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NY A87564

October 10, 1996

CLA-2-62:RR:NC:WA:360 A87564


TARIFF NO.: 6204.11.0000; 6204.31.1010

Mr. Jonathan M. Fee
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman LLP 1201 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Suite 4860
Atlanta, GA 30309

RE: The tariff classification of women's suits from China, Thailand, Sri Lanka and/or Indonesia

Dear Mr. Fee:

In your letter dated September 7, 1996, you requested a classification ruling on behalf of Sag Harbor Division of Kellwood Company. The submitted samples will be returned to you under separate cover.

Style 122 consists of a women's jacket and shorts constructed from 100 percent wool. Both garments are lined with 100 percent polyster woven fabric. The double-breasted jacket has four panels and features long sleeves, a notched collar, and two besom pockets below the waist. The shorts have a pleated front, a zippered fly and button closure and side pockets. The waistband is partially elasticized at the rear and contains four belt loops.

It is your contention that the goods meet the tariff and commercial definition for suits. However, due to the innovative retail sale practices imployed by the importer, you suggest that Customs might perceive a problem in classifying the garments as suits. You presented the following information concerning the importation of the goods.

PACKING and SHIPPING: The garments will be shipped to the United States on hangers. The jacket and hanger will be covered by a plastic bag; the shorts will be covered by a separate plastic bag on another hanger; the two components will be covered by a third polybag and connected with a plastic tie.

Nearly all import shipments will contain an equal number of upper and lower body garments packaged together as suits in the manner previously described. Occasionally, a shipment may include a small number of additional jackets without matching bottoms. It is the importer's understanding and intent that those pieces which do not meet the definition of a suit (i.e. a set of two garments) will be entered as separates.

DOCUMENTATION: The importer's purchase orders will refer to this combination of garments as a "suit" and will indentify one style designation, 122. In addition, each component will have its own style number, the jacket, style 8505 and the shorts, style 8503. These designations will also appear on the invoices furnished by the foreign suppliers.

LABELING: Each component will be individually marked with the country of origin and the required info under TFPIA. The garments will also be marked with the component style number. Fewer than half of all shipments will be preticketed with retail sales and other retail information at the request of the importer's customers.

INTENT: The importer will sell the "suits" to its customers, although the documents will indicate the separate style numbers. You state that nearly all shioments to customers will be of an equal number of top and bottoms, in corresponding size scales, so that thety can be sold and worn as suits. The importer intends that the jackets and bottoms be of the same color and size be worn together. Sometimes a jacket of one size might be matched with a skirt or pant of another size to achieve optimal fit. A customer will rarely buy only one component.

ADVERTISING: The importer's customers will advertise the articles as suits. (Exhibit A) Although separate prices are shown, the advertising shows the garments being worn together.

DISPLAY: The merchandise will be displayed together on double rack systems or rounders. Exhibit B shows this grouping of garments grouped by size or color. Although the garments are designed and intended to be worn as suits, the jacket and shorts will rarely if ever be placed together on a single hanger. This is because a consumer may choose to buy a jacket in one size and a bottom in another size to achieve an optimal fit.

Chapter 62 note 3 sets out the requirements for suits. In part the note states that the term suit means a set of garments composed of two or three pieces made up...in identical fabric and comprising: one suit coat or jacket...consisting of four or more panels designed to cover the upper part of the body...and one garment designed to cover the lower part of the body... All of the components of a suit must be of the same fabric construction, style, color and composition; they must also be of the same style and of corresponding or compatible size.

Both garments in this case are constructed from identical woven fabric and color, and they are of the same composition. Because they are ordered and shipped as units (equal numbers) they are of corresponding or compatible size. Accordingly, by virtue of note 3(a) to Chapter 62, the garments meet the requirements for classification as a suit.

It should be noted that each of the definitions in Chapter 62 for suits refer to a "set of garments", without limitation. In comparison, Note 3(b) which defines the term "ensemble" specifically requires that an ensemble be "put up for retail sale". The silence of the suit definition in this area when compared to the express requirements contained in the ensemble deinitions,is, a clear indication that Customs has no authority to impute the "put up for retail sale" requirement in the definition of "ensemble" to the definition of suits.

As a result, whether sets of garments which are not packed together in such a manner that they are readily identifiable as suits at the time of importation are classifiable as suits as such depends on the intent of the importer. If, at the time of importation, the importer has the bona fide intention to sell the suit components as suits, as evidenced by the documentation in the entry package, then the merchandise, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is classifiable as suits. If, at the time of importation, the importer has bona fide intention to sell the suit components separately, as evidenced by the documentation in the entry package, then the merchandise, in the absence of evidence to the contrary is classified as separates. If information is received that the garments are merchandised in a manner not consonant with the entered classification under 19 U.S.C. 1592 may of course be appropriate.

You cite a previous Customs ruling in which apparent "suits" were classified as separates because the components were sold as separates and were listed on documentation as indicating *different sizes and quantities. Based on the above analysis, it is clear that the cited ruling may be distinguished from the information you have provided. In this case the importer orders (PO and foreign invoices) its suits as suits, matched by size and color. They are shipped as units. The separate display reflects the greater fleibility in choice given to the consumer who requires jackets and bottoms of different sizes. Moreover, the garments are principally sold and used as units, despite their separate display. The jacket and bottom are designed and intended to go together and are primarily sold and worn by consumers as suits.

The applicable subheading for the style 122 will be 6204.11.0000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for Women's or Girls' Suits...Of wool or fine animal hair. The duty rate will be 16.4 percent ad valorem.

When imported separately, the applicable subheading for the jacket of (style 8505) will be 6204.31.1010, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for Women's or Girls'...Suit-type jackets and blazers...Of wool or fine animal hair: Women's. The duty rate will be 7.5 percent ad valorem.

The suit (Style 122) falls within textile category designation 444. The jacket, when imported separately, falls within category 435. Based upon international textile trade agreements products of China, Thailand, Sri Lanka and/or Indonesia are subject to a visa requirement and quota restraints.

The designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. 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.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Patricia Schiazzano at (212) 466-5866.


Roger J. Silvestri

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