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HQ 965934

August 14, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965934 TF


TARIFF NO.: 6204.11.0000, 6204.31.2010; 6204.51.0010

Mr. Robert T. Stack
Siegel, Mandell & Davidson, P.C.
One Astor Place
1515 Broadway - 43rd Floor
New York, NY 10036-8901

RE: Modification of NY B83511; Classification of Women’s Suits; Separately Packed in Equal Quantities; Classification Based on the Intended Manner of Sale; HQ 962125, dated May 5, 2000

Dear Mr. Stack:

In your letter dated March 20, 1997, you requested a classification ruling on behalf of your client, Liz Claiborne, Inc. In response to your request, Customs issued NY B83511, dated April 23, 1997, which pertains to the tariff classification of certain women’s suits.

Upon review, the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has determined that the analysis of NY B83511 is erroneous as the merchandise was classified based on the intent of the importer. This ruling letter sets forth the correct classification determination based on the articles’ condition as imported.

NY B83511 is hereby modified for the reasons set forth below.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub.L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993) notice of the proposed modification of NY B83511, dated April 23, 1997 was published on July 2, 2003, in Vol. 37, No. 27 of the CUSTOMS BULLETIN. No comments were received in response to this notice.


The facts about the merchandise at issue were taken from NY B83511:

Style 30750431/30750411 consists of a women's jacket and skirt constructed from 62% wool, 20% rayon, 13% nylon and 5% acetate woven fabric. Both garments are lined with 100 percent acetate woven fabric. The tailored jacket (designated as 30750431) has eight panels, with two of the front panels and two of the back panels extending from the shoulder seam to the bottom of the jacket, while the various side panels extend from the sleeve openings to the bottom of the jacket. The jacket features long sleeves without cuffs, a notched portrait collar, a full front opening with four buttons for closure and two pockets with flaps below the waist. The skirt designated as 30750411, has a zippered rear closure with an inner button tab closure.

It is your contention that the goods meet the tariff and commercial definition for suits; the garments imported under the combined style 30750431/30750411 are sold together to retailers in matching quantities and are properly dutiable as suits. However, due to innovative retail sale practices, the consumer will be able to match different sizes or purchase garments individually. You suggest that Customs might perceive a problem in classifying the garments as suits under these circumstances. You present the following information concerning the importation of the goods:

The importer is purchasing style 30750431/30750411 as a suit that will be designated by the joint style number on the company's orders and import invoice documentation. The jackets will match the skirts in fabric, size, color and composition. The suits will be imported with each jacket and matching skirt on separate hangers that are attached. Each individual garment will be covered by a polybag and the suit will be covered by another polybag. The hangers for the garments will be detachable.

Style 30750431/30750411, is being sold by the importer as a set of garments to the buyers for retail stores. The buyers are purchasing equal numbers of jackets and skirts, with each jacket and skirt in matching size and color. The importer anticipates that some retailers will hang the garments together in the manner imported, while others will split the jackets and skirts and merchandise them in adjacent displays. The jackets and skirts will be individually ticketed for sale, whether hung together or hung separately.

Although the garments are clearly designed to be worn together, due to the patterning of the fabric design, consumers will be able to purchase jackets and skirts in different sizes for fit considerations, or even as individual pieces. In light of the consumer's ability to match different sizes or purchase one jacket or one skirt individually, certain buyers have indicated a desire to purchase additional quantities of either jackets or skirts. If the importer makes such quantities available separately, this will involve separate purchase orders for the individual pieces, importation of any extra pieces as individual items and sale of the extra garments to the stores as individual pieces not shipped with matching articles.


What is the proper classification of the merchandise within the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?


Classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRIs”). GRI 1 provides that classification 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 Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.

Chapter 62 provides for articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted. Note 3(a) to Chapter 62, HTSUSA, defines the term “suit” as a set of garments composed of two or three pieces made up, in respect of their outer surface, in identical fabric and comprising:

-one suit coat or jacket the outer shell of which, exclusive of sleeves, consists of four or more panels, designed to cover the upper part of the body, possibly with a tailored waistcoat in addition whose front is made from the same fabric as the outer surface of the other components of the set and whose back is made from the same fabric as the lining of the suit coat or jacket; and

-one garment designed to cover the lower part of the body and consisting of trousers, breeches or shorts (other than swimwear), a skirt or a divided skirt, having neither braces nor bibs.

All of the suit components must be of the same fabric construction, color and composition; they must also be of the same style and of corresponding or compatible size.

Women’s suits are provided eo nomine in heading 6204 and are classifiable pursuant to GRI 1, HTSUSA. Unlike “sets”, which are provided within GRI 3(b), suits are not required to be “put up for retail sale.” Further, Note 3(a) to Chapter 62 does not require that suit components be put up for retail sale. Rather, in order for suit components to be classifiable as suits of heading 6204 (pursuant to Note 3(a)), the suit components are required at the time of importation to be present together in the same shipment in equal amounts, but need not be packed together.

In this instance, although the subject merchandise is imported together on separate hangers with each individual piece covered in polybags, this is not controlling as the goods meet the terms of Note 3(a) to Chapter 62. Further, Customs has clearly articulated its view of how suits are to be classified in HQ 962125, dated May 5, 2000. In HQ 962125, Customs clarified that when matching suit jackets and bottoms, which meet the chapter note definition of suits are imported in the same shipment (in equal numbers and in the same size range), the garments are to be classified as suits based on their condition as imported. It is also stated that the intent of the importer is irrelevant to the goods’ classification.

See Headquarters Ruling (HQ) 962125, dated May 5, 2000, which refers to C.S.D. 92-11 (which applies the appropriate analysis of classifying suit components) as follows:

Components of a set need not be packaged together at time of entry in order to be considered classifiable as a set, but all garments must be present in the entry and there must be an equal amount of components to make up the set in the shipment.

This ruling serves to apply HQ 962125, by determining that the subject merchandise, when imported together in equal quantities, matched by size and color, meet the tariff definition of suits as provided by Note 3 of Chapter 62 and are classified in heading 6204 as provided by GRI 1. In this case, the equal number of matching suit jackets and skirts are classifiable as suits. Additionally, to the extent that NY B83511 relied on the intent of the importer to classify the goods, we find this ruling to be in error, and we are striking the reference to the intent of the importer in NY B83511 as this has no bearing on the classification determination.

In sum, we are modifying the reference in NY B83511 to the intent of the importer as this has no bearing on the classification determination and we are classifying the merchandise based on their condition as imported in heading 6204, HTSUSA, which provides for women’s suits. For further details, we refer you to HQ 962125, which is enclosed.


NY B83511, dated April 23, 1997 is hereby modified with regard to classification based on the intent of the importer.

In NY B83511, we find the analysis portion that pertains to the classification based on the intent of the importer to be incorrect. Rather the classification analysis should be based upon the merchandise’s condition as imported. We refer you to NY B83511 for the appropriate classification within the Tariff.

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the CUSTOMS BULLETIN.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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