CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 088289 CMR
Richard H. Abbey, Esq.
Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon
2121 K Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
RE: Reconsideration of HRL 085023 of October 19, 1989--classifi-
cation of sweatjackets as jackets of heading 6101, HTSUSA
Dear Mr. Abbey:
This ruling is in reply to your letter of January 18, 1991,
in which you request that a ruling be issued in response to your
November 7, 1989, submission. That submission was made on behalf
of your client, Generation One Apparel, Inc., requesting
reconsideration of HRL 085023 of October 19, 1989. In the
October ruling, Customs Headquarters upheld NYRL 839556 of May
11, 1989, which classified the garments at issue as garments
similar to windbreakers in heading 6101, HTSUSA.
The garments at issue are sweatshirt jackets. The first
sample is a man's jacket constructed of 72 percent cotton, 14
percent polyester, and 14 percent rayon finely knit fabric which
is napped on the inside surface. The garment has a full front
opening with a nylon zipper closure, long sleeves with rib knit
cuffs, a rib knit waistband, a hood with a drawstring closure,
and slant-opening, handwarmer pockets at the waist. The jacket
will be imported from Romania.
The second sample is a man's fully-lined jacket made with an
outer shell of 100 percent acrylic finely knit fabric and a
lining of 55 percent cotton and 45 percent polyester thermal knit
fabric. The garment has a full front opening with a heavy-duty
metal zipper closure, long sleeves with rib knit cuffs, a rib
knit waistband, a hood with a drawstring closure, and slant-
opening, handwarmer pockets at the waist. The jacket will be
imported from the People's Republic of China.
Classification of the garments as sweatshirts or garments
similar to sweatshirts under heading 6110, HTSUSA, is being
Are the garments at issue classifiable as garments similar
to windbreakers under heading 6101, HTSUSA, or as sweatshirts or
garments similar to sweatshirts under heading 6110, HTSUSA?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
Classification of products under the 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 and any relative section or chapter notes, provided such
headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the
remaining GRIs taken in order]."
Heading 6101, HTSUSA, provides for "men's or boys'
overcoats, carcoats, capes, cloaks, anoraks (including ski-
jackets), windbreakers and similar articles, knitted or
crocheted, other than those of heading 6103". Heading 6110,
HTSUSA, provides for "sweaters, pullovers, sweatshirts,
waistcoats (vests) and similar articles, knitted or crocheted".
It should be noted that the conversion of the TSUS into the
nomenclature format of the Harmonized System included certain
textual adaptations at the four and six digit levels. These
adjustments were introduced in an effort to bring the
international text into conformity with the U.S. terminology.
Headings 6101 and 6110 were included among those tariff
provisions deemed to require minor changes. Specifically, the
term windbreakers was inserted in 6101 in place of the terms
wind-cheaters and wind-jackets. Heading 6110 was changed by the
insertion of the term sweatshirts and deletion of the terms
jerseys and cardigans.
The United States, as a party to the International
Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding
System, done at Brussels on 14 June 1983, is obligated by
Article 3(1)(a)(ii) to "not modify the scope of the Sections,
Chapters, headings or subheadings of the Harmonized System."
Article 3(2) allows for textual adaptations, as necessary, to
give effect to the Harmonized System in domestic law.
The term sweatshirt was inserted into heading 6110 in an
attempt to Americanize the language of the heading and simplify
the classification of sweatshirts and sweatshirt-type garments.
The term sweatshirt was present in the Tariff Schedules of the
United States Annotated (TSUSA) at the statistical level under
the heading for shirts. The Guidelines for the Reporting of
Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE
13/88, (hereinafter referred to as the Textile Category
Guidelines), at pages 11-14, contains descriptions of various
garments classified as shirts, including sweatshirts. The
meaning of the term sweatshirt was limited under the TSUSA to
pullover garments. The Customs Service established a practice of
recognizing only pullover-type garments of sweatshirt fabric as
Notes from a 1981 meeting at the United States International
Trade Commission (ITC), in which the intended coverage of heading
6110 was discussed, indicate that at that time it was
contemplated that traditional sweatshirts would be included as
pullover garments under heading 6110. Customs has been unable to
find, nor have we been presented with, any information to
indicate that the meaning of the term sweatshirt as it was used
under the TSUSA should be, or was intended to be, broadened under
the HTSUSA to include garments other than pullovers. In fact,
the aforementioned notes would appear to indicate the contrary.
When the term sweatshirt was inserted into heading 6110, the
meaning of the term for tariff purposes did not change.
You contend that if Customs will not classify these garments
as sweatshirts, it should classify them as similar to sweat-
shirts under 6110. You have made several assertions in your
submissions to promote your position. We will attempt to address
each point according it the attention it merits.
In your submission of November 7, 1989, you submit that in
referencing and relying upon the Textile Category Guidelines as a
basis for HRL 085023, the drafters of the ruling did what HRL
082943 of November 19, 1989, counseled against which was to
determine the applicable textile category and then find a
classification provision which fit the category. We submit the
Textile Category Guidelines were not the basis for the ruling.
The Guidelines were cited as support for making a distinction
between sweatshirts and garments made of sweatshirt fabric with
full-front zipper openings. The Guidelines serve to illustrate
a long-standing administrative practice to distinguish between
You submit that following the rationale of HRL 082943, these
garments must be classified as similar to sweatshirts. HRL
082943 dealt with a completely different issue and product. It
addressed the classification of garments which commonly and
commercially are recognized as sweaters, but fail the stitch
requirements of Statistical Note 3 of Chapter 61. That
memorandum addressed the issue of classifying an article first at
the heading level and then working down to the appropriate
subheading and then statistical classification. Its purpose was
to stress that a statistical note could not be used to eliminate
an article at the heading level. That is not a problem in this
instance. Furthermore, the sample at issue in HRL 082943 was
examined for characteristics in construction, styling and manner
in which it is worn, in order to determine its correct classifi-
cation. Those elements were also taken into consideration in the
classification of the subject garments.
The fabric used for making the subject garments is the same
type of fabric used for making sweatshirts. The garments have
some similarities in construction beyond the fabric used such as
rib knit cuffs and waistbands. However, you submit there is no
difference in the manner in which the garments at issue and
sweatshirts are worn and used. We disagree.
While it is true that pullover sweatshirts are sometimes
worn over other shirts for added warmth, that does not mean they
are worn in the same manner or for the same reasons as the
subject garments. Sweatshirts remain pullover garments which are
often worn against the skin and sometimes worn over other
garments. However, the garments at issue are worn in the manner
of jackets. They can be easily put on and removed or worn with
the zipper front open as the wearer's comfort dictates. They are
usually not worn next to the skin, but over other garments.
As to the Explanatory Notes for headings 6101 and 6110,
respectively, these notes were not ignored. You would appear to
read the phrase "protection against the weather" as meaning
protection beyond protection from the cold. Were we to interpret
this phrase as narrowly as you would suggest, garments which are
clearly included in heading 6101 would be excluded simply because
their main purpose is to provide protection against the cold,
i.e. added warmth, e.g. overcoats, capes, cloaks, etc.. The
decision to classify a garment in 6101 versus 6110 is based on
the characteristics of the garment and how it is worn and used,
and not on its ability to provide the wearer with benefits beyond
The advertising and buyers' statements submitted with your
brief have been considered. However, the Customs National Import
Specialist in New York who deals with this merchandise has found
advertisements of virtually identical merchandise in which the
garments are advertised as jackets, not as sweatshirts. This
illustrates that these garments are advertised as both
sweatshirts and as jackets and therefore, we find the submitted
Finally, you expressed a belief that long-standing princi-
ples of classification were disregarded in the classification of
the subject garments. This is not the case.
As you stated in your original submission of April 11, 1989,
an "eo nomine designation, 'without limitation or a shown
contrary legislative intent, judicial decision, or administrative
practice to the contrary, and without proof of commercial
designation, will include all forms of said article.' Nootka
Packing Company v. United States, 22 CCPA 464, 470, T.D. 47464
(1935)." It would appear on the surface, relying on the
principle of eo nomine classification and on the language of
heading 6110 which includes "sweatshirts . . . and similar
articles," that the garments at issue would fall under heading
6110. However, there is and has been an administrative practice
to distinguish garments made of sweatshirt fabric with full-front
zipper openings from pullover-type garments of sweatshirt fabric.
Garments which are considered similar to sweatshirts include
the variations on the traditional sweatshirt, such as, partial
front zipper, hooded sweatshirt, drawstring at waist, etc..
Garments with full-front zipper openings are not considered
similar to sweatshirts, but are jackets. They are worn in the
manner of lightweight jackets and have some characteristics of
lightweight jackets such as the full-front zipper, the rib knit
cuffs and waistband, and the pockets at or below the waist. The
Customs Service has a practice of recognizing these garments as
jackets and from the evidence submitted by the National Import
Specialist in New York, the trade, at least some of it, also
recognizes these garments as jackets.
The Customs Service believes that in inserting the term
sweatshirt in heading 6110, it was intended that only pullover-
type sweatshirts of the traditional sweatshirt variety be
classified in the heading. This belief is based on the meaning
of the term in the United States tariff schedule at the time, the
notes from the meeting at ITC referred to earlier, and the
administrative practice in existence at the time and which has
been continued since the adoption of the HTSUSA. Nothing in the
language of the HTSUSA or the Explanatory Notes indicates the
garments at issue should be classified in heading 6110 rather
than heading 6101. In fact, the Customs Service believes that by
including the subject garments in heading 6110, we would, in
effect, be broadening the scope of that heading.
For the reasons stated above, the garments at issue are
classified as similar to windbreakers in heading 6101, HTSUSA.
The classification decision in HRL 085023 of October 19, 1989, is
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division