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HQ 959013

September 16, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959013 RH


TARIFF NO.: 6001.22.0000

Gail T. Cumins, Esq.
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt, P.C. Sixty-seven Broad Street
New York, NY 10004

RE: Laminated textile fabrics; heading 5903; knitted pile fabric; heading 6001; mesh; velour; heading 6002; GRI 3(c); GRI 1; Note 1, Chapter 60

Dear Ms. Cumins:

This is in reply to your letter of February 12, 1996 and your colleague, Allan Kamnitz' letter of December 16, 1996, on behalf of your client, W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., requesting a binding tariff classification ruling on laminated knitted textile fabrics to be imported into the United States from Germany and Japan.

Members of my staff met with you on March 18, 1997, to discuss the issues raised in this case and afforded you an opportunity to supplement your ruling request, which you did on April 2, 1997.

We note that the fabrics in this case are distinguishable from the fabrics in several cases currently pending in our office which raise the issue of whether the fabrics are of a pile construction.


The merchandise under consideration consists of three fabrics:

1. "Windstopper Tornado" which is a single layer of polytetrafluoroethylene film "sandwiched" between one layer of polyester warp knit mesh fabric and one layer of polyester knit velour fabric.

2. "Windstopper Monsoon" is a single layer of polytetrafluoroethylene film "sandwiched" between one layer of polyester jacquard interlock knit and one layer of polyester knit velour fabric.

3. "Velour/Warp Knit" is a single layer of polytetrafluoroethylene film "sandwiched" between one layer of polyester warp knit and one layer of polyester knit velour fabric.

You contend that the fabrics should be classified under subheading 5903.90.25 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) as "laminated textile fabrics, other manmade fibers."


Whether the fabrics are classifiable in heading 5903, HTSUSA, as laminated textile fabrics or as knitted pile fabrics of heading 6001, HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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 GRI's will be applied, in the order of their appearance.

The laminated fabrics in this case consist of a knitted pile fabric classifiable under heading 6001, HTSUSA, on one side and nonpile knitted fabric classifiable under heading 6002, HTSUSA, on the other side.

Note 1 to chapter 59 states, in pertinent part:

Except where the context otherwise requires, for the purposes of this chapter the expression "textile fabrics" applies only to the woven fabrics of chapters 50 to 55 and headings 5803 and 5806, the braids and ornamental trimmings in the piece of heading 5808 and the knitted or crocheted fabrics of heading 6002.

Note 1 to Chapter 60 provides further guidance in determining under which heading to classify the laminated knitted pile and nonpile fabrics. It provides in relevant part:

1. This chapter does not cover:

(c) Knitted or crocheted fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated, of chapter
59. However, knitted or crocheted pile fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated, remain classified in heading

A Dictionary of Textile Terms, (13th Edition 1980) defines "laminated" as follows:

Term used to describe fabrics which have been joined together in a permanent bond either with foam, or some other material, by use of adhesives, the foam itself, heat, or chemical bonding agents. Often the fabric is bonded directly to the foam in a foam-fabric package.

In this case, a nonpile and pile fabric are laminated/joined together.

You contend that classification of "these composite goods" is governed by GRI 3. Furthermore, you claim that the fabrics cannot be classified according to their essential character under GRI 3(b) because both the knitted pile fabric and the nonpile knitted fabric are appropriate for use as the exterior surface of a garment, and both sides may be equally desirable and functional. Additionally, the pile and nonpile materials are equally important in that your client's customers choose a particular fabric to be used for the exterior surface of a garment depending on the garment's ultimate use. Finally, you argue that the fabric may be chosen for a certain "look" or it may be chosen for its functionality or other characteristics. You presented numerous specific examples of why certain fabrics may be chosen.

Thus, you argue that because the essential character of the fabrics cannot be determined, they are classifiable in heading 6002, the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration, in accordance with GRI 3(c). Furthermore, since the fabrics are knitted fabrics of heading 6002 and, therefore, "textile fabric" for purposes of Chapter 59, they are classifiable as laminated fabrics under heading 5903.

Prior to the April 2 meeting, we advised you that Customs position when confronted with composite goods consisting of materials that are classifiable under headings 6001 and 6002, is that the merchandise can be correctly classified in accordance with GRI 1 and the applicable legal notes, and that resort to GRI 3 is unnecessary. We also provided you with citations to rulings supporting that position.

The merchandise which was the subject of Headquarters Ruling Letter 953709, dated February 24, 1994, was a diving suit composed of neoprene sandwiched between knitted pile fabric (of heading 6001) and plain knitted fabric (of heading 6002). In that case we stated:

As the diving suit is constructed of fabric classifiable in Heading 6001, HTSUSA, it is classifiable in Chapter 61, HTSUSA, which provides for knitted articles of apparel. Since the diving suit material is classifiable in Heading 6001, HTSUSA, Heading 6113, HTSUSA [garments made up of fabrics of heading 5903], is not applicable for classification of the finished diving suit. Instead, the subject diving suit is classifiable as an other knitted garment under Heading 6114, HTSUSA.

See, HQ 088542 dated May 1, 1992 and HQ 958121, dated July 5, 1995. See also, HQ 960251, dated April 10, 1997 (issued after the meeting in this case).

You submit that we should not rely upon these rulings as precedent because they neglected to focus upon the nonpile portion of the composite goods and treated the fabrics as if they were merely of a pile fabric classified in heading 6001. Admittedly, these rulings did not explicitly address the nonpile fabrics. However, they are consistent in ruling that where knit pile and knit nonpile are laminated to a center layer of rubber or plastics, the resultant combination is classifiable in heading 6001.

The ruling cited in your supplement submission, HQ 082185 PH, dated July 11, 1988, regarding composite goods, did not address pile fabrics and it is, therefore, unpersuasive.

You are correct that Customs interpretation of Note 1(c) to Chapter 60 means, in effect, that multilayered materials which contain both pile fabric and nonpile fabric are precluded from classification in heading 5903 by operation of that note. We have considered all of the arguments set forth in your submissions and, notwithstanding their merits, we find that Customs position is consistent with the language of the legal notes. In accordance with GRI 1, we must consult the terms of the headings, the section notes and the chapter notes before resorting to subsequent GRIs. Note 1(c) to Chapter 60 states that knitted pile fabrics which are laminated remain classifiable in heading 6001. The note provides no limitation regarding what other material(s) might be laminated with the knitted pile fabrics. Thus, we sustain the holdings set forth in the cited rulings and apply their interpretation of Note 1(c), Chapter 60 to this case.


The fabrics under consideration ("Windstopper Tornado," "Windstopper Monsoon," and "Velour/Warp Knit") are classifiable under subheading 6001.22.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for looped pile fabrics of manmade fibers. They are dutiable at the rate of 18.8 percent ad valorem, and the textile category is 224.

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 importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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