotton shirt in subheading 6206.30.3040, HTSUSA. The issue is simply the classification of the accompanying collars as the shirt and collars cannot be classified by application of GRI 1.

The provisions of GRI 2 do not apply in this case and so, we must apply GRI 3. Application of GRI 3 is appropriate where, as in this case, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings. GRI 3(a) directs classification be based upon the most specific heading, however, when two or more headings each refer to only part of the components in a composite good or set, each heading is to be considered equally specific.

In this case, heading 6206, HTSUSA, describes the woven shirt, and heading 6217, HTSUSA, describes the detachable collars, i.e., garment accessories. Following GRI 3(a), the headings are equally specific and GRI 3(b) must be applied. General Rule of Interpretation 3(b) provides that:

* * *, composite goods * * * or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, 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, * * *.

However, before applying GRI 3(b), we must determine if the woven shirt and three collars constitute a composite good or goods put up in a set. While this distinction will not affect the essential character determination, it will affect the quota/visa requirements for the goods. -3-

The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System defines composite goods made up of different components as:
not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

In regard to goods put up in sets for retail sale, the Explanatory Notes defines sets as goods which:

(a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings;

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

In this case, the shirt and each individual collar are separable components that are adapted to each other, are mutually complementary, and together form a whole that would normally not be sold as separate parts. Although the shirt is complete and is of a type that would be sold separately, the attachable collars clearly would not have any use without the shirt with which they were designed to be worn.

In your submission, you argue that the shirt and all three detachable collars form a composite good. We disagree. It is Customs view that the shirt and one collar form a composite good. The Explanatory Notes describe separable components of composite goods as "together forming a whole." In this case, one collar attached to the shirt forms a whole, i.e., a shirt with a pointed collar. The remaining two collars are separate from "the whole".

Since only one collar may be classified with the shirt as a composite good, Customs must determine the classification of the remaining two collars. We believe they may be classified as part of a set with the composite good consisting of the shirt and one collar. The composite shirt and collar are classifiable in heading 6206, HTSUSA, which is the classification heading applicable to the shirt. This is based on a determination that the shirt imparts the essential character to the composite; an issue upon which we agree. The two extra collars are classifiable in heading 6217, HTSUSA. Following the definition of sets stated above, we have at least two articles (the composite shirt and extra collars) which are classifiable in -4-
different headings (6206 and 6217). The items are put together to meet a particular need, i.e., for the purpose of clothing a person, and they are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. We believe the shirt imparts the essential character to the set and thus, the set is classifiable under the provision applicable to the composite which is the heading for the woven shirt, heading 6206, HTSUSA.


Based upon the above analysis, the woven shirt and three detachable collars are classified as a set consisting of a composite good (the shirt and one collar) and the remaining two collars. As the woven shirt imparts the essential character of the composite, as well as the set, all items are classified with the shirt in subheading 6206.30.3040, HTSUSA, textile category 341, dutiable at 16.3 percent ad valorem. As part of a composite good, one collar is included with the shirt for textile category purposes.

If classified separately, the remaining two collars would be classified as clothing accessories of cotton, in subheading 6217.10.9010, HTSUSA, textile category 359. As part of a set, the remaining two collars are subject to textile quota/visa restraints for category 359.

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

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