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HQ 083988

June 15, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083988 SM


TARIFF NO.: 6204.62.4065

Mr. Jerry Armani
Mamiye Sales, Inc.
Suite 700
112 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10120

RE: Tariff classification of shorts with suspenders and belt

Dear Mr. Armani:

Your letter of March 6, addressed to our New York office, requesting a tariff classification ruling for a pair of shorts with suspenders and belt, has been referred to this office for reply.


A sample of Style No. 8, to be imported from Hong Kong, was submitted. Although the sample is clearly an adult size, you state that the merchandise will be imported in girls' sizes 2/4T, 4/6X, and 7/14. The shorts are of a 100 percent cotton denim fabric. The cuffs are turned up and faced with a contrasting fabric. "Patches" of other contrasting fabrics are appliqued in various places on the front and back. The shorts have a zipper opening on the left side, a slight front rise, seven belt loops, and two front pockets. The elas- ticized suspenders are adjustable and have metal clips. The belt is of man-made fiber and fastens with a D-ring.


The question is whether the articles are classified together or separately.


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation. GRI 1 provides that classi- fication is determined first in accordance with the terms of
the headings of the tariff and any relative section and chapter notes and then, if nothing in the notes or headings requires otherwise, in accordance with the remaining GRI's.

Textile apparel generally is provided for in Section XI, HTSUSA. Note 13 of this section provides that textile gar- ments of different headings must be classified in their own headings even if put up in sets for retail sale. However, this note does not apply to accessories such as belts and suspenders.

Heading 6212, HTSUSA, provides for suspenders. Heading 6217, HTSUSA, provides for other made up clothing accessories, including belts. Heading 6204, HTSUSA, provides for girls' shorts. No single heading provides for all the articles com- prising Style No. 8. Classification cannot be determined according to GRI 1.

GRI 3 provides generally for the classification of goods that appear to be classifiable under more than one heading. 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 (EN), the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, for GRI 3(b) provide explanation of the terms essential character, composite goods, and goods put up in sets for retail sale. With regard to composite goods they state:

For the purposes of [GRI 3(b)], composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would
not normally be offered for sale in separate parts . . . . As a general rule, the components of these composite goods are put up in a common packing.

The shorts and belt of Style No. 8 fall within this descrip- tion. Separable components, they are adapted to one another in that the loops on the shorts are sized to accommodate the width of the belt. The two components are mutually comple- mentary in their use and casual styling, are packed together, and would not normally be offered for sale separately.

However, the shorts-belt combination and the suspenders in question here cannot be described as composite goods. Al- though shorts and suspenders are often used together, these clip-on suspenders have no particular connection with this pair of shorts. There are no loops, hooks, or fasteners, for example, that could allow them to be characterized as adapted components. The suspenders are of a type that normally are offered for sale apart from shorts. However, the belt-shorts combination and the suspenders can still be classified together if the whole falls within the description of sets. The EN state that goods put up in sets for retail sale are those which:

(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 . . . .

Style No. 8 consists of three articles prima facie classifi- able in different headings. These articles are put up together to provide a coordinated outfit of shorts, belt, and suspenders in the same style. They are stated to be imported together; we assume that they are ready for direct sale with- out repacking.

The EN state further that the factor determining essen- tial 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 accessory and garment combinations, it is the garment which provides the essential character. The accessories, barring exceptional circumstances, are
not the main reason for the existence of the combination or the primary motivating factor governing its purchase.


The shorts, belt, and suspenders are classified as a set consisting of composite goods and a pair of suspenders under subheading 6204.62.4065, HTSUSA, a provision for girls' shorts. The textile category for the trousers and belt is 348. The textile category for the suspenders, from subheading 6212.90.0030, HTSUSA, is 659. Garments and clothing accesso- ries entered as components of sets, rather than composite goods, require separate visas and separate statistical reporting for quota purposes, pursuant to the directive of December 23, 1988, from the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.

Because of the changeable nature of the statistical annotation i.e., the ninth and tenth digits of the tariff number, and of 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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