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NY F83145

March 23, 2000

CLA-2-62:RR:NC:TA: 360 F83145


TARIFF NO.: 6204.19.2000; 6204.69.2510

Ms. Rebecca Cheung
Ann Taylor, Inc.
1372 Broadway
New York, NY 10018

RE: The tariff classification of women’s suits and pants from Hong Kong or China

Dear Ms. Cheung:

In your letter dated February 17, 2000, you requested a classification ruling. The sample submitted with your request will be returned to you under separate cover.

The submitted garments, designated as style numbers 51-41630 (jacket) and 52-41757 (pants), constitute a women’s suit constructed from 64% acetate and 36% polyester woven fabric. Both garments are fully lined. The jacket is constructed from eight panels sewn together lengthwise and features long hemmed sleeves, lapels, shoulder pads, two besom pockets below the waist and a full front opening secured by two buttons. The pants feature a hook-and-eye closure on the waist and a zippered placket in the center.

Although the garments are individually marked with separate style numbers, it is your intention to sell the garments as suits. You question how your marketing strategy will be perceived by Customs and have provided the following information:
the importer will purchase styles 51-41630 and 52-41757 as a suit, i.e., in equal numbers with each jacket and pant matching in fabric, size, color and composition;
the garments will be sold as a set of garments in retail stores;
the garments will be designated by separate style numbers on the company’s purchase orders and cross-referenced.
the garments will be designated as a suit on import invoice documentation;
the garments will be shipped together in the same container in equal numbers of matching tops and bottoms, matched to size, and will be allocated and shipped to stores in a 1 to 1 ratio, matched to size;
the garments will not be displayed together on a single hanger but will be displayed separately in adjacent locations;
although the garments are clearly designed to be worn together, consumers will be able to purchase jackets and pants in different sizes for fit considerations;
the jackets and pants will be individually ticketed for sale and will each component will be marked with country of origin and other information required by the Federal Trade Commission;
in light of the consumer’s ability to match different sizes, additional quantities of the pants may be required;
if additional or separate quantities of the pants are required, a separate purchase order will be provided;
the additional pieces may be imported either with the suits or separately.

Chapter 62 note 3 sets out the requirements for suits. In part, the note states that the term suit means a set of garments composed of two or three pieces made up...in identical fabric and comprising: one suit coat or jacket...consisting of four or more panels designed to cover the upper part of the body...and one garment designed to cover the lower part of the body... All of the components of a suit must be of the same fabric construction, style, color and composition; they must also be of the same style and of corresponding or compatible size.

Both garments in this case are constructed from identical woven fabric and color, and they are of the same composition. Because they are ordered and shipped as a unit (equal numbers) they are of corresponding or compatible size. Accordingly, by virtue of note 3(a) to Chapter 62, the garments meet the requirements for classification as a suit.

It should be noted that each of the definitions in Chapter 62 for suits refer to a “set of garments”, without limitation. In comparison, Note 3(b) which defines the term “ensemble” specifically requires that an ensemble be “put up for retail sale”. The silence of the suit definition in this area when compared to the express requirements contained in the ensemble definitions is a clear indication that Customs has no authority to impute the “put up for retail sale” requirement in the definition of “ensemble” to the definition of suits.

As a result, whether sets of garments which are not packed together in such a manner that they are readily identifiable as suits at the time of importation are classifiable as suits depends on the intent of the importer. If, at the time of importation, the importer has the bona fide intention to sell the suit components as suits, as evidenced by the documentation in the entry package, then the merchandise, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is classifiable as suits. If, at the time of importation, the importer has bona fide intention to sell the suit components separately, as evidenced by the documentation in the entry package, then the merchandise, in the absence of evidence to the contrary is classified as separates. If information is received that the garments are merchandised in a manner not consonant with the entered classification under 19 U.S.C. §1592 may of course be appropriate.

In this case, the importer orders (P.O. and foreign invoices) its suits as suits, matched by size and color. They are shipped as a unit. Moreover, the garments are principally sold and used as a unit, despite the possibility of their separate display. The jacket and bottom are designed and intended to go together and are primarily sold and worn by consumers as suits.

The applicable subheading for styles 51-41630 (jacket) and 52-41757 (pants) will be 6204.19.2000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for women's woven suits of artificial fibers. The duty rate will be 36.2cents/kg +26.5 percent ad valorem.

When imported separately or imported in the same shipment as a separate entity, the applicable subheading for style 52-41757 (pants) will be 6204.69.2510, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for women's woven trousers of artificial fibers. The duty rate will be 29.3 percent ad valorem.

Styles 51-41630 (jacket) and 52-41757 (pants) fall within textile category designation 644; when imported separately or imported in the same shipment as a separate entity, style 52-41757 (pants) falls within textile category designation 648. Based upon international textile trade agreements products of Hong Kong or China are subject to quota restraints and a visa requirement.

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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