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HQ 963874

September 18, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 963874 JFS


TARIFF NO.: 6110.20.2075, HTSUSA

Mr. Henry ToRay
Speed Sourcing, Inc.
2140 City Gate Dr.
Columbus, OH 43219

RE: Modification of NY D88910; Classification of Arm Covers; Clothing Accessories; Composite Good.

Dear Mr. ToRay:

This letter is to inform you that Customs has reconsidered New York Ruling Letter (NY) D88910, issued to you on March 26, 1999, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of a knit waist belt, pullover, and arm covers. After review of that ruling, it has been determined that the classification of the arm covers in subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA, was incorrect. In addition, the three articles form a composite good, which changes the classification of the waist belt as well. For the reasons that follow, this ruling modifies NY D88910.

Pursuant to section 625(c)(1) Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)) as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-82, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186), notice of the proposed revocation of NY D88910 was published on July 11, 2001, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 35, Number 28. As explained in the notice, the period within which to submit comments on this proposal was until August 10, 2001. No comments were received in response to this notice.


In NY D88910, Customs classified the arm covers at issue in heading 6307, HTSUSA, which is a residual or basket provision for textile articles. The arm covers, a knit fabric waist belt, and a ladies sleeveless knit pullover, were all imported together. The three items are sold and marketed as a “make your own outfit.” They are designed so that the buyer can wear the pullover by itself, with the arm covers, with the waist belt, or with the arm covers and the waist belt. The items do not attach to one another by any means. All three items are composed of knit fabric consisting of 85% cotton and 15% spandex.

The waist belt (Style 7004C) is a tube-like design, is 4 ½ inches wide, has a snap button pocket and is ribbed at the top and bottom.

The sleeveless pullover (Style 9405099) has no front or back opening, has a crewneck, falls at or above the waist, and has a ribbed bottom.

The arm covers (Style 0637C) are tube shaped, and cover the arm. They have ribbed ends to secure them to the wearer’s arms.


Should the arm covers be classified under heading 6117, HTSUSA, HTSUSA, as clothing accessories, or under heading 6307, HTSUSA, as other made up textile articles?


Classification under the 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 Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, Explanatory Notes (EN), represent the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level (for the 4 digit headings and the 6 digit subheadings) and facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI. The EN, although not dispositive or legally binding, 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).

Heading 6117, HTSUSA, provides for “Other made up clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted; knitted or crocheted parts of garments or of clothing accessories.” The term "accessory" is not defined in the tariff schedule or EN. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, (1977), defines "accessory" as a thing of secondary or subordinate importance or an object or device not essential in itself but adding to the beauty, convenience, or effectiveness of something else. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 088540, dated June 3, 1991, Customs defined an accessory as an article that is related to the primary article, and intended for use solely or principally as an accessory. In heading 6117, HTSUSA, the accessories classifiable under this provision will be related to clothing, intended for use with clothing and of secondary importance to clothing. HQ 950470, dated January 7, 1992.

The alternative heading, 6307, HTSUSA, provides for other made up textile articles. This is not a true alternative in that heading 6307 is a "basket" provision intended to classify merchandise not provided for more specifically in other headings of the tariff. Accordingly, we must first determine whether classification is proper under heading 6117, HTSUSA, as clothing accessories. If not, we will address whether classification is proper under heading 6307, HTSUSA.

The EN to 6117, HTSUSA, and 6307, HTSUSA, both provide examples of articles that have similar characteristics as the arm covers under consideration. EN (6) to heading 6117, HTSUSA, lists sleeve protectors as being covered by the heading. Sleeve protectors are similar to arm covers in that they also provide protection for the arms. See HQ 961080, dated September 14, 1999 (ruling that polyurethane coated sleeve protectors that protect workers from animal fats and chemicals are clothing accessories); see also, HQ 961108 dated September 2, 1999; and HQ 961737, dated December 8, 1998.

The function of the arm cover is of primary importance when determining whether to classify it as a clothing accessory under 6117, HTSUSA. If the arm cover has a function completely divorced from any use with clothing and does not add to the beauty, convenience, or effectiveness, of clothing, it will not be considered a clothing accessory. HQ 952005, dated August 26, 1992.

In HQ 950659, Customs considered whether to classify arm covers that are similar to those now under consideration as clothing accessories. In that ruling, Customs revoked HQ 086378, dated April 9, 1990, that had classified arm covers as clothing accessories under heading 6117, HTSUSA. Customs reclassified the arm covers under the basket provision of 6307, HTSUSA. The arm covers were described as:

[T]ubular shaped items made of 43% angora, 18% lambswool, 26% polyamid and 13% elasthan which forms a fabric of a weft knit construction. They are specially designed to fit certain body parts, i.e., wrists, elbows, knees and backs. The articles are intended for use by people afflicted with arthritis or rheumatism. The primary purpose of these articles appears to be the maintenance of localized warmth, which in turn would provide greater comfort to the wearer. The wool and angora components also act to absorb perspiration and the elasticity of the items may in some cases provide support.

