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HQ 965633

September 26, 2002

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965633 SG


TARIFF NO.: 6207.91.3010

Ms. Dana N. Mobley
Customs Analyst
JCPenney Purchasing Corporation
P.O. Box 10001
Dallas, Texas 75301

RE: Modification of New York Ruling Letter (NY) I80792, dated April 25, 2002; Men's Sleep Pants from Indonesia

Dear Ms. Mobley:

This letter is in response to your letter dated May 7, 2002, in which you requested reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) I80792, issued on April 25, 2002, in which Customs classified a men's garment, style 505-0503, in subheading 6203.42.4015, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for men's and boys' trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts, of cotton, other, other, trousers and breeches, men's, other. Your letter along with a sample was forwarded to this office for our reply. We have reviewed the ruling and have found it to be partially in error. Therefore, this ruling modifies NY I80792.


The merchandise at issue is described as a pair of men's 100 percent woven cotton sleepwear pant, JCPenney style number 505-0503. The garment has an elasticized waistband with a fully functional drawstring, and hemmed pant leg bottoms. The pants do not have pockets. It has a placketed fly approximately 8 inches in length. The fly is sewn shut for 2.5 inches from the top of the waistband and sewn shut from the bottom for 2 inches, leaving an unsecured fly opening of approximately 4 1/2 inches.

It is claimed that although the open fly is smaller than some sleepwear pants, the wearer would not wear this garment outside without a closure. It is also claimed that the fact that the garment does not have pockets in which to carry keys or change, the wearer would likely not wear these outside of the home. It is claimed that the correct classification is under subheading 6207.91.3010, as men's sleepwear.


Whether the merchandise, style 505-0503, was properly classified as an outerwear garment under heading 6203, HTSUS, or is a sleepwear garment under heading 6207, HTSUS?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI’s) govern classification of goods under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI’s taken in order. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs), although not dispositive nor legally binding, provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 8980, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128, (August 23, 1989).

In order to determine whether or not the garment is sleepwear, Customs considers the factors discussed in two decisions of the Court of International Trade. In Mast Industries, Inc. v United States, 9 CIT 549, 552 (1985), aff’d 786 F.2d 1144 (CAFC, April 1, 1986), the court dealt with the classification of a garment claimed to be sleepwear and cited Webster’s Third New International Dictionary which defined "nightclothes" as "garments to be worn to bed." In Mast, the court ruled that the garments at issue were designed, manufactured, and marketed as nightwear and were chiefly used as nightwear. Similarly, in St. Eve International, Inc. v. United States, 11 CIT 224 (1987), the court ruled that the garments at issue were designed, manufactured, and advertised as sleepwear and were chiefly used as sleepwear.

In the recent case of International Home Textile, Inc. v. United States, 21 CIT 280, March 18, 1997, the Court of International Trade addressed the issue of whether certain men’s garments were properly classified under the provision for cotton pants, shorts and tops or as sleepwear under the HTSUSA. The court held that in order to be classified as sleepwear, the loungewear items at issue must share that essential character of being for a "private activity", e.g., sleeping. The court also stated that garments classified as sleepwear would be inappropriate for use at "informal social occasions in and around the home, and for other individual, nonprivate activities in and around the house e.g., watching movies at home with guests, barbequing at a backyard gathering, doing outside home and yard maintenance work, washing the car, walking the dog, and the like."

In past rulings, Customs has stated that the crucial factor in the classification of a garment is the garment itself. As the court pointed out in Mast, "the merchandise itself may be strong evidence of use." Mast at 552, citing United States v. Bruce Duncan Co., 50 CCPA 43, 46, C.A.D. 817 (1963). However, when presented with a garment which is somewhat ambiguous and not clearly recognizable as sleepwear or underwear or outerwear, Customs will consider other factors such as environment of sale, advertising and marketing, recognition in the trade of virtually identical merchandise, and documentation incidental to the purchase and sale of the merchandise, such as purchase orders, invoices, and other internal documentation. It should be noted that Customs considers these factors in totality and no single factor is determinative of classification as each of these factors viewed alone may be flawed. For instance, Customs recognizes that internal documentation and descriptions on invoices may be selfserving as was noted by the court in Regaliti, Inc. v. United States, 16 CIT 407 (May 21, 1992). We have long acknowledged that intimate apparel/sleepwear departments often sell a variety of merchandise besides intimate apparel, including garments intended to be worn as outerwear. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 955341 of May 12, 1994.

In the instant case, a physical examination of the garment at issue reveals that the design is somewhat ambiguous due to both the styling features and the smaller than usual opening of the unsecured fly. It is our view that although the unsecured fly opening is somewhat smaller than those we have seen on comparable garments, the unsecured fly opening is large enough that is does not satisfy the conventional standards of modesty necessary on a garment that would be worn for the type of non-private activities named in International Home Textiles, Inc. An open fly is a feature whose defining characteristic is privateness or private activity, which is indicative of sleepwear and pajamas.

Although the subject garment could possibly be used for social activity inside the home, it is our view that because of the unsecured fly; it would be inappropriate to wear this garment while participating in any "... nonprivate activities in and around the house.". It is our view that this use would be a fugitive use. In Hampco Apparel, Inc. v. United States, 12 CIT 92 (1988), the Court of International Trade stated: “The fact that a garment could have a fugitive use or uses does not take it out of the classification of its original and primary use. The primary design, construction, and function of an article will be determinative of classification, whether or not there is an incidental or subordinate function.” In this case, because the submitted sample is capable of being used to lounge inside the home does not change what is its principal use and character as sleepwear. Thus, it is our determination that this garment has the essential character of privateness, i.e. of being used for the private activity of sleeping. The garment identified as style 505-0503 is therefore properly classifiable as a sleep garment, not outerwear. See HQ 963519, dated July 16, 2002, wherein we ruled that almost identical pants were classified as sleepwear.

Heading 6207, HTSUS, provides for, inter alia, pajamas and similar articles. Customs has consistently ruled that pajamas are generally twopiece garments worn for sleeping, one-piece garments such as these under consideration have been classified as other woven sleepwear.


The instant merchandise is properly classifiable under the provision for "Men’s or boys’ singlets and other undershirts, underpants, briefs, nightshirts, pajamas, bathrobes, dressing gowns and similar articles: Other: Of cotton: Other: Sleepwear”, in subheading 6207.91.3010, HTSUSA, and is dutiable under the general column one rate of 6.2 percent ad valorem. The textile category for this provision is 351.

NY I80792 issued on April 25, 2002, is hereby MODIFIED.

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 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 on Current Import Quota (Restraint Levels) is also available on the Customs Electronic Bulletin Board (CEBB) which can be found on the U.S. Customs Service Website at www.customs.treas.gov.

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 your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


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