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HQ 959085

November 26, 1996

CLA- 2 RR:TC:TE 959085 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6201.92.2051

Ms. Sandra L. Toler
Block Industries, Inc.
525 North College Road
Wilmington, NC 28405

RE: Classification of men's upper body garment; Heading 6201; Heading 6205

Dear Ms. Toler:

This is in response to your inquiry of March 21, 1996, requesting a tariff classification for a men's garment under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Samples were submitted for examination.


Two samples are at issue. Style 6517 is labeled as a 100 percent printed cotton flannel shell exterior, 100 percent nylon lining, and 100 percent polyester fill. The garment contains a quilted lining, a shirt-type collar, flapped breast pockets with a button means of closure, side seam pockets below the waist, a full frontal opening with button closures, long sleeves with adjustable button through cuffs, side vents, and the back panel has a sewn down tuck. Style 0571 is identical in construction to Style 6517 with the exception of the shell fabric exterior and the closures. Style 0571 is composed of 80 percent cotton/20 percent polyester fabric and contains snap closures rather than button closures.


Whether the subject garments are classifiable as jackets under Heading 6201, HTSUSA, or as shirts under Heading 6205, HTSUSA.


Classification of goods 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. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's taken in order.

The garments at issue are considered to be hybrid garments since they possess characteristics found on both shirts and jackets. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN), although not legally binding, are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level and are usually consulted for guidance.

The EN applicable to garments of Heading 6201, HTSUSA, indicate that garments of the heading are generally worn over all other clothing for protection against the weather. The EN to Heading 6205, HTSUSA, state that with the exception of nightshirts, singlets and other vests of heading 6207, the heading covers shirts not knitted or crocheted for men or boys including shirts with detachable collars, dress shirts, sport shirts and leisure shirts.

The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88, [hereinafter, Textile Guidelines] which are sometimes consulted in classifying garments which have no clear identity provides a list of features common in jackets. If a garment possesses at least three of the listed features and if the result is not unreasonable, then the garment is generally classifiable as a jacket. Garments that do not possess at least 3 of the listed features will be considered on an individual bases. The Textile Guidelines list the following features that are commonly found in jackets:

1. Fabric weight equal to or exceeding 10 ounces per square yard
2. A full or partial lining
3. Pockets at or below the waist
4. Back vents or pleats. Also side vents in combination with back seams
5. Eisenhower styling
6. A belt or simulated belt or elasticized waist on hip length or longer shirt-jackets
7. Large jacket/coat style buttons, toggles or snaps, a heavy-duty zipper or other heavy-duty closure, or buttons fastened with reinforced thread for heavy-duty use
8. Lapels
9. Long sleeves without cuffs
10. Elasticized or rib-knit cuffs
11. Drawstring, elastic or rib-knit waistband

You contend that both Styles 6517 and 0571 contain three jacket features, namely, the full lining, side pockets at or below the waist, and the closures (snaps and buttons) which are both larger than shirt size buttons.

After examining the subject garments, Customs agrees that pockets below the waist and the lining are characteristics commonly found in jackets. Style 6517 also contains snap closures which arguably appear to be of the type of snaps provided in the Textile Guidelines . Customs does not believe that the closures are larger than shirt size buttons. However, Customs is of the opinion that in addition to the cited features which point to classification as a jacket, the overall styling of the subject garments, specifically the highly insulated lining, render them jackets for classification purposes. Granted, there are a long line of prior cases where Customs determined that lined garments very similar in construction to the subject garments were classifiable as shirts. See, HQ 958117, dated March 18, 1996; HQ 958512, dated December 1, 1995; HQ 955133, dated November 17, 1993; HQ 953464, dated April 22, 1993; HQ 083888, dated June 21, 1989; and HQ 082339, dated August 5, 1988. However, none of the cited cases mentioned that the garments therein contained an extremely heavy lining that was intended for protection against the elements which is a basic function of garments properly classifiable under Heading 6201, HTSUSA. A heavily insulated lining is uncommon in shirts and serves to create the impression of a jacket rather than a shirt. Although Styles 0571 and 6517 contain two definite jacket features and Style 6517 contains a third questionable jacket feature (snap closures), due to the heavily insulated lining, Customs is of the opinion that they are classifiable under Heading 6201, HTSUSA.

In HQ 957013, dated December 12, 1994, Customs classified a garment similar in appearance to the subject garments with only two jacket features under Heading 6201, HTSUSA. Customs specifically stated that, "although style Y0383894H possesses only two of the Guidelines' jacket features, this office is of the opinion that it nevertheless creates the overall impression of a jacket." Customs, in HQ 957013, as in this instance, primarily rested its conclusion on a particular characteristic which created the impression of a jacket as opposed to a shirt. In HQ 957013, the garment therein contained a full-length heavy-duty zipper which was not commonly found on shirts.


Based on the foregoing, Styles 6517 and 0571 are classifiable in subheading 6201.92.2051, HTSUSA, which provides for, in anoraks (including ski-jackets), windbreakers and similar articles (including padded, sleeveless jackets): of cotton: other: other: men's. The applicable rate of duty is 9.9 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 334.

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 that 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 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 applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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