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HQ 965935

August 14, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965935 TF


TARIFF NO.: 6204.11.0000, 6204.31.2010

Mr. Jonathan Fee
Alston and Byrd, LLP
601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
North Building, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20004-2601

RE: Modification of NY A87564; 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. Fee:

In your letter dated September 7, 1996, you requested a classification ruling on behalf of your client, SAG Harbor Division of Kellwood Company. In response to your request, Customs issued NY A87564, dated October 10, 1996, 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 A87564 is erroneous as the merchandise was erroneously 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 A87564 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 A87564 dated October 10, 1996 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 below about the merchandise at issue were taken from NY A87564.

Style 122 consists of a women's jacket and shorts constructed from 100 percent wool. Both garments are lined with 100 percent polyester woven fabric. The double-breasted jacket has four panels and features long sleeves, a notched collar, and two besom pockets below the waist. The shorts have a pleated front, a zippered fly and button closure and side pockets. The waistband is partially elasticized at the rear and contains four belt loops.

It is your contention that the goods meet the tariff and commercial definition for suits. However, due to the innovative retail sale practices employed by the importer, you suggest that Customs might perceive a problem in classifying the garments as suits. You presented the following information concerning the importation of the goods:

PACKING and SHIPPING: The garments will be shipped to the United States on hangers. The jacket and hanger will be covered by a plastic bag; the shorts will be covered by a separate plastic bag on another hanger; the two components will be covered by a third polybag and connected with a plastic tie. Nearly all import shipments will contain an equal number of upper and lower body garments packaged together as suits in the manner previously described. Occasionally, a shipment may include a small number of additional jackets without matching bottoms. It is the importer's understanding and intent that those pieces which do not meet the definition of a suit (i.e. a set of two garments) will be entered as separates.

DOCUMENTATION: The importer's purchase orders will refer to this combination of garments as a "suit" and will identify one style designation, 122. In addition, each component will have its own style number, the jacket, style 8505 and the shorts, style 8503. These designations will also appear on the invoices furnished by the foreign suppliers.

LABELING: Each component will be individually marked with the country of origin and the required info under TFPIA. The garments will also be marked with the component style number. Fewer than half of all shipments will be preticketed with retail sales and other retail information at the request of the importer's customers.

INTENT: The importer will sell the "suits" to its customers, although the documents will indicate the separate style numbers. You state that nearly all shipments to customers will be of an equal number of top and bottoms, in corresponding size scales, so that they can be sold and worn as suits. The importer intends that the jackets and bottoms are of the same color and size, and worn together. Sometimes a jacket of one size might be matched with a skirt or pant of another size to achieve optimal fit. A customer will rarely buy only one component.

ADVERTISING: The importer's customers will advertise the articles as suits (Exhibit A). Although separate prices are shown, the advertising shows the garments being worn together.

DISPLAY: The merchandise will be displayed together on double rack systems or rounders. Exhibit B shows this grouping of garments grouped by size or color. Although the garments are designed and intended to be worn as suits, the jacket and shorts will rarely if ever be placed together on a single hanger. This is because a consumer may choose to buy a jacket in one size and a bottom in another size to achieve an optimal fit.

Both garments in this case are constructed from identical woven fabric and color, and they are of the same composition.


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.

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 condition as imported. It is also stated that the intent of the importer is irrelevant to the classification of the goods.

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.

Thus, in this instance, the subject merchandise, identified as style 122 (which is composed of a jacket (style 8505) and a pair of shorts (style 8503)), is imported on hangers with each article individually covered by polybags and connected by plastic ties. However, we do not find the individualized packaging of the goods to be controlling with respect to whether the subject merchandise is a suit because style 122 clearly meets the terms of Note 3(a) to Chapter 62.

Further, 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 shorts are classifiable as suits. Additionally, to the extent NY A87564 relied on the intent of the importer to classify the goods, we find this ruling to be in error. Therefore, we are striking the reference to the intent of the importer in NY A87564 as this has no bearing on the classification determination.

In sum, we are classifying the equal numbers of the matching jackets and matching short bottoms on the basis of their condition as imported, which is as women’s suits in subheading 6204.11.0000, HTSUSA, which provides eo nomine for “women’s or girls’ suits, ensembles, suit-type jackets, blazers, dresses, skirts, divided skirts, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (other than swimwear): Suits: Of wool or fine animal hair.”

Where the occasion arises whereby a shipment contains a small number of additional jackets without matching bottoms, these jackets are classifiable within subheading 6204.31.2010, HTSUSA, which provides for “Women's or Girls'...Suit-type jackets and blazers...Of wool or fine animal hair: Other: Women's.”

For further details, we refer you to HQ 962125, which is enclosed.


NY A87564, dated October 10, 1996 is hereby modified.

The matching jackets and matching shorts are classified within subheading 6204.11.0000, HTSUSA, which provides eo nomine for “women’s or girls’ suits, ensembles, suit-type jackets, blazers, dresses, skirts, divided skirts, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (other than swimwear): Suits: Of wool or fine animal hair.” The general column one duty rate is 14.3 percent ad valorem and the quota category is 444.

The separately imported jackets (without matching shorts) are classified within subheading 6204.31.2010, HTSUSA, which provides for “Women's or Girls'...suit-type jackets and blazers...Of wool or fine animal hair: Other: Women's.” The general column one duty rate is 4.6% cents/kg + 17.8 percent ad valorem and the quota category is 444.

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 Textile Status Report for Absolute Quotas, previously available on the Customs Electronic Bulletin Board (CEBB), which is available now on the CPB website 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, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

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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