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HQ 081785

March 17, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 081785 SM


TARIFF NO.: HTSUS 6113.00.0085; 6113.00.0090

Mr. John Goodrich
International Operations
Fingerhut Corporation
4400 Baker Road A-195
Minnetonka, Minnesota 55343

RE: Tariff classification of sauna belt and shorts

Dear Mr. Goodrich:

Your letter of September 1, 1987, addressed to our New York office, requested a tariff classification ruling for a sauna belt and shorts to be imported from Taiwan. New York ruling 824984 of February 3, 1988, gave a tariff classifica- tion under the Tariff Schedules of the United States Anno- tated. The question of classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) was referred to this office.


The merchandise consists of a pair of sauna shorts and a belt, Style No. PC-12208. The shorts are a pull-on style and feature seams covered on the outside with braid. Apparently the shorts and belt are made of the same material which, according to a Customs laboratory report of January 13, 1988, is a chlorinated expanded synthetic rubber laminated on one surface to a nylon knit fabric. The nylon fabric is on the outside of the garment. The material weighs 958.7 grams per square meter, and the chlorinated synthetic rubber accounts for over 91 percent of the weight. Descriptive literature provided with the sample indicates that the garment is designed to promote loss of weight and inches when worn during work and play.


How are the synthetic rubber and nylon shorts and belt classified under the HTSUSA?


Classification under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 6113, HTSUSA, provides for garments, whether men's or women's, made up of knitted or crocheted fabrics of headings 5903, 5906, or 5907, HTSUSA. The Explanatory Notes, the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, state that heading 6113 includes raincoats, oilskins, divers' suits, and anti-radiation protective suits, although it is not limited to these articles. The sauna shorts are garments made up of a fabric of the type used for some divers' suits, and thus it appears that they, too, are intended to be covered by heading 6113, HTSUSA. However, we must determine whether the fabric of the shorts and belt would in fact be classifiable under one of the specified headings: 5903, 5906, or 5907, HTSUSA.

Heading 5903, HTSUSA, provides for fabric-plastic com- binations, and so is not applicable here.

Heading 5906, HTSUSA, provides for rubberized textile fabrics other than tire cord. The fabric of the shorts is made with a synthetic rubber; however, Note 1 of Chapter 40, HTSUSA, provides that throughout the nomenclature the expres- sion rubber includes synthetic rubber.

Note 4 of Chapter 59, HTSUSA, includes two relevant limitations on the meaning of "rubberized textile fabrics" in heading 5906. Note 4(a) provides that this heading covers textile fabrics impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with rubber, of a weight not exceeding 1,500 g/m2. The Customs laboratory report, as indicated above, shows that the fabric of the shorts and belt weighs 958.7 g/m2, and therefore it falls within this description.

Note 4(d) provides that sheets of cellular rubber combined with textile fabric are covered by heading 5906 if the textile fabric is more than just reinforcement.

We do not consider that the nylon fabric is present merely to add strength to the rubber, e.g., to keep it from tearing. While it may well perform that function, the nylon would also protect the rubber from possible abrasion. Addi- tionally, the fine knit and attractive color of the nylon serve the aesthetic purpose of giving the fabric an attractive appearance. We conclude that the sauna shorts are made up of a fabric of heading 5906, HTSUSA, and are classifiable under heading 6113, HTSUSA.

While the belt is of the same fabric as the shorts, belts are not garments for tariff purposes. Heading 6217, HTSUSA, provides for other made up clothing accessories. The Explanatory Notes for this heading indicate that it is intended to include textile belts of all kinds. We have ruled previously that textile belts imported separately are clas- sifiable under this heading. File 081619 of October 6, 1988. Thus, no single heading provides for both the belt and the shorts. Classification cannot be determined under GRI 1.

GRI 2(a), concerning incomplete or unassembled articles, does not apply in this case.

GRI 2(b) provides that goods consisting of more than one material or substance and appearing to be classifiable under more than one heading, such as the garments and belts in ques- tion here, must be classified according to GRI 3.

GRI 3(a) provides that the more specific heading is to be preferred. However, when "two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods . . . ." In this case different headings each refer to part only of the goods to be classified. Thus classification cannot be determined according to which heading is more specific.

GRI 3(b) provides that "[m]ixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classi- fied as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character . . . ."

The Explanatory Notes for GRI 3(b) provide interpreta- tion of the terms essential character and goods put up in sets for retail sale. The Notes state that goods put up in sets for retail sale are those that:

(a) consist of at least two different articles which are, prima facie, classifiable in different headings . . .;

(b) consist of products or articles put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a spe- cific activity; and

(c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking . . . .

The sauna shorts and belt consist of a textile garment and a belt prima facie classifiable in different headings. These articles are put up together to provide a coordinated outfit to be worn during work or play, although similar belts are sold separately. They are stated to be imported together; we assume that they are ready for direct sale without repacking. We conclude that the shorts and belt are classifiable as a set.

The Explanatory Notes state further that the factor determining which article of a set provides its essential character will vary with different kinds of goods. It may be "the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or . . . the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods." With regard to the style under consideration here, as in virtually every instance involving belt and garment combinations, it is the garment which provides the essential character. The belt is merely an accessory to the garment and, barring exceptional circum- stances, is not the main reason for the existence of the combination or the primary motivating factor governing the purchase of the two articles.


The sauna shorts and belt are classified as a set under subheading 6113.00.0085, HTSUSA, textile category 659, a pro- vision for other men's garments made up of knitted fabric of heading 5906, or subheading 6113.00.0090, HTSUSA, textile category 659, if women's. Pursuant to the December 23, 1988, directive from the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, when textile garments and accessories are entered
as sets, separate visa and quota reporting is required where separate textile apparel categories exist. In this case, if the belt were classified separately, under subheading 6117.80.0030, HTSUSA, the textile category would be the same as that for the shorts, i.e., 659.

Because of the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the tariff number) and the textile restraint categories, you should contact your local Customs office before importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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