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HQ 966356

August 18, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 966356 RH


TARIFF NO.: 6201.99.9060

Area Director
Bureau of Customs and Border Protection
Building 77
JFK International Airport
Jamaica, NY 11430

Attn: Chief, Liquidation and Protest Branch

RE: Protest Number 1001-99-102577; Shirt vs. Jacket; Sherpa Lining; Heading 6201; Heading 6205; What Every Member of the Trade Community Should Know About: Apparel Terminology Under the HTSUS, 34 Cust. B. & Dec. 52, 153 (Dec. 27, 2000); The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88

Dear Sir:

This is our decision on the Application for Further Review of Protest number 1001-99-102577. The law firm of Givens and Associates, PLLC, timely filed the protest, on behalf of Celebration Trading, Inc., against Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) classification of the subject merchandise under subheading 6201.99.9060 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), as a jacket. The protestant contends that the garment is classified as a shirt under subheading 6205.90.4040, HTSUS.

By way of background, we note that CBPs’ file was destroyed in the September 11 tragedy, and copies of the protest records have been supplied to us by counsel for the protestant. We also note that on February 25, 2000, our office issued Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 962866, granting an AFR on a related protest (number 1001-98-104238), against an untimely Notice to Redeliver the subject merchandise. We held that the Notice to Redeliver was not timely and
must be canceled. In that decision, we also instructed your office to suspend the instant AFR (1001-99-102577) pending a decision by the Court of International Trade in the Case of Capital Mercury Shirt Company v. United States, Civil Action No. 98-0200324, and to reliquidate the entries in accordance with the judgement order of the court, pursuant to 19 CFR §176.31. The issue in the Capital Mercury case was the proper classification of a flannel jacket with quilted lining.

The parties in the Capital Mercury case entered into a stipulated judgement on September 11, 2000, agreeing to classify the garment as a shirt under subheading 6211.32.0060, HTSUS. Unfortunately, the stipulation did not address the merits of the classification claims raised in the instant AFR. Accordingly, the AFR is ripe for consideration, and review of the protest is warranted pursuant to 19 CFR §§174.24 and 174.25.


The garment at issue is made of flannel material and has a sherpa lining. The outer shell consists of 55 percent ramie and 45 percent cotton. The sherpa lining is 100 percent polyester. Sherpa is a heavy fabric with clumped pile resembling the fleece of a sheep and is used for outerwear trim and lining. See Textile Dictionary at www.textileconnexion.com.

The sleeves are lined with 100 percent quilted nylon. The garment has a shirt type collar, full frontal opening with button closures, long sleeves with button through cuffs, side vents and a tail-hemmed bottom. The fabric weight of the garment is stated to be 8.2 ounces per square yard.


Is the garment classified as a shirt under heading 6205, HTSUS, or as a jacket under heading 6201, HTSUS?


Classification of goods under the HTSUS is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). 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 two headings at issue in this case are 6201, HTSUS, and 6205, HTSUS. Heading 6205 provides for “Men’s or boys’ shirts.” Heading 6201, HTSUS, provides for “Men’s or boys’ overcoats, carcoats, capes, cloaks, anoraks

(including ski-jackets), windbreakers and similar articles (including padded, sleeveless jackets), other than those of heading 6203.”

Additionally, the Explanatory Notes (EN’s) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System constitute the official interpretation of the nomenclature at the international level. The EN’s are not legally binding. However, they do represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has therefore been the practice of CBP to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the EN’s when interpreting the HTSUS.

The EN’s offer little assistance in the classification of garments such as the one at issue, which is considered a hybrid-type garment because it contains features generally associated with both shirts and jackets. The EN’s to heading 6101, HTSUS, which apply mutatis mutandis to articles of heading 6201, HTSUS, state that garments of the heading are “characterised by the fact that they are generally worn over all other clothing for protection against the weather.”

The EN’s to heading 6205, HTSUS, state:

With the exception of nightshirts, singlets and other vests of heading 62.07, this heading covers shirts not knitted or crocheted for men or boys including shirts with detachable collars, dress shirts, sports shirts and leisure shirts.

The heading does not cover garments having the character of wind-cheaters, wind-jackets, etc., of heading 62.01, which generally have a tightening at the bottom, or of jackets of heading 62.03, which generally have pockets below the waist. Sleeveless garments are also excluded.

In a recent Informed Compliance Publication (ICP), CBP provided basic definitions of textile terms that are commonly utilized in the HTSUS and by the trade community. These definitions are not intended to be definitive but rather to provide a basic guideline for classification purposes. The ICP reads, in pertinent part, that Anoraks, windbreakers and similar articles (6101, 6102, 6113, 6201, 6202, 6210) is a group of garments which includes:

Shirt-jackets, which are hybrid garments that could be classified as either jackets or shirts. For garments that present characteristics of both jackets and shirts, the presence of three or more of the following ten criteria would generally indicate a jacket (if the result is not unreasonable):

Heavy weight shell fabric (for example, 10 ounce or heavier denim). 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 or 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.
Long sleeves without cuffs.
A tightening element at the cuffs.
A tightening element at the waist or bottom of the garment.

Garments similar to sweaters with full front openings, which have a sherpa lining or a heavy weight fiberfill lining (including quilted linings), that are used to provide warmth to the wearer. Emphasis added.

See What Every Member of the Trade Community Should Know About: Apparel Terminology Under the HTSUS, 34 Cust. B. & Dec. 52, 153 (Dec. 27, 2000).

Furthermore, in circumstances such as these, where the identity of a garment is ambiguous for classification purposes, reference to The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88 (November 23, 1988) (“Guidelines”) is appropriate.

The Guidelines state that :

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. It is normally worn over another garment, the presence of which is sufficient for the wearer to be considered modestly and conventionally dressed for appearance in public, either indoors or outdoors or both. Garments in this category have a full or partial front opening, with or without a means of closure. Coats have sleeves of any length.

Guidelines at 5.

However, within the “coat category”, distinctions are made in the Guidelines for raincoats, water resistant coats, and shirt-jackets.” Guidelines at 20.

Like the Apparel Terminology ICP, the Guidelines state that garments possessing at least three jacket features will be classified as jackets if the result is not unreasonable. The list of jacket features in the Guidelines parallels those in the ICP. See Guidelines at 5-6.

In applying the Guidelines to this case, counsel states that the sherpa lining is the only jacket feature that the imported garment possesses and that no publicly released Headquarters ruling has determined that a garment should be classified as a jacket rather than a shirt based on the presence of only one jacket characteristic. He further argues that Headquarters rulings have consistently found at least two jacket characteristics when classifying a garment as a jacket rather than a shirt. HQ 960522, dated January 26, 1998. Moreover, counsel argues that, in some instances, Headquarters has found that the presence of two jacket characteristics is not sufficient to warrant classification of garments as jackets rather than shirts. HQ 958117, dated March 18, 1996.

Additionally, counsel argues that the garment at issue is not suitable to be worn over other clothing, that it has small side vents that enable it to be tucked in, and that it is form-fitting and designed to be worn in cold climates. Finally, counsel states that the garment is sold and marketed as a shirt.

As shown below, the list of jacket characteristics in the ICP and Guidelines does not conclusively determine classification of a garment. In past rulings CBP has stated that the crucial factor in the classification of merchandise is the merchandise itself. This is consistent with Mast Industries, Inc. v. United States, 9 Ct. Int’l Trade 549, 552 (1985), aff’d 786 F.2d 1144 (CAFC, April 1, 1986), wherein the court stated that “the merchandise itself may be strong evidence of use.”

For example, in HQ 958512, dated December 1, 1995, we classified a flannel shirt with three jacket features (a full quilted lining, pockets below the waist and a back vent) in heading 6205, HTSUS. We found that the lining on that particular garment was “reasonable thin” and would not preclude classification as a shirt.

Additionally, in HQ 955133, dated November 17, 1993, CBP classified a garment with two jacket features (quilted lining and pockets below the waist) in heading 6205, HTSUS, finding that the “additional bulk due to the quilting is not so extreme as to clearly change the character of the garment.” In HQ 953464, dated April 22, 1993, we held that the quilted lining in a flannel shirt was of “fairly lightweight construction and would not be worn over another garment.” We also classified that garment as a shirt in heading 6205, HTSUS.

In HQ 083888, dated June 21, 1989, we stated:

While the presence of a lining, especially with padding, is uncommon for shirts, its presence alone should not preclude classification as a shirt, particularly when the lining and padding are reasonably thin as in this case.

Unlike quilted lining which may or may not preclude a garment from classification as a shirt in heading 6205, HTSUS, CBP has consistently held that garments with shirt features having a sherpa lining are classified in heading 6201, HTSUS, as jackets. PD C85046, dated March 27, 1998 (a man’s woven flannel shirt jacket with sherpa lining, full front opening, button closures, two button down flap chest pockets, shirt collar and hem and button cuff was classified as a jacket in subheading 6201.92.2051). Like the instant garment, the garment in PD C85046 only has one jacket feature – the sherpa lining.

See PD G81389, dated September 26, 2000 (a man’s woven flannel shirt jacket with sherpa lining, full front opening with button closures, two button down flap chest pockets, shirt collar, a straight hemmed bottom, button cuff and two lower side seam pockets was classified in subheading 6201.99.9060, HTSUS). NY G88348, dated April 3, 2001 (a man’s woven plaid flannel shirt lined in the body with a sherpa fabric and in the sleeves with nylon quilted fabric, pointed spread collar, full front opening with button closure, two chest pockets with flaps that are secured by a one-button closure, long sleeves with adjustable button closures on the cuffs, two side seam pockets at the waist and a straight cut hemmed bottom was classified under subheading 6201.92.2051, HTSUS).

In this case, we agree with counsel that the garment in question has only one of the ten jacket characteristics listed in the ICP and Guidelines – the sherpa lining. Nevertheless, after examining the sample garment we find that it is suitable to be worn over other clothing such as a shirt or T-shirt and that its heavy lining provides warmth to the wearer. Following the line of rulings on this type of garment, we further find that CBP’s classification of the garment as a jacket was reasonable.


The protest should be DENIED in full. CBP correctly classified the garment under subheading 6201.99.9060, HTSUS, as a jacket. The garment is subject to duty at the 1998 general column one rate at 4.4 percent ad valorem.

A copy of this decision should be attached to the Form 19, which is sent to the protestant. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, you are to
mail this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing the decision.

No later than sixty days from the date of this letter, the Office of Regulations and Rulings will make the decision available to CBP personnel, and to the public on the CBP Home Page on the World Wide Web at www.cbp.gov by means of the Freedom of Information Act, and other methods of public distribution.


Myles B. Harmon
Director, Commercial Rulings Division

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