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HQ 965745

October 7, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965745 jsj


TARIFF NO.: 6206.40.3030

Ms. Stacy Bauman
Assistant Vice President
American Shipping Company, Inc.
140 Sylvan Avenue
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

RE: Reconsideration of NY I80919 (May 8, 2002); Blouse; Jacket; Dress Barn, Inc.; Style 5252/5001; Subheading 6206.40.3030, HTSUS.

Dear Ms. Bauman:

The purpose of this correspondence is to respond to your request dated June 6, 2002. The correspondence in issue requested, on the behalf of your client, Dress Barn, Inc., reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter I80919 (May 8, 2002) classifying a woman’s upper body garment.

This reconsideration is being issued subsequent to the following: (1) A review of your submission dated June 6, 2002; and (2) A review of the sample garment and sample pants that accompanied the upper body garment.


The article in issue is a woman’s upper body garment. The Dress Barn has designated the article as style 5252/5001. It is composed of a woven, ninety-seven percent polyester, three percent spandex fabric. The fabric is a moleskin and weighs approximately eight to eight and one-half ounces per square yard. The garment extends from the shoulders to the hips of the wearer.

The garment is composed of eight vertical panels. It features long, hemmed sleeves, a pointed collar and shoulder pads. It has a full front zipper opening. The zipper is five millimeters wide and suitable to the garment.

The size of the sample top was not indicated. The sample pants provided were a plus size, 18 W.


What is the classification, pursuant to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated, of the above-described woman’s upper body garment ?


The federal agency responsible for initially interpreting and applying the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is the U.S. Customs Service.

See 19 U.S.C. 1500 (West 1999) (providing that the Customs Service is responsible for fixing the final appraisement, classification and amount of duty to be paid); See also Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of Conference, H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 100-576, at 549 (1988) reprinted in 1988 U.S. Code Cong. and Adm. News 1547, 1582 [hereinafter Joint Explanatory Statement]. The Customs Service, in accordance with its legislative mandate, classifies imported merchandise pursuant to the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI) and the Additional U.S. Rules of Interpretation. See 19 U.S. C. 1202 (West 1999); See generally, What Every Member of The Trade Community Should Know About: Tariff Classification, an Informed Compliance Publication of the Customs Service available on the World Wide Web site of the Customs Service at www.customs.gov, search “Importing & Exporting” and then “U.S. Customs Informed Compliance Publications.”

General Rule of Interpretation 1 provides, in part, that classification decisions are to be “determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.” General Rule of Interpretation 1. General Rule of Interpretation 1 further states that merchandise which cannot be classified in accordance with the dictates of GRI 1 should be classified pursuant to the other General Rules of Interpretation, provided the HTSUSA chapter headings or notes do not require otherwise. According to the Explanatory Notes (EN), the phrase in GRI 1, “provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require,” is intended to “make it quite clear that the terms of the headings and any relative Section or Chapter Notes are paramount.” General Rules for the Interpretation of the Harmonized System, Rule 1, Explanatory Note (V).

The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. See Joint Explanatory Statement supra note 2, at 549. The Explanatory Notes, although neither legally binding nor dispositive of classification issues, do provide commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. The EN’s are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127-28 (Aug. 23, 1989); Lonza, Inc. v. United States, 46 F. 3rd 1098, 1109 (Fed. Cir. 1995).

The initial issue confronting the Customs Service in this reconsideration is the proper identification of the garment as either a blouse or a jacket. American Shipping, on the behalf of the Dress Barn, suggests that the garment is a jacket and properly classified in heading 6211, HTSUS. Heading 6211, HTSUS, provides for the classification of “Tracksuits, ski-suits and swimwear; other garments.” The Customs Service in New York Ruling Letter I80919 classified the garment as a blouse in heading 6206, HTSUS. Heading 6206, HTSUS, provides for the classification of “Women’s and girls’ blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses.”

The Customs Service when classifying factually ambiguous hybrid garments references the Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88 (Nov. 23, 1988). 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.” HQ 956982 (Nov. 22, 1994). The Guidelines are not binding, but do assist Customs and the trade community in distinguishing different classes of garments. See HQ 956982.

The Guidelines with regard to determining whether a garment is an “Other coats, women’s and girls’” provide, in pertinent part, the following:

Three-quarter length or longer garments commonly known as coats, and other garments such aswaist length jackets fall within this category.A coat is an outerwear garment which covers either the upper part of the body or both the upper and lower parts of the body.Garments in this category have a full or partial front opening, with or without a means of closure.

