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NY E85144

October 28, 1999

CLA-2-62:RR:NC:TA:360 E85144


TARIFF NO.: 6211

Ms. Radha Kolli
590 Pinehurst Drive
Canton, MI 48188

RE: The tariff classification of two articles claimed to be “India Items”; “Saree” and “Choli” from India

Dear Ms. Kolli:

In your letter dated August 6, 1999, you requested a classification ruling. The samples submitted with your request will be returned under separate cover. We apologize for the delay in responding to your request.


You have submitted two articles, which you have designated as a “Saree” and a “Choli”. You have identified these articles as traditional garments worn by women in northern India and ask for confirmation that these articles qualify as "India Items" and therefore, exempt from quota.

No style designations were provided for the submitted articles. All of the articles are made of identical woven fabric and will consist of varying fiber compositions: 50% silk and 50% cotton, 100% silk, 100% rayon, 100% cotton and 100% polyester.

The first article is an abbreviated upper body garment. It extends from the shoulders to above the waist and features a scoop neckline, ¾ length sleeves and a full front opening secured by metal hook and eye (thread) fasteners. The sleeves are hemmed and contain an embroidered leaf-like design.

The second article is a piece of fabric approximately 45 inches wide by 18 feet long, which the inquirer stated is wrapped around the body. The fabric has selvedges along the lengthwise ends; one bottom edge has a rolled hem while the other contains an applied fringe. The saree contains the same leaf-like design found on the choli interspersed throughout. Halfway toward the fringed end there is a more elaborate embroidered floral design embellished with beads.


Designation as an “India Item” exempt from quota is determined by the language of the bilateral textile agreement between the United States and India and not by the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). The U.S./India bilateral textile agreement, at Annex E, Head Note describes “India Items”, in part as:
traditional folklore handicraft textile products made in the cottage industry. They comprise clothes, clothing accessories and decorative furnishings whose shape and design are traditionally and historically Indian.

These products should not include zip fasteners and must be ornamented using one of the following methods:

· handpainting (including Kalamkari) or handprinting or handicraft tie and dye or handicraft Batik
· embroidered or crocheted ornamentation, · applique work of sequins, glass or wooden beads, shells, mirrors or ornamental motif of textile and other materials, · extra weft ornamentation of cotton, silk, zari (metal thread in gold/silver), wool or any other fiber yarn.

Exceptions: Churidar pyjama, salwar and gararra need not be ornamented.

In summary, in order to be considered an "India Items" the articles must meet:

1) the definition provided in the agreement;

2) be ornamented using one of the four approved methods; and

3) have a traditional Indian pattern or design.

The term “Sari” or Saree” is not listed as an approved item in the bilateral agreement.

A choli is defined as:

A short blouse ending at or above the waist, with or without sleeves, without an out-turned collar.

In addition to the information found in the bilateral agreement, the January 15, 1995 issue of the Federal Register (60 FR 16 at 4892) contained further guidelines:

Indian items may not include closure devices such as zippers, elastic (any form), elasticized fabric (any form), or hook-and-pile fasteners (such as “Velcro” or other similar holding fabric). In addition, buttons (including snap buttons) may not be used as a means of securing the waist of such Indian items as salwar, ghagra/lahnga and pavadai.

The submitted cloth that you designated as a “Sari” or “Saree” is not defined in the bilateral agreement. The article does not fulfill the requirements for eligibility as an “India Item”. The abbreviated upper body garment fits the definition of a “Choli” already cited . Although the cut and shape of the garment is consistent with the traditional design of a “Choli” we do not consider the non-substantial embroidery on the sleeve ornamented in a pattern characteristic of the traditional Indian folk styles. This garment also does not fulfill the requirements for eligibility as an “India Item”. These articles therefore do not qualify as quota exempt “India Items” as defined in the agreement.


The “Saree” and “Choli” are both classified as follows, depending on the fiber content:

Fiber Content HTS Duty Rate Category

If 50% silk/50% cotton** 6211.49.9090 7.6% 859 If 100% silk 6211.49.1090 4.5% 759
If 100% rayon 6211.43.0091 16.5% 659
If 100% cotton 6211.42.0081 8.4% 359
If 100% polyester 6211.43.0091 16.5% 659

**As this blend is almost nonexistent, the inquirer should be cautioned that the slightest fiber content variation may result in a change of classification, as well as, visa and quota.

As these articles are not “India Items” based upon international textile trade agreements products of India are subject to quota and the requirement of a visa.

The designated textile and apparel categories and their quota and visa status are the result of international agreements that are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes. To obtain the most current information, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the U.S. Customs Service Textile Status Report, an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available at the Customs Web site at www.customs.gov. In addition, 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 and should also be verified at the time of shipment.

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 212-637-7080.


Robert B. Swierupski

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