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 > 1996 HQ Rulings > HQ 958368 - HQ 958509 > HQ 958386

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 958386

October 27, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:T 958386 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6206.30.3040

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

RE: Modification of District Decision 809342 of May 18, 1995; Classification of a woven blouse with three detachable collars; Composite good; Set

Dear Mr. Lynch:

On May 18, 1995, Customs issued District Decision (DD) 809342 to you as agent for Susan Bristol, Inc.. In that ruling, Customs classified a women's woven blouse with three detachable collars. The ruling classified the blouse in subheading 6206.30.3010, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated. The detachable collars were not specifically addressed in regard to their classification, thus it appears they were classified with the garment. We have had occasion to review DD 809342 and found it to be partially in error. Therefore, we are taking this action to correct the error.

Pursuant to section 625, Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993) (hereinafter section 625), notice of the proposed modification of DD 809342 was published September 27, 1995, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 29, Number 39.


The merchandise at issue, style 11657, misses size, consists of a women's woven blouse and three detachable collars. When imported in petite sizes the garment is designated style 21657; and, style 41621, when imported in women's sizes. The blouse is manufactured from 100 percent cotton woven blue denim fabric. The blouse extends to the vicinity of the hips and features a band collar with five buttons sewn on the inside of the collar for attaching the detachable collars. The blouse also has long -2-
sleeves with button cuffs, sleeve vents extending four and one-half inches from the ends of the sleeves, a full front opening secured by seven buttons, and a hemmed, generally straight bottom that dips somewhat at the front center to form two points. The detachable collars each have five buttonholes that correspond to the buttons on the blouse collar. One collar is of the same blue denim fabric as the blouse. Another collar is of a plaid twill and the third is of a pinwale corduroy fabric. The base of each collar has five buttonholes that correspond to the buttons on the blouse and is of the same blue denim fabric as the blouse.

The merchandise is of Hong Kong origin.


What is the proper classification of the woven blouse and three detachable collars?


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]."

As stated above, we believe DD 809342 is only partially in error. Classification of the woven blouse and one detachable collar as a composite good is correct. The items meet the definition of a composite good provided by the Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System. Although not legally binding, the EN are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level.

According to the EN, a composite good made up of different components includes:
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 this case, the blouse 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 -3-
be sold as separate parts. Although the blouse is complete and is of a type that would be sold separately, the attachable collars clearly would not have any use without the blouse with which they were designed to be worn.

It is Customs view that the blouse 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 blouse forms a whole, i.e., a blouse with a pointed collar. The remaining collars are separate from "the whole".

Since only one collar may be classified with the blouse as a composite good, the classification of the remaining collars must be decided. It is here we believe we erred in DD 809342. In DD 809342, it appears Customs classified the remaining collars with the blouse as part of the composite good. This office believes the additional collars are properly considered part of a set together with the composite article (blouse and one collar). 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.

The composite blouse and collar are classifiable in heading 6206, HTSUSA, which is the classification heading applicable to the blouse. This is based on a determination that the blouse imparts the essential character to the composite. The extra collars are classifiable in heading 6217, HTSUSA. Following the definition of sets stated above, we have at least two articles (the composite blouse and extra collar) which are classifiable in 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 blouse 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 blouse, heading 6206, HTSUSA.


Based upon the above analysis, the woven blouse and three detachable collars are classified as a set consisting of a composite good (the blouse and one collar) and the remaining -4-
collars. As part of a composite good, one collar is included with the blouse for textile category purposes.

If classified separately, the remaining 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 collars are subject to textile quota/visa restraints for category 359.

DD 809342 is modified to accord with the above. In accordance with section 625, this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to section 625 does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10(c)(1)).

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
Tariff Classification Appeals Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: