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HQ 957255

April 14, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:T 957255 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6211.42.0081

Mr. B.S. Yeung
Hong Kong Economic and
Trade Office
British Embassy
1150 18th Street, N.W. Suite 475
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Classification of women's upper body garment; Heading 6206; Heading 6211

Dear Mr. Yeung:

This is in response to your inquiry of October 27, 1995, requesting a tariff classification ruling for a women's upper body garment under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted for examination.


The submitted sample is a woman's upper body garment that is constructed of 100 percent woven cotton denim fabric. The garment has long sleeves, a full frontal opening with a seven button means of closure, a shirt collar and cuffs secured by two buttons. The garment extends to the hip area and has two circular cutouts at the shoulders leaving them bare.


What is the proper tariff classification for the merchandise in question?


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.

Heading 6206, HTSUSA, provides for, among other articles, women's blouses. The General Explanatory Notes to Chapter 62, HTSUSA, describes shirts and shirt-blouses as:

* * * garments designed to cover the upper part of the body having long or short sleeves and a full or partial opening starting at the neckline. Blouses are also designed to cover the upper part of the body but may be sleeveless and without an opening at the neckline.

The Textile Guidelines, CIE 13/88, are sometimes consulted as an aid in determining the tariff classification of certain commodities. In regard to women's nonknit blouses, the Guidelines provide, in pertinent part:

* * * Blouses are outer garments usually extending from the neck or shoulders to the vicinity of the waistline. However, also included in the category are overblouses and similar garments which may extend to the mid-thigh area or below, and which are frequently slit up the leg. Blouses may have a collar treatment of any type or no collar. The closure may be positioned on the front, back, or side, or the garment may even be without closure as in a pullover.

Customs believes that implicit in a garment being classified as a blouse under Heading 6206, HTSUSA, is that it sufficiently cover the upper body. The Guidelines define blouses as garments that usually extend from the neck or shoulders to the vicinity of the waistline. In this instance, the garment provides no shoulder coverage. Generally, garments failing to provide adequate shoulder coverage (i.e., tank tops) are classified as other garments under heading 6211, HTSUSA. See Headquarters Ruling Letter, 088535, dated April 23, 1991. Consequently, the subject garment is classifiable under Heading 6211, HTSUSA.


Based on the foregoing, the subject garment is classified under subheading 6211.42.0081, HTSUSA, which provides for women's other cotton garments. The applicable rate of duty is 16.5 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 359.

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 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
Commercial Rulings Division

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