United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 2001 HQ Rulings > HQ 964401 - HQ 964504 > HQ 964489

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 964489

July 26, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 964489 mbg


TARIFF NO.: 6102.30.2010

Ms. Joanna Cheung
Trade Specialist
Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office
1520 18th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Classification of Women’s Knitwear

Dear Ms. Cheung:

On September 1, 2000, the Office of Regulations & Rulings received a request from the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office concerning the tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (“HTSUSA”) of a women’s knit garment. The garment was originally classified as a knit jacket under heading 6102, HTSUS. Your office disagrees with the decision of Customs to classify the subject merchandise as a knitted jacket under heading 6102, HTSUSA, and claims that the merchandise is properly classified and entered as an other knit garment under 6110, HTSUSA. A sample was submitted with your request.


The submitted sample, style 4981, is a women’s knitted garment which has long sleeves with rib knit cuffs, an attached hood with a drawstring closure; and a full front, zippered opening to the neck with a drawstring closure at the bottom. At the ends of each of the two drawstrings there is a heavy metal tip which weighs down the string and which helps to pull it closed. On the hangtag which is attached to the jacket, there is a description of the fabric as “polar fleece.” We note the jacket is made from 100 percent polyester knitted fabric which is napped on each side. This fabric has more than nine stitches per two centimeters measured in the direction in which the stitches are formed. Due to the styling, the garment appears to be intended for wear over other wearing apparel and it extends from the wearer’s neck and shoulders to below her waist.


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 facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.

Customs would like to emphasize that classification of goods in the HTSUSA is based under the GRIs on the terms of the headings and legal notes and not on a comparison of the textile restraint categories.

The issue in the instant case is whether the submitted sample is properly classifiable as a women's windjacket or as an article similar to a sweater, pullover or sweatshirt. Heading 6102, HTSUS, eo nomine provides for “Women’s or girls’ overcoats, carcoats, capes, cloaks, anoraks (including ski-jackets), wind cheaters, wind jackets and similar articles, knitted or crocheted” and Heading 6110, HTSUS, eo nomine provides for “Sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted.”

The EN to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System constitute the official interpretation of the nomenclature at the international level. While not legally binding, they do represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the EN when interpreting the HTSUSA.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 6101, which apply mutatis mutandis to the articles of heading 6102, HTSUSA, state:

[T]his heading covers ... [garments for women or girls’], characterised by the fact that they are generally worn over all other clothing for protection against the weather.

It includes:

Overcaots, raincoats, car-coats, capes including ponchos, cloaks, anoraks including ski-jackets, wind cheaters, wind-jackets and similar articles, such as three-quarter coats, greatcoats, hooded capes, duffel coats, gabardines, parkas, padded waistcoats.

(emphasis added).

The EN to heading 6110, state:

This heading covers a category of knitted or crocheted articles, without distinction between male or female wear, designed to cover the upper parts of the body (jerseys, pullovers, cardigans, waistcoats and similar articles).

(emphasis added).

In circumstances such as these, where the identity of a garment is ambiguous for classification purposes, reference to The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88, (“Guidelines”) is appropriate. The Guidelines were developed and revised in accordance with the HTSUSA to ensure uniformity, to facilitate statistical classification, and to assist in the determination of the appropriate textile categories established for the administration of the Arrangement Regarding International Trade in Textiles.

The Guidelines state that garments possessing at least three of the cited jacket features will be classified as jackets if the result is not unreasonable:

Shirt-jackets have full or partial front openings and sleeves, and at the least cover the upper body from the neck area to the waist... The following criteria may be used in determining whether a shirt-jacket is designed for use over another garment, the presence of which is sufficient for its wearer to be considered modestly and conventionally dressed for appearance in public, either indoors or outdoors or both:

Shirt-jackets have full or partial front openings and sleeves, and at the least cover the upper body from the neck area to the waist . . . . The following criteria may be used in determining whether a shirt-jacket is designed for use over another garment, the presence of which is sufficient for its wearer to be considered modestly and conventionally dressed for appearance in public, either indoors or outdoors or both:

(1) Fabric weight equal to or exceeding 10 ounces per square yard . . . .

(2) A full or partial lining.

(3) Pockets at or below the waist.

(4) Back vents or pleats. Also side vents in combination with back seams.

(5) Eisenhower styling.

(6) A belt or simulated belt or elasticized waist on hip length or longer shirt-jackets.

(7) Large jacket/coat style buttons, toggles or snaps, a heavy-duty zipper or other heavy-duty closure, or buttons fastened with reinforcing thread for heavy-duty use.

(8) Lapels.

(9) Long sleeves without cuffs.

(10) Elasticized or rib knit cuffs.

(11) Drawstring, elastic or rib knit waistband.

See Guidelines at 5-6.

Upon review of the subject merchandise and upon application of the Guidelines, it is the determination of this office that the women’s knit garment does possess the requisite number of Guidelines criteria to meet the standards of a jacket. The garment has long sleeves with ribbed cuffs, a heavy duty zippered closure, and a drawstring waistband. You have stated in your submission to Customs that zippered closure and drawstring bottom should count as one Guidelines feature, but Customs believes that this is an erroneous supposition. The Guidelines distinctly provide for both zippered closures and a tightening at the bottom such as
the subject drawstring closure and therefore Customs will consider these as two separate features.

Furthermore, the fabric weight of a garment does provide some indication as to the garment’s suitability for different uses. The napped polar fleece used in the manufacture of the subject garment is designed to provide extra warmth for a “lightweight” type of jacket. Although this garment does not possess padding or interior linings, it is likely that the subject merchandise would be worn over a light weight shirt for an outing to provide for protection against the weather. In this case, Customs believes the knit fabric construction of the subject garment would provide sufficient protection from the elements to the wearer when worn outside on cold days. In addition features such as a hood with a drawstring closure would also provide additional protection from the elements.

Accordingly, we find that the subject merchandise was correctly classified in heading 6102, HTSUSA and therefore the decision of the port of Seattle to issue a Notice of Redelivery for visa category number 635 is hereby affirmed.


The subject merchandise is properly classified under subheading 6102.30.2010, HTSUSA, which provides for "Women’s or girl’s 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: Other: Women’s.” The general column one rate of duty is 28.7 percent ad valorem. The applicable textile restraint category is 635.

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 (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available 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, you should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: