CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085695 HP
Mr. John F. Consolini
Executive Vice President/Chief Executive Officer
Bernard Chaus Inc.
New York, NY 10018
RE: Women's knit tops
Dear Mr. Consolini:
This is in reply to your letter of October 3, 1989,
concerning the tariff classification of women's knit tops,
produced in China, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the
United States Annotated (HTSUSA).
The merchandise at issue consists of five styles of women's
tops. Model ST-323 is a beige short sleeve 100% knit cotton
garment with a crew neck, shoulder pads attached by means of
Velcro-like attachments, a hemmed waist, one back panel and four
front panels, and sleeves measuring approximately 9.5" high by
5.75" long, with tightening devices at the ends.
Model ST-410 is a yellow-gold short sleeve 100% cotton knit
garment with a crew neck, shoulder pads attached by means of
Velcro-like attachments, a hemmed waist, one back and one front
panel, a front patch pocket, and hemmed sleeves measuring ap-
proximately 9.5" high by 8" long.
Model ST-380 is a black sleeveless 100% cotton knit top with
a U-shaped neck reaching below the nape of the neck, non-
detachable shoulder straps measuring approximately 1.9" in width,
a straight-hemmed waist, and a 2" high by 2.25" wide embroidered
logo on the top center chest area of the garment.
Style 1086539 is a blue three-quarter sleeve 100% knit
cotton top with a crew neck, a hemmed bottom with hemmed slit
sides, shoulder pads attached by means of Velcro-like
attachments, one front and one back panel, sleeves measuring
approximately 11.25" high by 13" long, and an ornamented woven
applique of unknown material sewn onto the front of the garment.
The applique consists of a printed design in an equine theme, a
thick rope border glued to the design, raised threads in
imitation of a horse's mane, and plastic tubes, balls and
imitation jewelry sewn onto the design.
Style 1226679 is a pink and white striped short sleeve top
with a heavy herringbone-like crew neck, a primarily hemmed waist
with slit sides, heavy herringbone-like fabric sewn onto the
slits, shoulder pads attached by means of Velcro-like attach-
ments, one front and one back panel, sleeves measuring 11.75"
high by 6.5" long, and an ornamented woven applique of 100% rayon
sewn onto the front of the garment. The applique consists of a
printed design in a floral theme, with plastic tubes, bamboo
tubes, plastic balls, and what appears to be metallized yarn sewn
onto the design.
Whether the instant garments are considered T-shirts under
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Material Components of All Styles
You have stated that all styles are of 100% knit
cotton, except for the applique and herringbone-like fabric
(rayon and partially nylon, respectively), of Style 1226679. The
Explanatory Notes to the HTSUSA constitute the official
interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The
General Explanatory Note to Chapter 61, HTSUSA, states that
... classification of goods in this Chapter
is not affected by the presence of parts or
accessories of, for example, woven fabrics,
furskin, feathers, leather, plastics or
metal, [where such parts or accessories
constitute mere trimming.]
As the applique and fabric at the bottom slits are simply
trimming, they are ignored for classification purposes under
Chapter 61, HTSUSA. All styles of shirts, therefore, are
considered 100% knit cotton.
Subheading 6109.10.0060, HTSUSA, provides for women's
knit tank tops, of cotton. The Guidelines for the Reporting of
Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE
13/88 (Nov. 23, 1988), at 13, defines tank tops as
... sleeveless with oversized armholes,
with or without a significant drop below the
arm. The front and the back may have a
round, V, U, scoop, boat, square or other
shaped neck which must be below the nape of
the neck. The body of the garment is
supported by straps not over two inches in
width reaching over the shoulder. The straps
must be attached to the garment and not be
easily detachable. Bottom hems may be
straight or curved, side-vented, or of any
other type normally found on a blouse or
shirt, including blouson or drawstring waists
or an elastic bottom. The following features
would preclude a garment from consideration
as a tank top:
1) pockets, real or simulated,
other than breast pockets;
2) any belt treatment including
simple loops;3)any type of front or back neck
opening (zipper, button, or
As embroidery does not preclude classification of a garment
as a tank top, it is clear that Model ST-380 is classifiable as
Subheading 6109.10.0040, HTSUSA, provides for women's
knit T-shirts, of cotton. The Textile Guidelines, supra, at 12,
define T-shirts as follows:
Other T-shirts in Heading 6109 [(aside
from men's and boys' white underwear style
cotton T-shirts)], ... must be constructed of
the underwear type and from lightweight, knit
underwear-type fabric, not napped, nor of
pile or terry fabric, with or without
pockets, and with long or short close-fitting
sleeves. The garments should have a close-
fitting or lower neckline (round, square,
boat-shaped or V-shaped) and may have
decoration, other than lace, in the form of
pictures, words, or letters, obtained by
printing, knitting, or other processes. The
bottom of the garment is usually hemmed. A
ribbed waistband, a drawstring, or other
tightening at the waist is not allowed.
Buttons or other fastenings, openings in the
neckline, and collars, are not allowed.
The Textile Guidelines, supra, at 25, provide that "the term
`underwear' refers to garments which are ordinarily worn under
other garments and are not exposed to view when the wearer is
conventionally dressed for appearance in public...."
The Explanatory Note to heading 6109, HTSUSA, defines the
term "T-shirts" similarly, adding that they can be either knit or
crocheted, and of "one or more colours."
It is our opinion that none of the instant styles are
considered T-shirts under the definitions cited above. The
presence of, or provision for, attached or detachable shoulder
pads, is incongruous with the requirement that garments be "con-
structed of the underwear type." Therefore, classification of
the instant merchandise as T-shirts is precluded.
In addition to a binding ruling, you requested answers to
several questions. Firstly, any relevant textile sub-parts will
be noted in the first paragraph of the Holding segment of this
Secondly, T-shirts may have long or short sleeves, so long
as the sleeves are "close-fitting." Many, if not all, of the
instant styles and models would likely have failed this test.
Thirdly, while "too much" ornamentation, i.e., an elaborate
print, would not normally preclude classification as a T-shirt,
the type of decoration might. The Textile Guidelines, supra,
state that allowable decoration on T-shirts may be "obtained by
printing, knitting, or other processes." We view this to
preclude the type of decoration in Styles 1086539 and 1226679;
glued-on ropes, raised threads, and plastic and bamboo effects
sewn onto the applique.
Finally, heaviness of the fabric is highly relevant to
classification of a garment as a T-shirt. The Textile
Guidelines, supra, require T-shirts to be made "from lightweight,
knit underwear-type fabric...." Emphasis added. Garments of too
heavy a fabric, therefore, could not be classified as a T-shirt.
As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is
classified as follows:
Model ST-380 under subheading 6109.10.0060, HTSUSA, textile
category 339, as T-shirts, singlets, tank tops and similar
garments, knitted or crocheted, of cotton, women's or girls',
other, tank tops, women's. The applicable rate of duty is 21
percent ad valorem.
All other models and styles under subheading 6106.10.0010,
HTSUSA, textile category 339-S, as women's or girls' blouses or
shirts, knitted or crocheted, of cotton, women's. The applicable
rate of duty is 21 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 renegotiations and
changes, to obtain the most current information available, 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 your 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 your local
Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine
the current applicability of any import restraints or
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division