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HQ 959505

October 24, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959505 ASM


TARIFF NO.: 6204.42.3050

John B. Pellegrini, Esq.
Ross & Hardies
Park Avenue Tower
65 East 55th Street
New York, New York 10022-3219

RE: Women's Cotton Garments imported from India; not "India Item" exempt from quota

Dear Mr. Pellegrini:

This is in reference to your letter of July 9, 1996, in which you request a binding ruling on behalf of the Smiles Fashion Corp., for women's cotton garments. Specifically, your ruling request concerns the classification of these garments and whether they qualify as an "India Item" under the United States/India bilateral textile agreement which would exempt them from quota.


The merchandise which is the subject of this request consists of two women's cotton garments produced in India. Although the manufacturer has not yet been selected, the subject merchandise will be entered at JFK or Newark. Each of the garments has a cotton shell, round neck, five-button opening to the waist, a gathered waist, and short sleeves. The garments are loose-fitting and full length to the ankle. You indicate that they have been hand-dyed in a solid color. On the garment labeled "A," the bodice is embroidered with flower/mirror appliques. The bodice of the garment labeled "B" is merely embroidered.


What is the proper classification of the women's cotton garments imported from India and do they qualify as "India Items" under the United States/India bilateral textile agreement?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule 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 then be applied. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN's), which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI's.

The garments at issue are classified in the provision for women's dresses in subheading 6204.42.3050, HTSUSA. Their designation as "India Items" exempt from quota is not determined by the HTSUSA, but by the language of the bilateral textile agreement between the United States and India regarding such items.

The U.S./India bilateral textile agreement describes "India Items," in part, as:

* * * traditional folklore handicraft textiles products made in the cottage industry. They comprise clothes, clothing accessories and decorative furnishings whose shape and design are traditionally and historically
Indian. [Emphasis supplied]

The subject garments are each identified as an "Aba" which is defined in the United States/India bilateral agreement, Annex E, as: "an over-garment close fit at the upper part with a Ghargra type skirt touching the ankles." The Ghargra is defined as: "an ankle length very wide skirt with draw string or hooks at the waist."

The articles in question, are flowing and loose fitting at the bodice and in overall design rather than being close-fit in the upper part as the "Aba" has been defined in Annex E of the United States/India bilateral agreement. The classification of these articles as "Indian items" is also dependent upon whether the garments possess the shape and design that are traditionally and historically Indian. These garments are not at all similar to the traditional Indian "Aba" which has a 3/4 length sleeve, additional panel insert for fullness in the underarm, and no defined waist. Although the bodice on each garment has been embellished with embroidery and/or mirror appliques, the design is not consistent with the traditional designs seen on an "Aba" or any other traditional Indian garment.

The garments have been embroidered, however, the designs do not appear to represent any of the patterns historically used in traditional Indian folklore handicraft textiles. In order to be considered "Indian Items," the garments must be ornamented in patterns characteristic of the traditional Indian folk styles. - 3 -

Based upon our examination of the garments at issue and all the information provided to Customs regarding an "India Item" and "Aba" as it is used in the bilateral textile agreement and in the traditional/historical sense, it is our belief that these garments do not qualify as quota exempt India items as defined in the agreement.

If you would like information regarding items which are considered "India Items," exempt from quota, under the U.S./India bilateral textile agreement, we suggest you contact the Chairman of CITA. She may be reached by writing to her at:

Chairman, Committee of the
Implementation of Textile Agreements
U.S. Department of Commerce
14th & Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230

Her office may also be contacted at (202) 482-3737.


The subject women's cotton dresses imported from India are classifiable under subheading 6204.42.3050, HTSUSA, which provides "Women's or girls' suits, ensembles, suit-type jackets, blazers, dresses, skirts, divided skirts, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (other than swimwear): Dresses: Of cotton: Other: Other: Other: Other: Women's." The general column one rate of duty is 11.8 percent ad valorem. The garments are not "India Items" pursuant to the United States/India bilateral textile agreement, and therefore, are subject to textile visa/quota restraints. Upon entry, textile visas from India for category 336 will be required.

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

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