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NY C84511

March 3, 1998



TARIFF NO.: 6205.30.2080; 6206.30.3060; 6204.52.2080; 6217.10.9510

Mr. Robert Glover
L.E. Coppersmith, Inc.
2041 Rosecrans Avenue, Third Floor
El Segundo, CA 90245

RE: The tariff classification of a Vietnamese Ao Dai and a Nigerian Iro, Buba an Gele costume from China, Hong kong and Taiwan.

Dear Mr. Glover:

In your letter dated February 6, 1998, on behalf of Lakeshore Learning Materials, you requested a classification ruling. The samples will be returned to you as requested.

Samples of two children's costumes were submitted with your request. Sample #1 is a Vietnamese Ao Dai costume consisting of woven 65% polyester/35% cotton fabric. The garment features long sleeves with a mandarin collar, slits on each side that measure approximately 2/3 of the side of the garment and a hook and loop tape closure that closes left over right from the neck to the side slit. Sample #2 is a Nigerian costume consisting of a Iro, Buba and Gele composed of woven 100% cotton fabric. The Nigerian costume features a skirt (iro), blouse (buba) and a (gele) that has multi purposes and can be worn on the head or neck. The blouse (buba) features short sleeves, and a jewel neckline with a center narrow deep "V" cut. The wrap skirt (Iro) has a hook and loop tape closure. The multi purpose item (Gele) is hemmed on all sides and measures approximately 12" by 43".


Whether the costumes are festive articles of chapter 95 or of textile articles of fancy dress classifiable under chapter 61 or 62.


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section of the chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (ENs) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRIs.

Heading 9505, HTSUSA, includes articles which are for "Festive, carnival, or other entertainment." It must be noted, however, that Note 1(e), chapter 95, HTSUSA, does not cover "fancy dress, of textiles, of chapter 61 or 62." The EN's to 9505, state that the heading covers:

(A) Festive, carnival or other entertainment articles, which in view of their intended use are generally made of non-durable material. They include:

(3) Articles of fancy dress, e.g., masks, false ears and noses, wigs, false beards and moustaches (not being articles of pastiche- heading 67.04), and paper hats. However, the heading excludes fancy dress of textile materials, of chapter 61 or 62.

In interpreting the phrase "fancy dress, of textiles, of chapter 61 or 62," Customs initially took the view that fancy dress included "all" costumes regardless of quality, durability, or the nature of the item. However, Customs has reexamined its view regarding the scope of the term "fancy dress" as it related to costumes. On November 15, 1994, Customs issued Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 957318, which referred to the settlement agreement of October 18, 1994, reached by the United States and Traveler Trading. In HRL 957318, Customs stated that it had agreed to classify as festive articles in subheading 9505.90.6000, costumes of a flimsy nature and construction, lacking in durability, and generally recognized as not being a normal article of apparel.

In view of the aforementioned, Customs must distinguish between costumes of chapter 95 (festive articles), and costumes of chapters 61 and 62 (articles of fancy dress). This can be accomplished by separately identifying characteristics in each article that would indicate whether or not it is of a flimsy nature and construction, lacking in durability, and generally recognized as a normal article of apparel.

The Vietnamese Ao Dai costume and the Nigerian costume do have finished hems on all sides, and well finished inside sewn seams. The overall amount of finishing is such that the articles are neither flimsy in nature or construction, nor lacking in durability.

Reference is made to Sample #1, the Vietnamese Ao Dai costume. Note 8 of Chapter 62 states: Garments of this chapter designed for left over right closure at the front shall be regarded as men's or boy garments, and those designed for right over left closure at the front as women's or girls' garments. These provisions do not apply where the cut of the garment clearly indicates that it is designed for one or other of the sexes.

The Nigerian costume consists of three pieces including two distinct garments, Note 13, Section XI, of the HTSUSA is applicable and provides: Unless the context otherwise requires, textile garments of different headings are to be classified in their own headings even if put in sets for retail sale. Note 13 of Section XI requires that the textile garments of different headings be separately classified, thus preventing classification of costumes consisting of two or more garments as sets. If a set cannot exist by application of Note 13, the articles which may be packaged with the garments must also be classified separately. Accordingly the accessory Gele must also be classified separately.

The applicable subheading for the Vietnamese Ao Dai will be 6205.30.2080, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for "Men's or boys' shirts: Of man-made fibers: Other: Other, Other: Other." The rate of duty will be 30.2 cents/kg + 26.9 percent ad valorem. The textile category designation is 640.

The applicable subheading for the Nigerian Iro (skirt) will be 6204.52.2080, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for Women's or girls' suits, ensembles, suit-type jackets, blazers, dresses, skirts, divided skirts, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (other than swimwear): Skirts and divided skirts: Of synthetic fibers: Other: Girls'. The rate of duty will be 16.2 percent ad valorem. The textile category designation is 342.

The applicable subheading for the blouse (Buba) will be 6206.30.3060, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for "Women's or girls' blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses: Of cotton: Other: Other: Girls': Other. The rate of duty will be 16 percent ad valorem. The textile category designation is 341.

The applicable subheading for the multi purpose item (Gele) will be 6217.10.9510, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for "Other made up clothing accessories; parts of garments or of clothing accessories, other than those of heading 6212: Accessories: Other: Other, Of cotton. The duty rate will be 15.1 percent ad valorem. The textile category designation is 359.

Based upon international textile trade agreements products of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are subject to quota and the requirement of a visa.

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 Kenneth Reidlinger at 212-466-5881.


Robert B. Swierupski
Chief, Textiles and Apparel Branch

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