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HQ 962092

June 1, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 962092 RH


TARIFF NO.: 6110.20.2075

Ms.Joanna Cheung
Trade Specialist
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs
1520 18th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Classification of Women’s cotton knitted garments; Pre-Classification Ruling C83955 Superceded

Dear Ms. Chau:

This is in reply to a letter of July 30, 1998, from Ms. Fiona Chau concerning the classification of two consignments of women’s cotton knitted garments. Hong Kong issued export license numbers 8HK609063 and 8HK611479 under textile category 338/339 for the two shipments. The importer is Eddie Bauer, Inc.

The sample you provided is being returned to you, as requested, under separate cover.


The sample garment is a size medium woman’s knitted sleeveless cardigan-style garment with a full-front buttoned opening. There are five buttons which close right-over left. The neckband is unbuttoned and falls open in a V-shape. The 2 by 2 rib knit fabric has more that nine stitches per two centimeters, measured in the direction in which the stitches were formed, but it has less than ten stitches per linear centimeter in the vertical and horizontal directions. The cardigan-style garment extends from the wearer’s neck and shoulders to below the waist. The entry summary reflects that the merchandise was entered by the importer under subheading 6110.20.2075, the provision for knitted or crocheted sweaters, pullovers and similar articles.

In your letter, you state that Customs denied entry of the shipment covered by export license number 8HK609063. Customs issued a Notice to Redeliver the merchandise on April 21, 1998, which contained the following remarks:

Correct classification is under 6110.20.2035. Category 339 visa which was presented with the entry was Incorrect – Correct category is 359-2.

Re-delivery may be cancelled after presentation of correct visa and acceptance into quota.

You further state that Customs issued a Pre-Entry Classification Ruling (PC), PC C83955, dated March 2, 1998, to Eddie Bauer, Inc., for the shipment of garments covered by export license number 8HK611479. In that ruling, Customs classified the garments referenced as styles 42B03185, under subheading 6110.20.2035, HTSUSA. Garments entered under that tariff provision require a visa for textile category 359.

In your opinion, the garments are classifiable as blouses under heading 6106, HTSUSA. We note that your office requested two waivers in category 359(2) from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Textiles and Apparel, which were issued on October 5, 1999.


What is the correct classification of the women’s knitted sleeveless cardigan-style garments?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in order. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied, in the order of their appearance.

Additionally, in understanding the language of the HTSUSA, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) may be utilized. The ENs, although not legally binding, comprise the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level.

Heading 6106, HTSUSA, provides for "[w]omen's or girls' blouses and shirts, knitted or crocheted." Note 4 to Chapter 61, HTSUSA, reads as follows:

Headings 6105 and 6106 do not cover garments with pockets below the waist, with a ribbed waistband or other means of tightening at the bottom of the garment, or garments having an average of less than 10 stitches per linear centimeter in each direction counted on an area measuring at least 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters. Heading 6105 does not cover sleeveless garments.

Moreover, the ENs to heading 6106 state, in part, that:

Garments not regarded as women’s or girls’ blouses, shirts or shirt-blouses and excluded from this heading in accordance with Chapter Note 4 are generally classified as follows: Having a ribbed waistband or other means of tightening at the bottom of the garment, or having an average of less than 10 stitches per linear centimetre; heading 61.02 or 61.10.

As directed by Note 4, Chapter 61, the garment in this case is not classifiable as a knitted blouse in heading 6106 because its stitch count is less than 10 stitches per linear centimeter. As further discussed in the EN, the garment may be classifiable in heading 6110, which encompasses “[s]weaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted.” The pre-classification decision classified the garment as a vest within that heading.

Although there is no specific definition of “vest” in the HTSUSA, ENs or the Textile Category Guidelines (CIE 13/88), Customs has consistently classified as vests only those garments which are designed to be worn over another outer garment. Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 954939, dated January 6, 1994. In that ruling, the garment under consideration was sleeveless with large armholes and a deep U-shaped neck in front and back. It also had 3¾-inch tank-style shoulder straps. The ruling cited The Essential Terms of Fashion, by Charlotte Mankey Calasibetta, which defined a “vest” as “[a]n item of wearing apparel extending to the waist or longer, similar to a sleeveless jacket, usually worn over a blouse or shirt and sometimes under a suit jacket.”

The elements of a vest found in HQ 954939 were also applied in HQ 954713, dated January 6, 1993 (a knit sleeveless garment with a deep U-shaped neckline in the front, large armholes and tank-top shoulder straps was classifiable as a vest); and HQ 953771, dated July 7, 1993 (a knit, sleeveless garment with a full-front opening and button closure, V-shaped neckline and loose-fitting was classifiable as a vest).

In the instant case, the garments do not possess the characteristics of a vest. Unlike the garments in HQ 954939, HQ 954713 and HQ 953771, they are close fitting and would not be worn over another garment. The armholes and neckline are not oversized and do not expose undergarments. We find that the garments are akin to a the garments enumerated in heading 6110, HTSUSA.


PC C83955 is superseded, in part, as it pertains to the classification of the subject garments. A copy of this decision should be attached to a copy of the pre-classification decision and presented to Customs upon entry of the merchandise.

The garments under consideration are classifiable under subheading 6110.20.2075, HTSUSA, which provides, in part, for sweaters, pullovers and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, of cotton. They are dutiable at the general column one rate at 18.2 percent ad valorem and the textile category is 339.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent negotiations and changes, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service which is updated weekly and is available at the local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) categories, you should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements. Sincerely,

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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