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HQ 961735

November 21, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 961735 SG


TARIFF NO.: 6111.30.5040

Ms. Kristen Gibson
Import Analyst
Bath & Body Works
7 Limited Parkway East
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068

RE: Baby bib; composite goods

Dear Ms. Gibson:

This is in reference to your letter of February 25, 1998, in which you request a binding classification ruling for a baby bib under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted. We apologize for the delay in responding.


The merchandise at issue is an infant's bib, identified in your correspondence as a Simple Truths Baby Bib. The bib measures approximately 8 inches wide and 7 1/2 inches long with a snap closure around the neck. The bib is constructed of 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton knit front. The backing is 100 percent PVC. The bib has a woven, 100 percent cotton applique, with a simple goodness theme, sewn to the center. The bib is trimmed with 100 percent cotton woven edging. The bib is imported in 3 colors, 108143 is green, style 108131 is red, and style 108132 is blue. We note that the sample submitted is a Simple Goodness bib. It is our understanding that it is the same as the Simple Truths bib, just a different line.

The sample will be returned to you under separate cover.


1) Is the bib considered a "composite good" within the meaning of GRI 3, HTSUSA?

2) If considered composite goods, which part provides the essential character for classification under the HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relevant 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 be applied.

The infant's bib consists of both textile and plastic materials, which are sewn together. The bib is therefore prima facie classifiable as either a babies' garment and clothing accessory of heading 6111, or an other article of plastics of heading 3926, HTSUSA.

GRI 3 states, in pertinent part:

When by application of Rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be affected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods... those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials 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, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) states that:

The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In this case, the textile component forms the entire front of the article; it is decorative and eye catching in appearance, and the textile component prevents food and liquids from penetrating the bib's surface and soiling the wearer. It is the textile knit portion of this composite good which provides the primary barrier function, essential to its purpose. Therefore, the essential character of the infant's bib is imparted by the textile knit component.

The infant's bib, identified as a Simple Truths Baby Bib, is therefore classified under subheading 6111.30.5040, HTSUSA.


The infant's bib, identified as a Simple Truths Baby Bib, style 108143 (green), style 108131 (red), and style 108132 (blue), constructed of a 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton knit front, with a 100 percent PVC backing, is classified under subheading 6111.30.5040, HTSUSA, which provides for "Babies' garments and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted: Of synthetic fibers: Other: Other: Other." The general column one rate of duty is currently 16.3 percent ad valorem. The textile category designation is 239.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the 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 you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service which is updated weekly and is available for inspection at your local Customs office. The Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels) is also available on the Customs Electronic Bulletin Board (CEBB) which can be found on the U.S. Customs Service Website at www.customs.gov.

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

New York Preclassification Decision PD C88413, dated June 15, 1998, which was addressed to Bath & Body Works, describes a virtually identical bib. It was classified in heading 6211.

In addition, we note that NY ruling C84972, dated March 19, 1998, issued to Bath & Body Works, classified a Simple Truths Baby Bib, style 108131 (red). C84972 erred in its description in the facts (describing the bib as composed of pvc
with a polyester and cotton lining), resulting in the bib's classification in subheading 3926.20.9050, HTSUSA, as an other article of plastic. This ruling will not be revoked or amended as the classification is correct based on the facts contained in the ruling; however the facts were incorrect. This error in fact was not brought to our attention by your company.

On December 8, 1993, Title VI, (Customs Modernization), of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057), (hereinafter “Title VI”), became effective. Title VI amended many sections of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and related laws. Two new concepts which emerged from the law are “informed compliance” and “shared responsibility.” For example, under section 484 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, (19 U.S.C. §1484) the importer of record is responsible for using reasonable care to enter, classify and value imported merchandise, and provide any other information necessary to enable Customs to properly assess duties, collect accurate statistics and determine whether any other applicable legal requirement is met. This includes the importer’s responsibility of advising Customs of any and all substantially same or identical transactions, or same issues, which have previously been considered.

In order for an accurate classification determination to be made, the onus is on the party seeking a ruling to provide all necessary information including whether the same transaction or identical transaction, or same issues were previously considered. Where as in ruling C84972, the ruling issued incorrectly describes the article; it is the importer’s responsibility to advise Customs of its error. This error in fact was not brought to our attention by your company. The failure to do so may raise the rebuttable presumption of lack of reasonable care on the part of the importer or its agents for importations.

Reasonable care is an explicit responsibility on the part of the importer and is exercised by following the suggestions and protocols promulgated by the Customs Service in its publications, which include not only the various informed compliance publications available on Customs Web site (www.customs. treas. gov), but also include Customs rulings, Customs Regulations, Court decisions and statutory provisions. Please be advised that if Customs believes that reasonable care was not exercised a penalty action may be initiated under the appropriate regulatory or statutory provisions against the person believed to be the culpable party involved in the import transaction.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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