In December 2011, U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) proposed to revoke NY N084077 (April 12, 2010). The New York ruling held that a man’s vest constructed of bonded fabric consist of an outer layer of MMF woven fabric, a polyurethane membrane, and an inner layer of MMF knit pile fabric. The ruling is based on Note 1(c), Chapter 60, which states that laminated knit pile fabric is classified as knit, regardless of the construction of the outer layer. The ruling is consistent with CBP’s longstanding interpretation of Note 1(c), which is that garments similar in construction to the subject merchandise is classified as knit, even when the outer surface is woven fabric.

CBP proposed to reclassify the vest as a woven garment in subheading 6211.33.00 (16%), based on the essential character principle. The proposal does not mention Note 1(c), and does not describe the interior layer as knit pile, but merely a knit fabric. It may be that the inner layer is not pile, in which case Note 1(c) is not applicable. 

On January 25, 2012, USA-ITA, now USFIA, submitted comments to CBP expressing our opinion that the ruling should be clear on the distinction of knit pile vs. knit fabric, and that if CBP intends to change the interpretation of Note 1(c), USA-ITA/USFIA requests the opportunity to address that issue in greater detail. 

On May 16, 2012, CBP published a final ruling, HQ H136897, 46:21 Cust. Bull & Decs. 164. The published ruling is clear that the inner layer of the bonded fabric was not a knit pile. Accordingly, the ruling does not represent a change in the interpretation of Note 1(c).

The United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), formerly the United States Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel (USA-ITA), believes that the ruling should make the distinction between knit pile and knit fabric, and that the final ruling should be clear on which of the two descriptions is correct. If the ruling’s intent is to alter the interpretation of Note 1 (c), the ruling should be clear on that point. This is an important distinction. If CBP intends to change the interpretation of Chapter Note 1(c), USA-ITA requested the opportunity to address that issue in greater detail. As such, USA-ITA/USFIA was pleased with the final ruling.