CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 961167 SG
Mr. Howard Lippman
11300 S.W. 77 Avenue
Miami, Florida 33156
RE: Classification of a “clipster”, a textile sunshield attachment for a cap; other made up textile articles; heading 6307, HTSUSA; not headgear; heading 6505, HTSUS: not clothing accessories; heading 6217, HTSUS
Dear Mr. Lippman:
This is in response to your undated letter requesting a binding classification ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of your product, The Clipster, is to be manufactured in Hong Kong or Taiwan. A sample was submitted with your request.
The submitted article is a made up woven textile article which is designed to be attached to the rear of a cap or military hat to act as a shield to protect the wearer’s neck from the sun. It is hemmed by folding over the edges, which in the submitted sample are secured by glue, and will be sewn when imported. It measures approximately 13 ½ inches by 17 ½ inches. The article has an enclosed elasticized top portion, which expands to accommodate different cap sizes. It is attached to the bottom edge of the cap by means of a metal spring-loaded plastic clip at either end of the top portion of the shield.
What is the proper classification of the Clipster sunshield under the HTSUSA?
LAW AND ANALYSIS:
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.
The headings under consideration are: heading 6505, HTSUSA, which covers, among other things, hats and headgear; heading 6217, HTSUSA, which covers, among other things, clothing accessories; and heading 6307, HTSUSA, which covers other made up textile articles.
Chapter 65, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, headgear and parts thereof. Headgear is defined by The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, the Unabridged Edition (1983) as "any covering for the head, esp. A hat, cap, bonnet, etc." The Clipster does not cover the head, nor provide any protection for it. It serves primarily to shade the side and back of the neck and upper shoulders from sunlight. It is therefore not headgear. The Explanatory Notes to heading 6507 lists fittings for headgear and states that only those listed are covered by the heading. None of the listed items describes the article under consideration here. Accordingly, the subject item is excluded from classification in Chapter 65, HTSUS.
Heading 6217, HTSUS, covers, among other things, other made up clothing accessories. The question arises whether the sunshield is a clothing accessory. Neither the term “clothing” nor the term “accessory” is defined in the HTSUS or the Explanatory Notes.
In HQ 082173, dated October 2, 1989, quoting Mary Brooks Picken's The Fashion Dictionary (1973), we defined the following:
apparel: Clothing of all sorts; * * * (Page 6)
clothing: Any wearing apparel. For types, see SPORTS CLOTHES and DRESSES. (Page 70)
garment: Any article of apparel, chiefly one made of fabric. (Page 160)
In Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary, at 118 (1984), apparel is defined as: "1. Clothing. 2. Something that covers or adorns."
From the above definitions, it appears that the terms apparel, clothing, and garment are interchangeable.
In HRL 085012, dated August 7, 1989, we stated that garments are articles which cover the trunk of the body. Pickens Fashion Dictionary (page 1) defines accessory as an article of apparel that completes the costume such as shoes, gloves, hats, bags, jewelry, neckwear, belts, boutonnieres, scarves. Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged (1986) defines accessory as "any of various articles of apparel (as a scarf, belt, or piece of jewelry) that accent or otherwise complete one's costume." Classification as a clothing accessory is classification based upon use and per Additional Rule of Interpretation 1(a), classification controlled by use is determined by the principal use in the United States of goods of the class or kind to which the good belongs. In order to be classified as a clothing accessory of heading 6217, an article must be intended for use solely or principally as an accessory to clothing. See, Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 088540 of June 3, 1991, and HQ 088436 of April 5, 1991. The article at issue here does not accent, complete or complement clothing, it complements a cap which is itself a clothing accessory. In HQ 084857, dated June 28, 1989, and HQ 081945, dated January 29, 1990, Customs clearly stated that accessories to shoes are not considered “clothing accessories” of heading 6217, HTSUSA. HQ 084857 (cited above), stated in pertinent part:
. . . [I]n order to be classifiable under Heading 6217, an article must be a clothing accessory. In our view, shoes are commonly considered to be apparel accessories and not “clothing”, and, while shoe covers may be considered to be shoe accessories, accessories of clothing accessories are not within the purview of Heading 6217.
Applying this rationale to the subject merchandise, we are satisfied that for tariff purposes the terms cap, hat and headgear are interchangeable; that a hat is a named clothing accessory and not considered clothing; that the clipster sunshield at issue here accessorizes the hat but is not itself a clothing accessory. We note that in HQ 958649, dated December 18, 1995, we classified a textile sash, a hat decoration (“accessory for a hat”) in heading 6307, finding that as the sash is not principally used or of a class of goods principally used as a clothing accessory, classification in heading 6217 was precluded. Also see HQ 084857 and HQ 081945. Based on the above, it is our view that the article at issue here is similar to the sash, in that it is not principally used or of a class of goods principally used as a clothing accessory, and is not classifiable in Heading 6217, HTSUS.
Heading 6307, HTSUS, provides for other made up articles of textile materials. The Explanatory Notes for this heading state that the heading covers made up articles of any textile material that are not included more specifically in other headings of Section XI or elsewhere in the Nomenclature. From the discussion in the preceding paragraphs, the item under consideration is not more specifically provided for in other headings and, therefore, is classified under this heading.
The Clipster sunshield is properly classified under subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up articles, other. The general column one rate of duty is of 7 percent ad valorem.
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 the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.
John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division