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 > 1997 HQ Rulings > HQ 958871 - HQ 959149 > HQ 959136

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 959136

November 27, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959136 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6206.30.3040

Ms. Rachel Worley
Tower Group International, Inc.
P.O. Box 20729
Atlanta, GA 30320-0729

RE: Reconsideration of DD 848413, dated January 12, 1990; Classification of scrub type top; Heading 6211; Heading 6206

Dear Ms. Worley:

This is in response to your inquiry of March 26, 1996, requesting a reconsideration of DD 848413, dated January 12, 1990, issued to you by the Area Director of John F. Kennedy Airport. Your request is on behalf of Dowling Textile Manufacturing Company. A sample was submitted for examination. We would also like to apologize for the delay in responding to your request.


The garment at issue is a hospital type scrub shirt composed of 51 percent cotton/49 percent polyester woven fabric. The pullover garment is loose-fitting, contains a V-neck opening, short sleeves, and a single breast pocket.

In DD 848413, the garment therein was identical to the sample garment with the exception of the fabric construction which was 50 percent cotton/50 percent polyester. The garment of DD 848413 was classified in subheading 6206.40.3030 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which is the provision for women's or girls' blouses, shirts and shirtblouses, of man-made fibers. You contend that the garment is properly classifiable in subheading 6211.43.0060, which provides for women's or girls' track suits, ski-suits and swimwear, other garments, of cotton.


Whether the scrub shirt at issue is classifiable under Heading 6211, HTSUSA, or Heading 6206, 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 subject article is potentially classifiable under two different headings. Heading 6211, HTSUSA, is the provision for women's track suits, ski-suits and swimwear, and other garments. Heading 6206, HTSUSA, is the provision for women's blouses, shirts, and shirt-blouses.

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. The EN to Heading 6114 concerning other garments apply mutatis mutandis, to the articles of Heading 6211, HTSUSA. The applicable EN to Heading 6114, HTSUSA, provides that "this heading covers knitted or crocheted garments which are not included more specifically in the preceding headings of this Chapter". Applying this language to Heading 6211, HTSUSA, denotes that Heading 6211, HTSUSA, is not appropriate if the garments at issue are covered more specifically in preceding headings. The applicable EN to Heading 6211, HTSUSA, further states the following:

The heading includes, inter alia:

(1) Aprons, boiler suits (coveralls), smocks and other protective clothing of a kind worn by mechanics, factory workers, surgeons, etc.

(2) Clerical or ecclesiastical garments and vestments (e.g., monks' habits, cassocks, copes, coutanes, surplices).

(3) Professional or scholastic gowns and robes.

(4) Specialised clothing for airmen, etc. (e.g., airmen's electrically heated clothing).

(5) Special articles of apparel used for certain sports or for dancing or gymnastics (e.g., fencing clothing, jockeys' silks, ballet skirts, leotards.

You contend that the subject top is worn as protective clothing by surgeons and other hospital personnel and in accordance with the applicable EN, the top is properly classifiable under Heading 6211, HTSUSA.

Customs position is that the subject top is not properly classifiable under Heading 6211, HTSUSA, which provides for other garments including certain types of protective clothing, instead the subject top is more specifically provided for in Heading 6206, HTSUSA. Moreover, the protective garments properly classifiable under Heading 6211, HTSUSA, are of a kind that have special design features or unique properties that distinguish them from other garments that are not used for protective purposes. For example, in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 952934, dated July 19, 1993, Customs classified coveralls designed to protect the wearer from microwave radiation under Heading 6211, HTSUSA. The coveralls at issue in that case were composed of textile fabric and stainless steel fibers. In HQ 084132, dated July 6, 1989, Customs classified a lab coat made of 100 percent polyester woven fabric with carbon fiber woven into it as an antistatic component under Heading 6211, HTSUSA. The lab coat was designed for wear in the electronics industry.

In this instance, there are no special design features or unique properties that make the subject top suitable for use as protective clothing. Moreover, there are no characteristics present in the subject top that distinguishes it from any other top designed and worn for general all-purpose wear. The subject top is specifically provided for under Heading 6206, HTSUSA, thus, classification under Heading 6211, HTSUSA, is not required.

Similarly, in HQ 084087, dated September 7, 1989, garments described as a two piece scrub suit which was comprised of a top and pants were classified under Heading 6204, HTSUSA, and Heading 6206, HTSUSA. It is important to note that the garments therein were classified under the aforementioned headings, despite the importer's contention that they were properly classifiable under Heading 6211, HTSUSA, as protective garments.


If the subject top is comprised chiefly of cotton, it is classifiable in subheading 6206.30.3040, HTSUSA, which provides for women's shirts of cotton. The applicable rate of duty is 16.2 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 341.

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, 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

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: