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HQ 958307

December 12, 1995

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 958307 jb


TARIFF NO.: 6204.43.4030

Susan Kearney Duffy
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
702 S.W. 8th Street
Bentonville, AR 72716-8023

RE: Request for reconsideration of DD 810984; classification of a women's woven garment; garment covers mid-thigh; adequate coverage provided; proper classification as a dress

Dear Ms. Duffy:

This is in regard to your letter dated August 11, 1995, requesting reconsideration of District Decision (DD) 810984, dated June 26, 1995, regarding the classification of a women's woven dress imported from India. A sample was submitted to this office for examination.


The garment, referenced style number 2-Voche, is constructed of 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton woven fabric. The garment is sleeveless, extends to the mid thigh and features a partial front opening secured by five plastic buttons, a deep U-neckline, shirring over the entire front of the garment, straps measuring two and one-half inches in width at the top of the shoulders, and a straight, hemmed bottom.

In your original letter you claimed that the proper classification for the garment was as a sunsuit/sleepwear garment in subheading 6211.43.0030, HTSUSA. In a more recent letter you claim that the garment is properly classifiable as either a a blouse in subheading 6206.40.3030, HTSUSA, or as a jumper in subheading 6211.43.0066, HTSUSA. You base these alternate classifications (i.e, jumper or blouse) on information provided to you by the India Trade Board. No supporting documentation was provided by you to substantiate any of your claims.


What is the proper classification of the merchandise at issue?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). 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.

As stipulated in Mast Industries v. United States, 9 CIT 549 (1985), aff'd, 786 F.2d 1144 (Fed. Cir. 1986), nightclothes are garments to be worn to bed, and a garment found to be designed, manufactured, marketed and used as nightwear, was so classifiable. In determining whether a particular garment is worn to bed for sleeping, Customs will therefore consider the sample itself and whatever documentation the importer can supply about how the garment is to be marketed. Customs also takes into consideration how the same or virtually the same article is advertised and sold by others. In the case of the subject garment, no documentation was submitted supporting the claim that this garment is nightwear. Additionally, the garment itself is clearly not of the class or kind classifiable as nightwear. The garment has the appearance of an ordinary outerwear dress. It features the finished look of outerwear garments and the oversized features which are currently popular in a variety of garments.

Heading 6206, HTSUSA, provides for blouses. Under the General section of the Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN) to chapter 62, HTSUSA, it states that shirts and shirt-blouses are:

...designed to cover the upper part of the body, having long or short sleeves and a full or partial opening starting at the neckline. Blouses are also designed to cover the upper part of the body but may be sleeveless and without an opening at the neckline.

Similarly, the Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories (Guidelines), 53 F.R. 52563, December 28, 1988, provide:

Blouses are outer garments usually extending from the neck or shoulders to the vicinity of the waistline. However, also included in the category are overblouses and similar garments which may extend to the mid-thigh area or below, and which are frequently slit up the leg. Blouses may have a collar treatment of any type or no collar.*** [T]he garment may even be without closure as in a pullover.

It is well accepted that to classify a garment as a blouse, the garment must provide ample shoulder coverage; that is, coverage should extend from the neckline to the arm. It is our opinion that the shoulder straps present on the subject garment do not afford the coverage anticipated by either the EN to chapter 62, HTSUSA, or the Guidelines. As such the garment is excluded from classification as a blouse.

Jumper, is defined as follows:

The Essential Terms of Fashion, by Charlotte Mankey Calasibetta (1986) at 92, states:

1. Women's and children's sleeveless garment, similar to a dress but usually beltless, worn over a sleeved blouse, sweater, or shirt. Also see DRESSES. 2. British term for pullover sweater. 3. British term for loose jacket-blouse worn to protect clothing. 4. Sailor's overblouse or middy.

The Fashion Dictionary, by Mary Brooks Picken (1973) at 210, states:

Sleeveless, one-piece garment worn with guimpe. ("Guimpe", at 170, is defined as a short blouse, often with sleeves. Usually worn with a pinafore type of dress.)

As clearly emphasized in the above definitions, the term "jumper" refers to a particular type of dress which requires another outer garment to be worn underneath. This is not the case with the subject garment. Although the garment has oversized arm openings, its styling is that of a woman's sundress which generally provides less coverage than a business dress. Placing the subject sample on a size Medium mannequin reveals that the styling of the garment provides both support and an adequate degree of coverage for modesty purposes. This allows the wearer freedom in the choice of undergarments and does not necessitate an additional outerwear garment to be worn underneath. As concerns the length of the garment, contrary to the information obtained by you through the India Trade Board, for purposes of the United States Customs, there is no precise measurement indicating length cut-off for a dress to which we can refer you. It is the opinion of this office that for purposes of modesty, coverage is considered adequate so long as a garment claimed to be a dress reaches the mid-thigh area. When this garment was placed on our mannequin it comfortably reached the mid-thigh area. Accordingly, it is our opinion that the subject garment can be worn alone as a dress.


The subject garment, referenced style number 2-Voche, is properly classifiable in subheading 6204.43.4030, HTSUSA, which provides for, among other things, women's or girls' dresses, of synthetic fibers: other: other; other: women's. The applicable rate of duty is 16.9 percent ad valorem and the quota category is 636.

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 you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available at the 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 the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durante, Director

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