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HQ 963467

April 25, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 963467 jb


TARIFF NO.: 6109.10.0060

Brenda Jacobs, Esq.
Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy LLP
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004

RE: Classification of women’s knit upper body garment; revocation of PD E87711

Dear Ms. Jacobs:

This is in response to your letter, dated October 15, 1999, on behalf of your client, Hoi Meng Garment Manufactory Ltd., regarding a request for reconsideration of Port Decision Letter (PD) E87711, dated September 29, 1999, which addressed the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) of a woman's knit top. Upon review of that ruling we find that the classification of that merchandise in heading 6114, HTSUS, is in error. The correct classification for this merchandise is in heading 6109, HTSUS, pursuant to the analysis which follows below.


The subject sleeveless garment, referenced style number 1, is composed of a 100 percent cotton rib knit fabric and features ¼ inch elasticized shoulder straps, a “U” shaped neckline in front and back, and a hemmed bottom. The garment also has a double layer of fabric at the front bodice and embroidery at the top of the front of the garment.


What is the proper classification for the subject garment?


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

The two classification provisions at issue for this merchandise are heading 6109, and heading 6114, HTSUS. Note 5 to chapter 61, HTSUS, states that, “Heading 6109 does not cover garments with a drawstring, ribbed waistband or other means of tightening at the bottom of the garment.” Heading 6109, HTSUS, provides for, among other things, tank tops. As the term “tank top” is neither defined in the legal notes to the HTSUS nor in the corresponding Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN), we look to the Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88 (1988), (herein Guidelines) for assistance. The Guidelines definition of the term “tank top” is indicative of a garment which is:

...sleeveless with oversized armholes, with or without a significant drop below the arm. The front and the back may have a round, V, U, scoop, boat, square or other shaped neck which must be below the nape of the neck. The body of the garment is supported by straps not over two inches in width reaching over the shoulder. The straps must be attached to the garment and not be easily detachable. Bottom hems may be straight or curved, side-vented, or of any other type normally found on a blouse or shirt, including blouson or drawstring waists or an elastic bottom. The following features would preclude a garment from consideration as a tank top:

1) pockets, real or simulated, other than breast pockets; 2) any belt treatment including simple loops; 3) any type of front or back neck opening (zipper, button, or otherwise).

This definition is consistent with the definition found in Charlotte Mankey Calasibetta’s Essential Terms of Fashion (1986) at 221:

Similar to men’s undershirt with U-neckline and deep armholes, shaped toward shoulder to form narrow straps; named for tank suit....

Before we can even arrive at the features which would preclude a garment from qualifying as a tank top, a garment must already possess certain basic features. It is clear from these definitions that the fundamental features of a “tank top” require a drop below the neckline front and back, as well as deep armholes in order to form narrow straps. These features are critical in creating the silhouette which is the distinguishing characteristic of the tank top.

The subject garment falls squarely within the descriptions set forth in the above stated definitions. That is, the shoulder straps are two inches or less in width, the neckline (both front and back) is U-shaped, the armholes are oversized, and there is no tightening at the bottom. As such, the subject sample is commonly recognized as what is known in the trade as a “tank top”, and qualifies for classification in heading 6109, HTSUS.

Heading 6114, HTSUS, provides for other garments, knitted or crocheted. The EN to that heading state that, “this heading covers knitted or crocheted garments which are not included more specifically in the preceding headings of this Chapter.” Accordingly, as we have already determined that the subject garment is more specifically recognized as a “tank top” in heading 6109, HTSUS, we are precluded from classifying this merchandise in heading 6114, HTSUS.


PD E87711 is revoked.

The subject garment, referenced style 1, is correctly classified in subheading 6109.10.0060, HTSUSA, which provides for, T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar garments, knitted or crocheted: of cotton: women’s or girls’: tank tops: women’s. The applicable general column one rate of duty is 18.3 percent ad valorem and the textile quota 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 renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest your client check, close to the time of shipment, the Status 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) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, your client should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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