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NY F84376

April 28, 2000

CLA-2-62:RR:NC:TA:354 F84376


TARIFF NO.: 6212.10.9010

Mr. James S. O’Kelly and
Mr. Joseph M. Spraragen
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
475 Park Avenue South
New York, New York 10016

RE: The tariff classification and status under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), of a brassiere from Mexico; Article 509.

Dear Mr. O’Kelly and Mr. Spraragen:

In your letter dated March 23, 2000, you requested a ruling on the status of a brassiere from Mexico under the NAFTA, on behalf of The Urban Apparel Group.

Style 30318 is a women’s unconstructed brassiere constructed of a knitted 92% cotton 8% spandex fabric. The brassiere has removable adjustable elasticized shoulder straps, and will be packaged with two additional pairs of interchangeable shoulder straps. Additional features include an elasticized band measuring approximately one inch wide sewn into the bottom hem and elasticized trim around the top of the garment. The essential character of the brassiere is imparted by the knitted 92% cotton 8% spandex fabric of the garment body.

The knitted 92% cotton 8% spandex fabric used for the garment body is NAFTA originating (fibers, yarns and fabric are products of the United States which will be made into cut to shape pieces in the United States). The elasticized straps are a product of Hong Kong. You have indicated that cut fabric pieces will be shipped to Mexico for sewing assembly. The Mexican manufacturing plant will attach the straps to the bra and package the bra for retail sale along with the two additional pairs of straps.

There is no issue regarding the classification of the bra component of style 30318. There is an issue regarding the classification of the accompanying two pairs of shoulder straps because the bra and straps cannot be classified by application of the General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 1.

The provisions of GRI 2 do not apply in this case and so, we must apply GRI 3. Application of GRI 3 is appropriate where, as in this case, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings. GRI 3(a) directs classification be based upon the most specific heading, however, when two or more headings each refer to only part of the components in a composite good or set, each heading is to be considered equally specific.

In this case, heading 6212.10. Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), describes the brassiere, and heading 6212.90., HTSUSA describes the additional pairs of straps. Following GRI 3(a), the headings are equally specific and GRI 3(b) must be applied. GRI 3(b) provides that:

* * *, composite goods * * * or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, * * *.

However, before applying GRI 3(b), we must determine if the brassiere and additional straps constitute a composite good or goods put up in a set. While this distinction will not affect the essential character determination, it may affect the quota/visa requirements for the goods.

The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System defines composite goods made up of different components as:
not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

In regard to goods put up in sets for retail sale, the Explanatory Notes defines sets as goods which:

(a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings;

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity; and

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking.

In this case, the bra and each individual pair of straps are separable components that are adapted to each other, are mutually complementary, and together form a whole that would normally not be sold as separate parts. Although the bra is complete and is of a type that would be sold separately, the attachable straps clearly would not have any use without the bra with which they were designed to be worn.

It is Customs view that the bra and one pair of straps form a composite good. The Explanatory Notes describe separable components of composite goods as "together forming a whole." In this case, one pair of straps attached to the bra forms a whole. The remaining two pairs of straps are separate from "the whole".

Since only one pair of straps may be classified with the brassiere as a composite good, Customs must determine the classification of the remaining two pairs of straps. We believe they may be classified as part of a set with the composite good consisting of the bra and one pair of straps. The composite bra and straps are classifiable in heading 6212.10, HTSUSA, which is the classification heading applicable to the bra. This is based on a determination that the bra imparts the essential character to the composite. The two extra straps are classifiable in heading 6212.90, HTSUSA. Following the definition of sets stated above, we have at least two articles (the composite bra and extra pairs of straps) which are classifiable in different headings (6212.10 and 6212.90). The items are put together to meet a particular need, i.e., for the purpose of clothing a person, and they are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. We believe the bra imparts the essential character to the set and thus, the set is classifiable under the provision applicable to the composite which is the heading for the bra, heading 6212.10, HTSUSA.


Based upon the above analysis, the bra and three pairs of straps are classified as a set consisting of a composite good (the bra and one pair of straps) and the remaining two pair of straps. As the bra imparts the essential character of the composite, as well as the set, the applicable tariff provision for style 30318 will be 6212.10.9010, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for Brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted: brassieres: other: other: of cotton. The rate of duty will be 17.3 percent ad valorem.

As stated previously, the essential character of style 30318 is imparted by the knitted 92% cotton 8% spandex fabric which comprises the garment body. The garment is made in the NAFTA territories using NAFTA origin materials for that portion of the garment which determines the tariff classification of the good, thereby satisfying the requirements of HTSUSA General Note 12(b)(ii) and General Note 12(t) Chapter 61 rule 2. Style 30318 is entitled to a Free Rate of duty under the NAFTA upon compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and agreements.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 181 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 181).

This ruling letter is binding only as to the party to whom it is issued and may be relied on only by that party.

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 Brian Burtnik at 212-637-7083.

Should you wish to request an administrative review of this ruling, submit a copy of this ruling and all relevant facts and arguments within 30 days of the date of this letter, to the Director, Commercial Rulings Division, Headquarters, U.S. Customs Service, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20229.


Robert B. Swierupski

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