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HQ 963713

November 21, 2000

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 963713 mbg


TARIFF NO.: 6206.30.3010

Port Director
U.S. Customs Service
Los Angeles-Long Beach Seaport
300 South Ferry Street
Terminal Island, CA 90731

RE: Decision on Application for Further Review of Protest No. 2704-99-101020; classification of women’s knitwear

Dear Ms. Adams:

This is a decision on an application for further review of a protest timely filed by Prominent U.S.A., Inc., of New York City, which is a subsidiary of Itochu, International, Inc. of New York City. This protest was filed against your decision regarding the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) for a women’s blouse. The Protestant disagrees with the decision of the port to liquidate the subject merchandise under subheading 6110.20.2075, HTSUSA, as knitted or crocheted sweaters, pullovers, and similar articles, and claims that the merchandise was properly classified and entered under 6206.30.3040, HTSUSA, as women’s shirts or blouses.


The submitted sample, Style No. 97252, is a women’s pullover worn on the upper body which is made from both knitted and woven fabric. The overall fiber content of the pullover is stated to be 70 percent cotton, 25 percent polyester and 5 percent rayon. The exclusively knitted fabric is composed of 60 percent cotton, 40 percent polyester whereas the woven fabric is 85 percent cotton and 15 percent “polyester and rayon.” You state that the country of origin of the merchandise is Hong Kong.

The pullover has short, hemmed sleeves and a scoop-front neckline that extends straight across the nape of the neck at the rear. The neckline has no opening that fastens. The rear of the pullover is made from woven fabric which resembles denim, while its front and sleeves consist of knitted fabric. Additionally, at the front of the pullover are two flaps made of woven textile material that is formed in a lattice pattern. The sides of the flaps are securely and permanently sewn to the sides of the pullover. At the wearer’s option, they may also be fastened together at the center front by means of a single button and loop closure. When these flaps are fastened, they give the appearance of a vest worn over a separate pullover; yet, due to the construction of the garment, the whole constitutes only one garment.

The protest involves two styles numbers, 97252 (described above) and 97352. A sample of style 97352 was not submitted to the Office of Regulations & Rulings for review, however, you submit that style 97352 is of identical design, but made in a larger size. You may therefore use this protest review decision as controlling for both style 97252 and 97352 assuming that the garments are identical except for size.


What is the proper classification under the HTSUSA for the subject merchandise?


Classification of goods under the 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.

The contentious issue in this protest concerns classification under the HTSUS. Specifically, whether the subject merchandise is properly classified as a women’s knitted cotton pullover in subheading 6110.20.2075, HTSUSA, or as a non-knitted cotton women’s blouse in subheading 6206.30.3010, HTSUSA. Although the subject merchandise was originally entered in subheading 6206.30.3040, HTSUSA, you are now seeking classification in subheading 6206.30.3010, HTSUSA. The difference in this ten digit classification concerns the number of colors in the warp or filling of the garment and upon review, discussion of 6206.30.3010, HTSUSA, providing for two or more colors in the warp or filling is correct.

Heading 6110, HTSUS, provides for “Sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted,” while heading 6206, HTSUS, provides for “Women’s or girls’ blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses.” The classification of the subject merchandise is questioned because the styling of the garment contains both woven and knit portions. The Protestant claims that the garment is a “two-fer” as it consists of both knit and woven fabric. The subject merchandise is designed so that it appears the wearer is dressed in a knit top with a woven vest over the top. The knit portion of the garment consists only of the front, shoulders and sleeves of a knit garment. The back portion is woven and is attached to the knit portion at the shoulder seam, back of the armhole, and the side seam of the knit panel. The vest portion of the garment consists of blue denim fabric interlaced with printed plaid denim fabric which is then stitched to the body of the garment on the sides and which also has a front button closure.

Since the garment’s styling provides for both knit and woven fabrics, there is not an eo nomine provision within the HTSUS which allows for classification of the subject merchandise pursuant to GRI 1. Customs must analyze the subject merchandise pursuant to the remaining GRI.

General Rule of Interpretation (GRI) 3 states:

(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 or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, 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.

The EN to GRI 3(b) state:

(VII). In all these cases the goods are to be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

(VIII). The factor which determines the 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.

Due to the construction and styling of the blouse, Customs must determine whether the knit or woven fabric constitutes the essential character of the garment. The subject merchandise consist of a woven outer shell in the form of a vest with a woven exterior back portion. The front of the garment (the actual vest portion) is an open weave in a cross-hatch pattern which permits the knit portion to be seen through the open portions of the weave. When the vest portion is fastened, the only knitted sections which are visibly exposed for the subject garment are the sleeves and the area of the neckline on the front of the garment. The woven fabric covers the back and the vest portion of the garment’s front and therefore consists of the largest surface area that is exposed to public view. It is Customs view that the woven fabric constitutes the essential character for the subject merchandise. Therefore, pursuant to GRI 3(b) the subject merchandise is classified as a women’s blouse in heading 6206, HTSUS.


The subject merchandise, Style No. 97252, is classified in subheading 6206.30.3010, HTSUSA, as “Women’s or girl’s blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses: Of cotton: Other: Other: With two or more colors in the warp and/or the filling: Women’s.” The 1999 general column one duty rate is 16 percent ad valorem. The designated textile restraint number is 341.

The protest should be GRANTED. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry or entries in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision.

Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to Customs personnel, and to the public on the Customs Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.customs.gov, by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


John Durant, Director

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