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NY A85888

August 8, 1996

CLA-2-65:RR:NC:WA:353 A85888


TARIFF NO.: 6504.00.3000

Mr. Steven S. Weiser
Ms. Amy J. Johannesen
Siegel, Mandel & Davidson, P.C.
1515 Broadway
New York, NY. 10036-8901

RE: The tariff classification of hats made up of a combination of plaited straw and textile from China

Dear Mr. Weiser an Ms. Johannesen:

In your letter dated July 25, 1996, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of your client Liz Claiborne Accessories, Inc. Samples of three hats were submitted for examination.

The submitted samples consist of three styles, numbered K-878, K-880 and K-882 respectively. Each of these hats are made up of a combination of plaited straw and grosgrain fabric strips said to be made of 100% polyester which are sewn together.

Style K-878 is a broad brimmed plaited straw hat with a 100% polyester grosgrain band at the bottom of the crown which is tied to a bow at the rear of the hat. The crown is made up of plaited straw strips, sewn together, with the top portion, approx. 4.5 inches in diameter, cut away and replaced by grosgrain strips, .95 cm in width, in a spiral circle configuration. The brim consists of an outer folded over band of straw and an inner band of grosgrain fabric strips each of which are also .95 cm in width that are sewn together in concentric circles. It is stated that by weight the hat consists of 94 grams of straw vs. 66 grams of the fabric strips and that by surface area, the straw is approximately 1337 cm/2, while the grosgrain strips cover 772 cm/2.

Style K-880 is similar to style K-878. It is stated that by surface area the straw is approximately 1044 cm/2 while the grosgrain fabric strips cover 515 cm/2.

Style K-882 is baseball style cap. The entire brim is composed of plaited straw with a narrow band of grosgrain ribbon folded over to form a capping that trims the edge which extends beyond the base at the back to form two strap ties which may be tied to control the width of the cap. The crown is made of plaited straw with the top portion, approximately 5 inches in diameter cut away and replaced by grosgrain strips, approximately .95 cm in width, in a spiral circle configuration. At the base of the crown is a band of grosgrain strips that encircle the cap. It is stated that by weight the cap consists of 32 grams of straw vs. 38 grams of the fabric strips and that by surface area, the straw is approximately 552 cm/2, while the grosgrain strips cover 262 cm/2.

The hat at issue are composite goods. The instant articles are classifiable under two headings of the tariff schedule based upon their material composition. Pursuant to GRI 3(a), these headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to one another. Hence, we cannot classify the items on the basis of GRI 3(a).

GRI 3(b) reads as follows:

Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or components which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The EN to GRI 3(b), at page 4, state in pertinent part that:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In the opinion of this office it is the straw components of the hats at issue which gives them their essential character. As noted in the descriptions, the surface area of the straw components exceed that of the textile for each style. In two of three styles (K-878, K-880) the weight of straw exceeds that of the textile and of the other(style K-882) is almost the same. From a structural viewpoint, the straw components provide the shaping that defines the items as headwear. The straw components also provide a stronger visual presentation than the textile components.

The applicable subheading for the hats at issue, styles K-878, K-880 and K-882 will be 6504.00.3000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for "Hats and other headgear, plaited or made by assembling strips of any material, whether or not lined or trimmed: Of vegetable fibers, of unspun fibrous vegetable materials, of paper yarn or any combinations thereof: Sewed....". The rate of duty will be 6.3 percent ad valorem..

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 Martin Weiss at 212-466-5881.


Roger J. Silvestri

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