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HQ 961026

March 9, 1998

CLA-2RR:CR:TE 961026 RH


TARIFF NO.: 6505.90.9075

Mr. Stephen S. Spraitzar
George R. Tuttle Law Offices
Three Embarcadero Center, Suite 1160
San Francisco, CA 94111

RE: Revocation of New York Ruling Letter B88793, dated September 8, 1997; classification of a crocheted raffia hat from China; heading 6504; heading 6505; heading 6506

Dear Mr. Spraitzar:

On September 8, 1997, Customs issued New York Ruling Letter (NY) B88793, addressed to you on behalf of Dorfman, concerning the classification of a crocheted hat from China. In that ruling, Customs classified the hat under subheading 6506.99.0000 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), as other headgear.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103 - 182, 107 Stat. 2057), notice of the proposed revocation of NY B88793 was published on January 2, 1998, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 32, No. 1.

In the proposed ruling, Customs classified the raffia hat under subheading 6505.90.9095, HTSUSA, as a crotched hat or other headgear, which requires textile category 859. However, a new statistical provision (6505.90.9075) became effective March 1, 1998, which eliminates the applicability of quota, visa, or textile restraints to the instant merchandise.


NY B88793 describes the merchandise as follows:

The submitted sample, style L551, a hat with a brim, is stated to be made from crocheted raffia. On the inside is sewn a fabric sweatband. A close examination of the raffia used in the construction of the hat revealed that the 'yarns' are unspun raffia that are crocheted into a hat body and then blocked to form a brim. These 'yams' are not considered vegetable fiber yams of headings 5306-5308 as these yams must be spun and to be considered spun must have been 1. broken down into fine parallel fibers, commonly known as tow, rovings or silver; 2. carded, combed, or aligned in parallel fashion in some manner, and 3. caused to adhere to each other by means of spinning or twisting. The raffia used in the article at issue has not been subjected to this process.


What is the correct classification of the crocheted raffia hat?


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, taken in their appropriate order.

The provisions in issue are (1) subheading 6504.00, HTSUSA, which provides for hats and other headgear, plaited or made by assembling strips of any material; (2) subheading 6505.90.9075, HTSUSA, which provides for raffia hats and other headgear, knitted or crocheted, or made up from lace, felt or other textile fabric; and (3) subheading 6506.99, HTSUSA, which provides for headgear not elsewhere provided for.

Heading 6506 covers other headgear, whether or not lined or trimmed. The EN to heading 6506 states that the heading also covers safety headgear (e.g., for sporting activities, military or fireman's helmets, motor-cyclists', miners' or construction workers' helmets), whether or not fitted with protective padding or, in the case of certain helmets, with microphones or earphones. It also covers headgear of rubber or plastics (e.g., bathing caps, hoods), headgear of leather, fur skin, feathers, artificial flowers and metal.

Although heading 6506 provides for a broad array of headgear, the hat under consideration is more specifically described in heading 6505, HTSUSA. That heading encompasses:

Hats and other headgear, knitted or crocheted or made up from lace, felt or other textile fabric, in the piece (but not in strips), whether or not lined or trimmed; hair-nets of any material, whether or not lined or trimmed.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. While not legally binding, they represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. Thus, it has been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the Explanatory Notes when interpreting the HTSUSA. The EN to Chapter 65 state, in part, that:

[T]his Chapter covers hat-shapes, hat-forms, hat bodies and hoods, and hats and other headgear of all kinds, irrespective of the materials of which they are made and of their intended use (daily wear, theatre, disguise, protection, etc.). [Emphasis added].

In this case, the method of manufacturing the hat using a wire to loop the raffia onto itself results in a crochet or knit construction, irrespective of the instruments or materials used in the process.

Moreover, according to the chapter notes the hat may be made of any materials, in this case raffia, and we find nothing in the heading text or notes that precludes blocking or forming the hat to its desired shape. Therefore, the correct classification for the crocheted or knit raffia hat is under subheading 6505.90.9075, HTSUSA.

Heading 6504 encompasses "hats and other headgear, plaited or made by assembling strips of any material, whether or not lined or trimmed." The hat in question does not satisfy the terms of this heading because it is not plaited. Moreover, while the subject headgear is made from strips, crocheting and knitting is not an assembly process.


The hat in question is classifiable as a crocheted or knit raffia hat under subheading 6505.90.9075, HTSUSA. It is dutiable at the general column rate of duty at 21.5 cents per kilogram plus 7.8 percent ad valorem.

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to 19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1) does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)( 1 ), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.10 (c)(1)).

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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