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HQ 964720

August 2, 2002

CLA-2: RR:CR:TE 964720 ASM


TARIFF NO.: 6211.31.0030

Ms. Joanna Cheung
Trade Specialist
Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office
1520 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

RE: Request for Binding Ruling; Man’s woven pullover garment

Dear Ms. Cheung:

This is in response to your request for a ruling concerning the classification of a man’s pullover garment under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). With respect to this merchandise, you have identified Jhane Barnes Collection Inc. as the consignee. In addition, you have identified Carmichael International Service as the Customs Broker. Samples have been provided and will be returned pursuant to your request.


The subject garment is identified as a man’s woven pullover garment consisting of 85 percent wool and 15 percent polyester. The subject garment has a v-neck with ribbed knit inset (1 inch wide), long sleeves with ribbed knit cuff (2.5 inches wide), ribbed knit waist (2.5 inches wide), and a body length of 29 inches. The body of the garment consists of a single woven front panel. A single woven back panel connects to the front panel at the side seams and shoulders.


What is the proper classification for the merchandise?


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 heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may then be applied. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“ENs”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

First, it is important to note that the subject garment is constructed of both woven panels (front, back, sleeves) and ribbed knit trim (cuffs, v-neck, waist). In Headquarters Ruling (HQ) 958288, dated November 29, 1995, we stated “Usually, when Customs is faced with the classification of a garment that is comprised of a woven material and knit, we refer to a set of classification guidelines set forth in Customs Headquarters Memorandum 084118 (Customs Memorandum), dated April 13, 1989” in order to determine the essential character of a garment. In this ruling, it was determined that the woven panels overlaying the knit fabric were mere decorative trim more similar to an “accessory” to the garment within the meaning of the EN to Chapter 61.1The ruling further stated that if the woven panels had been viewed as an integral component of the garment, a GRI 3 analysis would be appropriate and the guidelines contained in the Customs Memorandum applied. However, as mere decorative trim, the woven panels were disregarded and the entire article was classified as a knit garment pursuant to a GRI 1 analysis. See, also HQ 950007, dated October 4, 1991.

1 The General Note contained in the EN to Ch. 61 states “The classification of goods in this Chapter is not affected by the presence of parts or accessories of, for example, woven fabrics, furskin, feathers, leather, plastics or metal. Where, however, the presence of these materials constitutes more than mere trimming the articles are classified in accordance with the relative Chapter Notes.”

In the subject case, we note that the knit trim is so minimal that it merely serves as a trimming accessory to the garment. The woven panels comprise approximately 98 percent of the total surface area of the garment. As such, it is our determination that the knit trim is not an integral component of the garment, a GRI 3 analysis is not necessary, and the guidelines contained in the Customs Memorandum do not need to be applied to determine the essential character. Accordingly, the article is properly classified as a woven garment pursuant to a GRI 1 analysis.

Chapter 62, HTSUSA, provides for woven garments because it applies to made up articles of any textile fabric, other than wadding, and excluding knitted or crocheted articles (other than those of heading 6212). See Note 1, Chapter 62, HTSUSA. However, it is your contention that the subject garment is not classifiable within any of the “shirt” provisions of Chapter 62. Therefore, it would not be subject to quota category 440. Rather, you believe that the garment is a typical wool woven sweater and would be subject to quota category 459.

In determining whether or not the subject article is classifiable as a "shirt” within the meaning of heading 6205, HTSUSA, we begin by noting that the General ENs to Chapter 62 state as follows: “Shirts are 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.” The ENs to 6205 further provide that the heading covers “ shirts not knitted or crocheted for men or boys including shirts with detachable collars, dress shirts, sports shirts and leisure shirts.” The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, C.I.E. 13/88, November 23, 1988 (Textile Guidelines) provide additional guidance by stating that a “shirt” should have a full or partial front opening, which closes left side over right side. Although the subject article has a v-neck, there is no full or partial opening, which is one of the features of a “shirt” pursuant to the definition provided in the General ENs to Chapter 62, and the Textile Guidelines. Thus, it is our determination that the garment is excluded from classification as a “shirt” under heading 6205, HTSUSA.

The next relevant provision pertaining to the classification of the subject garment as a “shirt” is contained at subheading 6211.31.0030, HTSUSA, which provides for “Other garments, men’s or boys’: Of wool, Shirts excluded from heading 6205.” It has been well-established in prior Customs rulings that certain woven pullover tops are classifiable under this provision as “Shirts excluded from heading 6205”. See Headquarters Ruling (HQ) 957877, dated September 14, 1995; HQ 952024, dated September 15, 1992; HQ 084065, dated July 26, 1989. In these rulings, each of the woven pullover style men’s garments have round and crew neck styling with no opening.

In view of the foregoing, it is our determination that the subject woven man’s pullover is classifiable under subheading 6211.31.0030, HTSUSA, under the provision for “ Shirts excluded from heading 6205”.


The subject merchandise is correctly classified in subheading 6211.31.0030, HTSUSA, which provides for, “Track suits, ski-suits and swimwear; other garments: Other garments, men’s or boys’: Of wool or fine animal hair, Shirts excluded from heading 6205.” The general column one duty rate is 13 percent ad valorem. The textile category is 440.

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 that the importer, by copy of this letter, be advised to 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 (CEEB) 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 applicable to textile merchandise, the importer should contact the local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


Myles B. Harmon, Acting Director

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