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HQ 954939

January 6, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 954939 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 6104.41.0010; 6110.10.2060

Mr. Tommy Lai
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
British Embassy
1150 18th Street, N.W., Suite 475
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Ladies' 100% wool knitted long vest and dress; headings 6104 and 6110; GRI 3(b); composite good; sets; Explanatory Notes to GRI 3(b); HRL 085288

Dear Mr. Lai:

This in response to your letter of August 31, 1993, in which you requested a tariff classification for women's knit wearing apparel under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). A sample of the garment was submitted for our review.


The submitted garment sample, style number 22588, size M, consists of a woman's 100% wool fiber knit pullover dress and a woman's 100% wool fiber knit pullover vest that are tack stitched together with one stitch at the shoulders. The dress has a turtleneck with a zippered back opening, long sleeves and inside shoulder pads. It extends from the neck and shoulders to below the wearer's knees. The pullover vest is sleeveless with large armholes and it has a deep U-shaped neck in front and back with 2- 3/4 inch tank-style shoulder straps. It extends from the wearer's neck and shoulders to approximately her knee. On each side of the vest there is a long slit that extends from the top of the hips to the bottom of the garment. There is only one hangtag and one style number for the two garments.


What is the tariff classification of garment style number 22588 under the HTSUS?


The classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied, taken in order.

The sample before us is a dress with a vest tack stitched to it at the shoulders. In your letters to Customs and Commerce, you address only the classification of the pullover vest and you do not mention the existence of the dress. The Field National Import Specialist at JFK Airport spoke to the importer of the garment and the broker to clarify the circumstances of the importation. Regarding the dress, the importer informed us that there were two line items on the entry documents, one for the dress and a second one for the vest. The importer claims that the two garments are tack stitched together solely for shipping purposes and that they pay separate duties and obtain separate quotas for each garment.

Based on your letters and the submitted sample, we will provide you with a classification of the vest, if imported alone, and the dress-vest combination. Regarding the classification of the vest portion, you state the following: "[g]iven the oversized armhole, we believe that the garment cannot be worn modestly next to the body or over underwear without other garments over them or underneath." Therefore, it is your position that the vest portion is classifiable as a long vest in subheading 6110.10.2060, HTSUS, which provides for "[s]weaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted: [o]f wool or fine animal hair: [o]ther: [v]ests, other than sweater vests: [w]omen's or girls'. The textile category code is 459.

Heading 6110, HTSUS, provides for "[s]weaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted." Although there is no specific definition of vests in either the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) or the Textile Category Guidelines (CIE 13/88), Customs has consistently classified as vests only those garments which are designed to be worn over another outer garment. See, Headquarters Ruling Letter 085288, dated September 27, 1989. 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. In The essential Terms of Fashion, Charlotte Mankey Calasibetta defines a "vest" as follows on page 225:

(1) An item of wearing apparel extending to the waist or longer, similar to a sleeveless jacket, usually worn over a blouse or shirt and sometimes under a suit jacket.

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. Thus, the vest portion is classifiable as a vest in subheading 6110.10.2060, HTSUS.

As the dress and vest combination are, prima facie, classifiable in two different headings, GRI 3(b) is applicable. GRI 3 states, in pertinent part, the following:

When by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials 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, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The ENs to GRI 3(b) provide interpretations of the terms "composite goods" and "sets". Regarding composite goods, EN IX to GRI 3(b) provides the following:

For the purposes of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but 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.

The dress and vest do not meet the requirements of composite goods. The tack stitching of the vest to the dress does not make these garments a practically inseparable whole. Viewed as separable components, the dress and vest are also not considered composite goods. They are not adapted to one another and are not necessarily mutually complementary. Finally, the vest is of a type that normally would be offered for sale apart from the dress.

The dress-vest combination also does not qualify as a set for HTS purposes. EN X to GRI 3(b) states that goods put up in sets for retail sale are those 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....

Style 22588 does consist of two articles that are prima facie classifiable in two headings: headings 6104 and 6110, respectively. These articles appear to be put up together to form one outfit. However, the importer stated that the garments are tack stitched together solely for shipping purposes. Therefore, it would appear that these two garments are not put up together to meet a particular need and would be repacked before sale. Thus, these garments do not qualify as a set and are separately classifiable for HTSUS purposes.


The vest is classifiable in subheading 6110.10.2060, HTSUS. The rate of duty is 17% ad valorem and the textile category code is 459.

The dress is classifiable in subheading 6104.41.0010, HTSUS, which provides for "[w]omen's or girls' suits, ensembles, suit- type jackets, blazers, dresses...,: [d]resses: [o]f wool or fine animal hair: [w]omen's. The rate of duty is 17% ad valorem and the textile category code is 436.

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 the importer 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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