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HQ 965722

September 12, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965722 mbg


TARIFF NO.: 6211.42.0081

Ms. Franca Fasula
Transborder Customs Service
1 Transborder Drive
Champlain, NY 12919

RE: Request for classification of a women’s upper body garment

Dear Ms. Fasula:

This letter is in response to a letter from the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office dated June 18, 2002, on behalf of Transborder Customs Service as the representative of Parasuco Jeans Inc., regarding the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (“HTSUSA”) of a women’s upper body garment. It has come to our attention that the port of Champlain believes the a garment is classified in subheading 6211.42.0056, HTSUSA. We, however, disagree with the ports’ opinion as explained below. A sample was submitted with your request and will be returned under separate cover.


The submitted sample, designated as style L115412, is a women’s upper body garment made from knitted and woven fabric components. The entire front of the garment is made from 100 percent cotton woven fabric that is embroidered and smocked. The entire back of the garment is made from 93 percent cotton and 7 percent spandex knitted fabric. The pullover garment extends from the shoulders to below the waist and features elasticized shoulder straps that are approximately 3/8 of an inch in width. Both the front and back of the garment are cut straight across the top edge and create no definable neckline. The garment also has a substantially created hangtag made of wooden beads on a metal chain and is on the borderline of requiring separate classification. Any changes to the design and/or composition of the hangtag should be brought to the attention of Customs. ISSUE:

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


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 heading 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 Harmonized System at the international level, 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 on the terms of the headings and not on a comparison of the textile restraint categories.

The subject sample, is comprised of both knit and woven fabrics. Headquarters memorandum 084118, dated April 13, 1989, discussed the classification of garments consisting of different fabrics or of textile and nontextile components. That memorandum stated:
a. For upper or lower body garments, if one component exceeds 60 percent of the visible surface area, that component will determine the classification of the garment unless the other component:

(1) forms the entire front of the garment; or (2) provides a visual and significant decorative effect (e.g. a substantial amount of lace); or (3) is over 50 percent by weight of the garment; or (4) is valued at more than 10 times the primary component.

In the case of the submitted merchandise neither the knit nor the woven fabric exceed 60 percent of the visible surface area. However, the woven fabric forms the entire front of the garment and provides a visual and significant decorative effect. Therefore, in this case, the essential character of the garment is determined by the woven fabric. Having determined that the essential character of the garment is imparted by its woven front, we must now decide where the garment will fall in the tariff.

The subject upper body garment is potentially classifiable under two headings: heading 6206, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, women’s blouses, and heading 6211, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, other women’s garments. Thus, we must determine whether or not this garment meets the requirements for a blouse classifiable under heading 6206, HTSUSA, or is an other garment classifiable under heading 6211, HTSUSA.

Heading 6206, HTSUSA, covers “[w]omen’s or girls’ blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses.” The EN to heading 6206, HTSUSA, state that the heading does not cover garments with pockets below the waist or with a ribbed waistband or other means of tightening at the bottom of the garment.

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:

Blouses are outer garments usually extending from the neck or shoulders to the vicinity of the waistline...Blouses 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.

Thus, in general, the amount of coverage afforded the wearer by the garment commonly recognized as a “blouse” of heading 6206, HTSUSA, includes shoulder coverage, armhole and neck coverage, as well as coverage to the vicinity of the waist. As the submitted garment lacks both shoulder coverage and a clearly defined neckline, it is precluded from classification in heading 6206, HTSUSA.

Heading 6211, HTSUSA, provides for track suits, ski-suits and swimwear, and other garments. There are two plausible subheadings that may apply to this garment: 6211.42.0056, HTSUSA, which provides for blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses, sleeveless tank styles and similar upper body garments, excluded from heading 6206, HTSUSA, and subheading 6211.42.0081, which is a residual “basket” provision for “other garments” that are not more specifically classified elsewhere. Subheading 6211.42.0056, HTSUSA, provides for those garments which are excluded from classification as blouses of heading 6206, HTSUSA, but are nonetheless considered “akin” to blouses because they generally provide most (though not all) of the coverage found in the blouses of heading 6206, HTSUSA. Garments at this subheading level consist of the following:

1. blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses with pockets, tightening or rib knit waistband; 2. sleeveless tank-styled garments - featuring a defined neckline (“U”, “V”, or scooped) - reaching the vicinity of the waist - providing the wearer with some (though limited) shoulder coverage; 3. similar upper body garments - garments known as “camisoles” sharing a similar silhouette as heading 6206, HTSUSA, blouses - having a defined neckline.

Excluded from subheading 6211.42.0056, HTSUSA, are camisole-type garments without necklines, that is, that are cut straight across the front, garments lacking coverage (other than tank styles) and garments with oversized armholes requiring the wearing of an additional outerwear garment. Women’s woven abbreviated garments such as bandeaus, bustiers, midriff baring and other cropped style garments, halters, tubes, camisoles styled like tubes with spaghetti or other narrow straps over the shoulders, have in the past, been classified in the “basket” provision, i.e., subheading 6211.42.0081, HTSUSA.

The subject merchandise lacks a defined neckline and is cut straight across the top edge and has coverage to the waist. The garment is properly classified in 6211.42.0081, HTSUSA, based on the woven cotton fabric. Customs has consistently classified similar merchandise in this manner. See e.g., the following most recently issued rulings, NY H86484, dated December 28, 2001; NY H86591, dated January 22, 2002; NY H86647, dated January 28, 2002; NY H88939, dated March 25, 2002; and NY I80827, dated May 7, 2002.


The women’s upper body garment is properly classified in subheading 6211.42.0081, HTSUSA, which provides for “Track suits, ski-suits and swimwear; other garments: Other garments, women’s or girls’: Of cotton: Other.” The general column one rate of duty is 8.2 percent ad valorem. The textile restraint number is 359.

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 for inspection at your local Customs office. The Status Report of 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 wwww.cutoms.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, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


Myles Harmon, Acting Director

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