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NY E86346

October 7, 1999

CLA-2-63:RR:NC:3:353 E86346


TARIFF NO.: 6309.00.0010

Ms. Stacy M. Reynaud
403-1955 Haro St.
Vancouver, BC
V6G 1J1

RE: The tariff classification of used clothing from Canada.

Dear Ms. Reynaud:

In your letter dated August 30, 1999 you requested a tariff classification ruling. No samples were submitted with the ruling request.

You state that the merchandise is question is used clothing consisting of pants, coats, jackets, blazers, tee shirts, shirts, blouses, sweaters, dresses, skirts, housecoats and undergarments. You further state that the clothing is not in new condition and is noticeably worn or damaged. You informed this office by telephone that each piece is unique and unlike any other piece of clothing in the shipment.

Heading 6309, HTSUS, provides for worn clothing and other worn textile articles. Both legal note 3 to chapter 63, HTSUS, and the Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN) to heading 6309, HTSUS, explicitly state that for merchandise to qualify in this provision, two criteria must be met:

- They must show signs of appreciable wear, whether or not they require cleaning or repair before use. - They must be presented in bulk (e.g., in railway goods wagons) or in bales, sacks or similar bulk packings, or in bundles tied together without external wrapping, or packed roughly in crates

The term “appreciable wear” is descriptive of a garment or other article whose appearance has noticeably changed from its original/new/unused stage. This change in appearance must be the result of the various naturally occurring stages to which a fabric succumbs as a result of continuous use. The following descriptions are indicative that an article has been “appreciably worn”, that is the article has been used over an extended period of time such that the following physical changes can be seen on the fabric:

Fraying the slipping or raveling of yarns at the edges of garments; Threadbare the nap has worn off enough so that the threads are revealed; Shiny Fabric the nap has been worn away, revealing a smooth fabric that reflects light; Fabric Worn Thin abrasion has caused the yarns to become so thin that the fabric becomes virtually transparent, revealing the skin or undergarment; Loose Seams repeated stress on the seams where the components are joined causing the seams to loosen and separate; Torn Seams stress of wear over time has caused the seam to tear; Pilling small tangles or balls of fibers formed when the surface of the material is rubbed against itself or another substance; Abrasion loss of appearance, utility, pile or surface due to the destructive action of surface wear and rubbing; Fading fabric’s color dyes lighten due to a chemical reaction to the sun, pollutants, etc., Shrinkage reduction in the length or width of material caused by certain treatment (e.g., washing); Staining discoloration caused by exposure to sweat or other external sources such as oil, dirt and grease; Holes, Tears, Rips resulting from exposure to moths or other insects, or as the result of continuous use.

Most of these characteristics will be found on a garment that is “appreciably worn.” The ill-effects of continued or habitual use of the article must be readily apparent (as evidenced by the fabric of that article). The following factors will be taken into consideration when classifying merchandise under heading 6309:

- Do the articles show “appreciable wear”? What are the physical changes to the fabric? How many of these physical changes are evident? To what degree have these changes occurred, thereby changing the appearance of the article? - Do the changes in the article detract from the overall appearance? - Are the articles presented in bulk or in bundles?

It should be noted that often “antique” or “vintage” clothing is claimed as qualifying for classification in heading 6309, HTSUS. The terms “antique” and “vintage” do not speak to the physical condition of the garments, but to the time period in which the article was the style of the day. A garment that is “antique or “vintage” may not show any signs of appreciable wear. The simple fact that a garment is old or out of style will not make it “worn” for tariff purposes. Neither will the fact that the article needs some cleaning or repair before it an be used.

Thus, the determination of whether a garment shows signs of “appreciable wear” in neither based on the age of the garment, nor the number of times it has been worn. Such a determination is correlated directly to the appearance of the garment’s fabric and thus the garment as a whole. “Appreciably worn” garments will exhibit stress at the seams, tearing, fraying and be threadbare.

Because of the bulk shipping requirement, unique nature of each garment, and the requirement that each garment be “appreciably worn”, the appropriateness of classification under subheading 6309.00.0010 , HTSUSA, cannot be determined until the time of importation. If the shipment meets the above stated requirements, the applicable subheading will be 6309.00.0010, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for “Worn clothing and other worn articles....Worn clothing.” The rate of duty will be 0.9% ad valorem.

It should be noted that entry will not be accepted under subheading 6309.00.0010, HTSUSA, if any article within the bale, sack or similar packing does not meet the requirements of appreciable wear, and has been commingled with the clothing classified under subheading 6309.00.0010, HTSUSA, which does show appreciable wear. The burden is on the importer to resubmit the entry and classify the merchandise in the appropriate tariff provision, other than subheading 6309.00.0010, HTSUSA, and meet any applicable quota/visa requirements.

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 212-637-7084.


Robert B. Swierupski

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