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HQ 959836

April 28, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959836 DHS


TARIFF NO.: 6202.13.4005

Area Director, John F. Kennedy International Airport Jamaica, NY

RE: Internal Advice No. 29/96; Raincoat vs. anorak and other similar articles; Women's outerwear garment

Dear Sir:

This is in response to your memorandum of August 1, 1996, regarding Internal Advice No. 29/96 The importer, Gallery, Ltd., through counsel, has requested internal advice with respect to the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) for a women's outerwear garment. A sample was provided to this office for examination. Our response follows.


Style 2616 is a women's outerwear garment manufactured in Thailand. Its features include: a double breasted button front, lapel collar, slanted inserted pockets at the waist, raglan sleeves, a self-fabric simulated adjustment belt segment with a self-fabric covered button but no tightening element at the cuffs, a self-fabric tie belt which is threaded through two belt loops at the waist, and above thigh length (the medium sized garment measures approximately 32 inches in length from the base of the collar to the hem). It is made from 100 percent woven polyester shell fabric and has a woven nylon lining.

Customs now proposes a rate advance from 7.5 percent ad valorem under subheading 6202.93.45, HTSUS, to 29.1 percent ad valorem under subheading 6202.13.40, HTSUS. It is the importers opinion that this garment should be classified under subheading 6202.93.4500, HTSUSA, as a similar garment to an anorak.


Is the subject merchandise properly classifiable as water resistant anoraks and similar articles or as a raincoat?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining rules will be applied in sequential order.

Heading 6202, HTSUSA, is the provision for women's or girls' overcoats, carcoats, capes, cloaks, anoraks (including ski jackets), windbreakers and similar articles (included padded, sleeveless jackets), other than those of heading 6204. As style 2616 is a womens' upper body outerwear garment designed to provide protection against the elements, classification is proper within this heading.

The classification of a garment as a jacket or a coat has been addressed in several Customs rulings. Although it has become harder to distinguish between the two for classification purposes because of the fashion trends presently in vogue, certain continued features distinguish the coat from the water resistant anorak or similar garment.

In HQ 953467, dated June 2, 1993, and HQ 581313, dated November 9 1995, Customs discussed some of these similarities and differences. These rulings stated that anoraks are usually described as jackets whereas raincoats are described as coats. Both anoraks and coats are cut to be worn over other outer clothing. Both can be treated to provide water resistance and thus give the wearer some protection against inclement weather. While a coat generally is longer than a jacket, an anorak or jacket (mid-thigh and lower-thigh lengths) can be the same length as a coat.

In HQ 083536, dated October 23, 1989, and HQ 956138, dated July 19, 1994, Customs classified anorak type garments as having some if not all of the features of an anorak including elastic or rib knit cuffs, a drawstring at the waist or bottom and the presence of a hood and padding.

HQ 956138, also added with respect to todays trends in rain coats and rainwear:

Although coats have traditionally been worn long, over the last several seasons the trend in coats and rainwear has been towards shorter lengths and greater adaptability to a variety of uses, from workwear to weekend wear. An article in the April 5, 1994 issue of Women's Wear Daily is quoted as citing big demand for short coats from 30-inch belted trench coats to 36-inch swing coats. Short rainwear is selling better than long, with an average length about 32 to 36 inches. A later issue, November 29, 1994, of the same publication, illustrates a variety of merchandise. Accordingly, fashion now dictates that short lengths are no longer simply equated with casual styled outerwear, but have now taken on a dual use.

With respect to length, as a distinguishing feature between an anorak or similar article and a coat, HQ 953467, date June 2, 1993, provides:

Customs views the length of a garment to be sometimes an influential factor in determining what a garment is. For instance, if these garments reached below the knee, their classification would not likely be an issue; most likely, all concerned would consider the garments to be coats. However, the garments extend to mid-thigh or lower thigh lengths. This makes their classification more difficult because coats and jackets are both normally available in these lengths.

We agree with your office that the garment in issue contains all of the features of a raincoat. It is cut in such a way as to fit over dress clothing and it does not have any traits associated with an anorak such as the elastic or rib cuffs, a drawstring at the waist or bottom or the presence of a hood or padding. It therefore, can not be classified as an anorak or a similar article. We note that the importer has provided affidavits evidencing the purchase of this garment by "buyers" in the industry for sale as a jacket. This evidence alone is insufficient to persuade us that style 2616 is classifiable under 6202.93.4500, HTSUSA, in light of the physical characteristics of the garment, the portrayal of this type of garment as a raincoat or trenchcoat in articles, advertising and marketing features, and the sale of similar type garments as a coat. Accordingly, it is our opinion that the garment in this case is classifiable as a raincoat.


The submitted merchandise, style 2616, is properly classified in subheading 6202.13.4005, HTSUSA, which provides for "[W]omen's or girls' overcoats, carcoats, capes, cloaks, anoraks ...: Overcoats, carcoats, capes, cloaks and similar coats: Of man-made fibers: Other: Other, Raincoats, Women's." The applicable rate of duty is 29.1 percent ad valorem and the quota category is 635.

This decision should be mailed by your office to the internal advice requester no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. On that date the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Ruling Module in ACS and to the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act, and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals Division

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