C) 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. They may be within the coat category if designed to be worn over another garment (other than underwear). 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:

Fabric weight equal to or exceeding 10 ounces per square yard. A full or partial lining.
Pockets at or below the waist.
Back vents or pleats. Also side vents in combination with back seams. Eisenhower styling.
A belt or simulated belt or elasticized waist on hip length or longer shirt-jackets. 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. Lapels.
Long sleeves without cuffs.
Elasticized or rib-knit cuffs.
Drawstring, elastic or rib-knit waistband.

Note: On knit garments, items 10 and 11 count as one feature.

Garments having features of both jackets and shirts will be categorized as coats if they possess at least three of the above listed features and if the result is not unreasonable. Many such garments will function as the upper part of leisure suits and will be placed in the categories for “suit-type coats.” Garments not possessing at least 3 of the listed features will be considered on an individual basis. (Emphasis added).

American Shipping suggests that the garment possesses the following features which warrant its distinction as a jacket: (1) It is made from eight vertical panels; (2) It is sold as coordinates with pants; (3) It is designed to be worn over a blouse/top, not by itself; (4) It is loose fitting and not tailored as a blouse; and (5) The zipper is heavier than found on blouse-type garments. Submission of American Shipper, June 6, 2002. It is Customs conclusion that the garment has two features set forth in the Guidelines that arguably favor identifying the garment as a jacket. The features Customs acknowledges are long sleeves without cuffs and the zipper. Customs does not, however, conclude that these features are sufficient to warrant the garment being identified as a jacket for classification purposes.

The zipper on the garment is five millimeters. Zippers like the one on the garment are not generally used in the construction of women’s shirts / blouses, but for the type of garment in issue, zippers of this size are frequently found and are appropriate to the weight and type of fabric concerned.

Item 9 of the Guidelines indicates that jackets generally have “[l]ong sleeves without cuffs.” Women’s shirts and blouses, in Customs experience, frequently feature long sleeves that are hemmed.

American Shipper suggests that the garment is loose fitting and designed to be worn over another outer garment, such as a shirt or other top. Customs examination of the sample confirms that it is a plus sized garment that fits snugly on a plus sized mannequin. Although the sample would allow for the wearer to have a camisole or T-shirt beneath it, Customs does not conclude that it is designed to be worn over other outer wear garment tops. The fact that the garment in issue may be worn over another garment does not suggest that it is “intended to be worn over garments in the same manner as a jacket to protect someone from the elements.” HQ 961836 (July 20, 1999).

The multiple panel construction of the garment, as described by American Shipper, is not customary for women’s shirts. Customs does, however, note that with certain types of shirts, particularly Western shirts, multiple seaming distinguishes the garment. It is Customs conclusion that the presence of eight panels does not preclude the garment from being classified as a shirt.

It is Customs determination that the Dress Barn women’s upper body garment only possesses two of the features enumerated in the Guidelines. It is, additionally, Customs conclusion that it would be unreasonable to identify the garment as a jacket. The Dress Barn garment, for classification purposes, is a woman’s blouse.

Commencing classification of the Dress Barn woman’s blouse, in accordance with the dictates of GRI 1, the Customs Service examined the headings of the HTSUSA. Heading 6206, HTSUS, provides for the classification of “Women’s and girls’ blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses.” Since the garment is a woven blouse for classification purposes, it is properly classified in heading 6206, HTSUS.

Continuing the classification of the Dress Barn woman’s blouse, it is classified in subheading 6206.40.3030, HTSUSA. Subheading 6206.40.3030, HTSUSA, provides for the classification of

Women’s and girls’ blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses:

Of man-made fibers:



The Customs Service also notes that prior to classifying the Dress Barn garments as “other garments” in heading 6211, HTSUS, it would be necessary to eliminate recourse to more specific headings within Chapter 62 of the tariff schedule. See General Rule of Interpretation 3 (a). Since the garment is a blouse, it is more specifically provided for in heading 6206, HTSUS, as a “blouse,” than in heading 6211, HTSUS, as “other garments.”


New York Ruling Letter I80919 has been reconsidered and is AFFIRMED.

The Dress Barn woman’s upper body garment, style 5252/5001, is classified in subheading 6206.40.3030, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated.

The General Column 1 Rate of Duty is twenty-seven and two-tenths (27.2) percent, ad valorem.

The textile quota category is 641.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If subdivided, the quota and visa requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent negotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest your client 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 the local Customs Service office. The Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels) is also available on the Customs Electronic Bulletin Board (CEBB) which can be found on the U.S. Customs Web site 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, your client 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
Commercial Rulings Division

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