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 > 2002 HQ Rulings > HQ 964007 - HQ 964370 > HQ 964221

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 964221





July 10, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 964221 BAS

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

TARIFF NOS.: 6206.30.3010

Vera Adams

Port Director

Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach Seaport
301 East Ocean Blvd., Suite 1400
Long Beach, California 90802

RE: Decision on application for Further Review of Protest No. 2704-99-150052

Dear Ms. Adams:

This is in reply to an application for further review (AFR) of Protest No. 2704-99-150052, dated July 15, 1999, on behalf of Wal Mart. The protest concerned the classification of a ladies blouse (Style FG15-111). A sample of the blouse was not submitted initially, but was hand delivered with measurement specifications to this office on February 22, 2002.

The merchandise was entered on February 17, 1999 and liquidated on April 16, 1999. The merchandise was classified by Port of Los Angeles under subheading 6206.30.3010, HTSUSA. The protest against liquidation in heading 6206, HTSUSA, was timely filed. The AFR was properly granted pursuant to 19 C.F.R. Section 174.24.

FACTS:

The subject of this protest is a 100% cotton yarn dyed seersucker blouse, identified as Style FG 15-111. The garment is a woven, sleeveless, scoop neck shirt, part of the “Faded Glory” collection. The silhouette of the garment is shaped throughout the torso with front and back vertical darts. The garment has a full front opening with buttons running up the front. The bottom hem of the garment is slightly curved with side vents measuring approximately 1.75 inches. The armholes and the neckline have a 1” turned facing. There is a single needle edge stitch along the front opening, and a one-inch single needle top stitch along the neckline, armhole and bottom hem. The sample submitted is a royal blue, yellow, white and teal plaid. The garment is sold in small, medium, large and extra large sizes.

ISSUE:

Whether the ladies’ woven sleeveless shirt is classifiable as a blouse in heading 6206, HTSUSA, or an other garment of heading 6211, HTSUSA?

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods 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 ladies’ sleeveless shirt is potentially classifiable in two HTSUSA headings. One possible heading is heading 6206, HTSUSA, which provides for “Women’s or girls’ blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses.” The other possible heading for the merchandise is heading 6211, HTSUSA, which provides for “Track suits, ski-suits and swimwear; other garments.”

HEADING 6206, HTSUSA

Heading 6206, HTSUSA, provides for among other things, women’s blouses. The Explanatory Notes (“ENs”) constitute the official interpretation of The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings.

The ENs to heading 6206, HTSUSA, state in relevant part:

This heading covers the group of women’s or girls’ clothing not knitted or crocheted, which comprises blouses, shirts and shirt – blouses.

The General Explanatory Notes to Chapter 62 describe shirts and shirt-blouses as:
garments designed to cover the upper part of the body, having long or short sleeves and a full or partial opening starting at the neckline. Blouses are also designed to cover the upper part of the body but may be sleeveless and without an opening at the neckline.

The instant merchandise clearly covers the upper part of the body and therefore meets the Chapter’s definition of a blouse.

The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88 (1988) (“Guidelines”), are sometimes used as an aid in deciding the classification of some articles. They offer guidance in determining the commercial designation of articles. In regard to women’s nonknit blouses the Guidelines state, in relevant part:

Blouses are outer garments usually extending from the neck or shoulders to the vicinity of the waistlineBlouses may have a collar treatment of any type or no collar. The closure may be positioned on the front, back or side, or the garment may even be without closure as in a pullover

Outerwear garments known as camisoles, bandeaus and similar garments which may be described as tops are excluded from this category.

Generally, the presence of straps and extremely limited shoulder coverage has precluded classification of garments as blouses. See HQ 962495, June 11, 1999; HQ 962284, January 20, 1999; HQ 958168, September 21, 1995; HQ 088959, June 26, 1991; HQ 088369, March 3, 1991; HQ 087530, November 9, 1990; See HQ 087034, July 31, 1990; NY E85735, September 14, 1999; PD C86691, May 6, 1998. The garment at issue provides much more coverage than the camisole- type garments that have generally been excluded from heading 6206, HTSUSA. See HQ 087530, November 9, 1990; HQ 087034, July 31, 1990. The instant merchandise does not have straps and provides significantly more coverage than a garment having straps. While the garment at issue is sleeveless, the fabric that covers the shoulder on a medium sized sample shirt measures approximately 2.25 inches and therefore provides coverage for a significant portion of the shoulder.

In addition to shoulder coverage, a clearly defined neckline is also a commonly recognized feature of a “blouse” of heading 6206, HTSUSA. Garments without any defined neckline have generally been excluded from heading 6206, HTSUSA. See HQ 962495, June 11, 1999; HQ 961504, dated August 3, 1998; HQ 958168, dated September 21, 1995; HQ 089176, August 6, 1991; NY 865368, August 6, 1991. The merchandise at issue is significantly distinguishable from a bustier or bra style garment which by virtue of the lack of coverage and lack of a neckline are clearly excluded from classification in heading 6206, HTSUSA. See HQ 962284, dated January 20, 1999; HQ 961504, dated August 3, 1998 (women's woven upper body garment with .25 inch straps and cut straight across the top properly classified in heading 6211, HTSUSA); HQ 958168, dated September 21, 1995 (a sleeveless garment with one inch straps and half of the back bare is properly classified in heading 6211, HTSUSA). The merchandise at issue has a clearly defined U shaped neckline. Accordingly, the subject merchandise meets the established requirements of garments classified as blouses under heading 6206, HTSUSA.

HEADING 6211, HTSUSA

The importer argues that the subject merchandise is similar to a tank top and therefore is properly classified in subheading 6211.42.0054, HTSUSA. Subheading 6211.42.0054, HTSUSA, provides for “Track suits, ski-suits and swimwear; other garments: Other garments, women's or girls’: Of cotton: Blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses, sleeveless tank styles and similar upper body garments excluded from heading 6206: with two or more colors in the warp and/or filling.” As the discussion above indicates, because it does not have narrow straps and it has a defined neckline, the instant merchandise would not be a garment that is excluded from classification as a blouse under heading 6206, HTSUSA.

We note that in NY D88780, dated March 18, 1999 and PD A88686, dated November 18, 1996, substantially similar merchandise was classified under heading 6211, HTSUSA. Appropriate steps are currently being taken to modify and revoke those rulings as necessary.

HOLDING:

The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 6206.30.3010, HTSUSA, textile category 341, which provides for “Women’s or girls’ blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses: Of cotton: Other: Other: With two or more colors in the warp and/or the filling: Women’s.” The applicable general column one rate of duty at the time of entry was 15.9 percent ad valorem.

The protest should be DENIED. In accordance with Section 3A(11) (b) of the Custom Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to mail this decision, together with 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 this decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision.

Sixty days from the date of the decision, the Office of Regulations & 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 by other methods of public distribution.

Sincerely,


Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: