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NY B83511

April 23, 1997

CLA-2-62:RR:NC:TA:360 B83511


TARIFF NO.: 6204.11.0000; 6204.31.2010; 6204.51.0010

Mr. Robert T. Stack
Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Astor Place
1515 Broadway - 43rd Floor
New York, NY 10036-8901

RE: The tariff classification of women's suits from Taiwan

Dear Mr. Stack:

In your letter dated March 20, 1997, you requested a classification ruling on behalf of Liz Claiborne, Inc. The submitted samples will be returned to you under separate cover.

Style 30750431/30750411 consists of a women's jacket and skirt constructed from 62% wool, 20% rayon, 13% nylon and 5% acetate woven fabric. Both garments are lined with 100 percent acetate woven fabric. The tailored jacket (designated as 30750431) has eight panels, with two of the front panels and two of the back panels extending from the shoulder seam to the bottom of the jacket, while the various side panels extend from the sleeve openings to the bottom of the jacket. The jacket features long sleeves without cuffs, a notched portrait collar, a full front opening with four buttons for closure and two pockets with flaps below the waist. The skirt designated as 30750411, has a zippered rear closure with an inner button tab closure.

It is your contention that the goods meet the tariff and commercial definition for suits; the garments imported under the combined style 30750431/30750411 are sold together to retailers in matching quantities and are properly dutiable as suits. However, due to innovative retail sale practices, the consumer will be able to match different sizes or purchase garments
individually. You suggest that Customs might perceive a problem in classifying the garments as suits under these circumstances. You present the following information concerning the importation of the goods.
the importer is purchasing style 30750431/30750411 as a suit that will be designated by the joint style number on the company's orders and import invoice documentation.
the jackets will match the skirts in fabric, size, color and composition.
the suits will be imported with each jacket and matching skirt on separate hangers that are attached. Each individual garment will be covered by a poybag and the suit will be covered by another polybag. The hangers for the garments will be detachable.
style 30750431/30750411, is being sold by the importer as a set of garments to the buyers for retail stores.
the buyers are purchasing equal numbers of jackets and skirts, with each jacket and skirt in matching size and color.
the importer anticipates that some retailers will hang the garments together in the manner imported, while others will split the jackets and skirts and merchandise them in adjacent displays. The jackets and skirts will be individually ticketed for sale, whether hung together or hung separately.
although the garments are clearly designed to be worn together, due to the patterning of the fabric design, consumers will be able to purchase jackets and skirts in different sizes for fit considerations, or even as individual pieces.
in light of the consumer's ability to match different sizes or purchase one jacket or one skirt individually, certain buyers have indicated a desire to purchase additional quantities of either jackets or skirts.
if the importer makes such quantities available separately, this will involve separate purchase orders for the individual pieces, importation of any extra pieces as individual items and sale of the extra garments to the stores as individual pieces not shipped with matching articles.

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 a unit (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 definitions 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 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.

In this case, the importer orders (P.O. and foreign invoices) its suits as suits, matched by size and color. They are shipped as a unit. Moreover, the garments are principally sold and used as a unit, despite the possibility of 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 style 30750431/30750411 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 (style 30750431) will be 6204.31.2010, 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: Other: Women's. The duty rate will be 32.4 cents/kg plus 20 percent ad valorem.

When imported separately, the applicable subheading for the skirt (style 30750411) will be 6204.51.0010, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for Women's or Girls'...skirts...Of wool or fine animal hair: Women's. The duty rate will be 16.1 percent ad valorem.

The suit (style 30750431/30750411) falls within textile category designation 444. The jacket, when imported separately, falls within category 435 and the skirt within category 442. Based upon international textile trade agreements products of Taiwan 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.


Paul K. Schwartz
Chief, Textiles & Apparel Branch

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