In making its decision to rescind its prior ruling, Customs considered whether the arm covers had a logical nexus with clothing. That is, did they either add to the clothing’s (1) beauty, (2) convenience, or (3) effectiveness? Customs examined the function and use of the arm covers and concluded that the arm covers could not be considered clothing accessories because they did not satisfy any of the three requirements.

Applying these principles to the instant arm covers, Customs concludes that they are properly classifiable as clothing accessories. The arm covers satisfy all three of the requirements for clothing accessories, i.e., adding to clothing's beauty, convenience and effectiveness. The arm covers are composed of knit fabric in chief weight of cotton, as is the pullover; thus, the wearer is able to alter her clothing to suit her fashion needs. Moreover, the arm covers enable the wearer to conveniently and easily convert the sleeveless pullover into a long sleeved pull over, or vice versa, depending on the weather; thus, enhancing the convenience and effectiveness of the pullover.

For a similar ruling, see HQ 963734, dated March 28, 2001. In that ruling, Customs classified similar arm warmers as clothing accessories under heading 6117, HTSUSA. In HQ 963734, the arm warmers were designed to be worn with any short sleeved shirt. They were intended to be used by golfers and other sportsmen so that they could convert their regular short sleeved shirt into a long sleeved shirt and back again, depending on the weather.

The arm covers now under consideration are distinguishable from arm covers that have previously been classified by Customs as not being clothing accessories. See HQ 952005, dated August 26, 1992 (merino wool arm cover intended to be used for therapeutic purposes is not a clothing accessory); HQ 950470, dated January 7, 1992 (arm cover composed of neoprene rubber, and designed to retain heat for the treatment of arthritis and sporting injuries, is not a clothing accessory); HQ 954342, dated September 10, 1993 (wool arm covers designed to keep muscles and joints warm to reduce the discomfort associated with rheumatism and arthritis, are not clothing accessories). The arm covers in those rulings are distinguishable from those now under consideration, because they have no logical nexus with clothing. Instead they are wholly independent and separate from any items of clothing. Their function is to serve a therapeutic or medicinal purpose by fitting tightly over the arm thereby providing warmth and support. In contrast, the arm covers that are the subject of this ruling are not only clothing accessories, but they also have no medicinal or therapeutic purpose.

The arm covers are accessories to the sleeveless pullover and are properly classifiable at GRI 1 under heading 6117, HTSUSA. For a similar ruling, see HQ 963734, dated March 28, 2001.

The arm covers are imported, packaged, and sold along with the waist belt and sleeveless pullover. Therefore, it is necessary to consider classification of them in light of their relation to the waist belt and pullover.

Note 13, Section XI, provides:

Unless the context otherwise requires, textile garments of different headings are to be classified in their own headings even if put up in sets for retail sale. For the purposes of this note, the expression “textile garments” means garments of headings 6101 to 6114 . . .

Because the arm covers and waist belt are clothing accessories under heading 6117, HTSUSA, they are not “textile garments” for the purposes of note 13 to Section XI. The requirement that they be classified in their own heading is not applicable. See HQ 084796, dated September 5, 1989.

The combination of the sleeveless pullover, arm covers, and waist belt meet the definition of composite goods set out in the EN. The EN define composite goods as follows:

[C]omposite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

The arm covers and waist belt are adapted to, and are mutually complementary to the sleeveless pullover, as well as to each other. They are designed, sold and marketed as a “make your own” outfit. All three items are
made up of knit fabric in chief weight of cotton and they are specially fitted to be worn together. They form a whole that would not normally be offered for sale separately. The waist belt and arm covers are dependent upon the sleeveless pullover to lend them any sort of functionality.

Following GRI 3(a), when two or more headings refer to only part of composite goods, the headings are equally specific, and classification must be determined by GRI 3(b). GRI 3(b) provides for classification based upon that component which gives the composite good its essential character. In this case, the sleeveless pullover is that component. The sleeveless pullover may be worn with or without the arm covers and the waist belt, which are accessories to the sleeveless pullover. The arm covers are used to convert the sleeveless pullover into a long sleeved garment. Likewise, the waist belt is used to alter the pullover such that it extends further down the torso. The arm covers and waist belt are accessories to the pullover, which imparts the essential character of the composite good.

Accordingly, the arm covers and waist belt are classified with the sleeveless pullover under subheading 6110.20.2075, HTSUSA.


The arm covers are classified under subheading 6110.20.2075, HTSUSA, textile category 339, which provides for “Sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts, waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted: Of cotton: Other, Other: Other: Women’s or Girls’. The general column one rate of duty is 17.8% percent ad valorem.

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 negotiations and changes, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available at the 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 status of any import restraints or requirements.


NY D88910, dated March 26, 1999, is hereby MODIFIED. In accordance with 19 U.S.C. §1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin.


John Durant, Director

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