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HQ 963483

April 11, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 963483 SS


TARIFF NO.: 6102.30.1000

Mr. Thomas Hardie
Tri-Port Worldwide
366 Pearsall Avenue
Cedarhurst, N.Y. 11516

RE: Classification of a women’s knitted poncho-like garment; Women’s capes, cloaks and similar articles; Heading 6102, HTSUSA

Dear Mr. Hardie:

This is in response to your request on behalf of your client, 525 Made in America, dated September 15, 1999, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of a women’s “knit cape” manufactured in Hong Kong. A sample was submitted with your request.


The submitted sample, Style number W692, consists of 35 percent rayon, 29 percent lambswool, 20 percent nylon, 8 percent angora and 8 percent cashmere fibers. Its jersey knit fabric has 9 or fewer stitches per 2 centimeters, measured in the direction in which the stitches were formed. The body of this large, rectangular-shaped garment, when folded over one time to replicate the state in which it is worn, measures 48 inches in width by 30 inches in length. The garment has a turtleneck opening at its center and is worn by pulling it over the wearer’s head. There is a six inch long sleeve ending, or cuff, at the top of each side which covers the wrists of the wearer. Other than these sleeve endings, the sides are completely open. The sides and the bottom are finished with a narrow band of rib knit fabric. In addition, the bottom of the garment is decorated with fringed yarn. Except for the attached cuffs, the sample closely resembles a poncho or Mexican serape.


What is the proper classification of the women’s knitted cape under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?


Classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRIs”). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (EN) 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 GRI.

Heading 6102, HTSUSA, provides for “[w]omen’s or girls’ overcoats, carcoats, capes, cloaks, anoraks (including ski-jackets), windbreakers and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, other than those of heading 6104:.” The EN to heading 6102 state that the provisions of the EN to heading 6101 apply mutatis mutandis to the articles of the heading. The EN to heading 6101 state that the heading covers a category of garments characterized by the fact that they are generally worn over all other clothing for protection against weather. The EN also state that the heading specifically covers “capes including ponchos.”

We note the following dictionary definitions:

Cape - sleeveless outer garment of any length hanging loosely from the shoulders; usually covering back, shoulders, arms. The Fashion Dictionary – Mary Brook Picken, Revised, Funk & Wagnalls, New York.

Poncho – (1) fashion item shaped like a square or small oblong blanket with a hole in the center for the head, frequently fringed; (2) Utilitarian garment consisting of waterproof fabric with a slash in the center for the head; when worn it was used as a rain cape, when not worn it could be used as a blanket. Dictionary of Fashion – Charlotte Mankey Calasibetta, Second Edition, Revised, Fairchild Books, New York.

Customs has recognized that capes and ponchos belong within headings 6101 and 6102, HTSUSA, when knitted or crocheted, and headings 6201 and 6202, HTSUSA, when not knitted or crocheted. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 085964, dated February 9, 1990, Customs classified a knit cape under heading 6102, HTSUSA. The cape was worn over other wearing apparel for warmth and extended from the neck to approximately the mid-thigh in front and back and to the hips at the sides. In HQ 086974, dated August 3, 1990, Customs classified another cape under heading 6102, HTSUSA. The cape was knitted in one continuous rectangular piece and had a slit at one end up to the midpoint of the piece which allowed the article to be draped around the neck to cover the body and shoulders. It also had a ruffle along the entire edge of the garment. In HQ 086610, dated March 16, 1990, Customs classified a woven poncho under heading 6202, HTSUSA. The poncho was described as being rectangular in shape with side openings. Furthermore, numerous ponchos described as pullover garments which lack armholes and hang freely from the shoulder have been classified under headings 6101, 6102, 6201 and 6202, HTSUSA. See New York Ruling Letter (NY) 802345, dated October 14, 1994; NY 806059, dated January 31, 1995; NY 857566, dated November 19, 1990; District Ruling Letter (PD) A87576, dated October 10, 1996; PD C87773, dated May 20, 1998; NY C88576, dated June 18, 1998; NY E85191, dated August 26, 1999 and NY E86319, dated September 24, 1999.

A variety of articles similar to capes and ponchos have also been classified under headings 6101, 6102, 6201 and 6202, HTSUSA. In NY 880439, dated December 16, 1992, Customs classified a poncho described as “sleeveless with over sized armholes” under heading 6202, HTSUSA. The armholes extended past the shoulders and covered part of the upper arm, giving the garment a “cape-like” effect. The garment also had a U-shaped neckline and bottom hem trimmed with fringe. In NY A88757, dated November 1, 1996, Customs classified a “Shaw Poncho Scarf” as a cape. The cape had a full frontal opening with an attached scarf and three button and loop fasteners at the neck. The cape was sleeveless, hung loosely from the shoulders and had twisted fringe at the end.

Customs does not find that the sleeve endings or turtleneck features on the subject garment preclude classification under heading 6102, HTSUSA. Customs has classified several ponchos with tightening around the wrists under the headings for capes and ponchos. In PD A87576, dated October 10, 1996, Customs classified a poncho described as having long sleeves with rib knit cuffs under heading 6202, HTSUSA. In NY 854201, undated, Customs classified a poncho described as having long sleeves with hook and loop type fasteners on the sleeve cuffs under heading 6201, HTSUSA. The sleeve endings or cuffs on the instant garment serve to secure the garment on the body similar to side fasteners on other ponchos previously classified under heading 6102, HTSUSA. See HQ 086610 (cited above) and NY A84526, dated June 28, 1996. Additionally, Customs has classified ponchos with a variety of neck treatments or hoods under heading 6102, HTSUSA. See HQ 086610, NY A88757 and PD A84526 (cited above).

Customs believes that the instant garment should be classified in the appropriate provision for a garment which is similar to a women’s knitted cape. Its body length, which covers the upper torso from the neck to the shoulders and extends below the hips, combined with the closely knit fabric of man-made and wool fibers provide the wearer with protection from cold weather. Furthermore, the appearance of the garment, with its pullover nature, open sides, blanket-like appearance and fringe, satisfies the dictionary understanding of a poncho, which is included in heading 6102, HTSUSA. Accordingly, we find that the subject merchandise should be classified as a garment similar to a women’s knitted cape under heading 6102, HTSUSA.

Customs is aware of NY E83959, dated July 26, 1999, which classified a similar garment under heading 6110, HTSUSA, as a pullover sweater. Customs does not believe that these garments are pullover sweaters because they have features uncharacteristic of a sweater such as lack of sleeves or armhole openings and open sides. Furthermore, Customs does not believe that the garments are considered in the trade to be sweaters. Therefore, to the extent that NY E83959 is inconsistent with this ruling, please be advised that NY E83959 is currently being reviewed for modification.


Women’s knitted cape style number W692 is classifiable under subheading 6102.30.1000, HTSUSA, which provides for “Women’s or girls’ overcoats, carcoats, capes, cloaks, anoraks (including ski-jackets), windbreakers and similar articles, knitted or crocheted, other than those of heading 6104: Of man-made fibers: Other: Containing 23 percent or more by weight of wool or fine animal hair.” The general column one duty rate is 66 cents per kilogram plus 19.3 percent ad valorem. The textile quota category is 435.

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 that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restrain Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your 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 applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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