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HQ 084816

September 14, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084816 JBW


TARIFF NO.: 6203.42.4015

Ms. Cathy Johnson
Seattle Pacific Industries, Inc.
P. O. Box 58710
Seattle, Washington 98188

RE: Classification of Cotton Woven Trousers with Suspenders

Dear Ms. Johnson:

Your letter of May 16, 1989, on behalf of Seattle Pacific Industries, Inc., addressed to our Seattle office, has been referred to this office for reply concerning the classification of cotton woven trousers with suspenders under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


You requested classification of a pair of men's woven cotton trousers with button-on suspenders of cotton webbing, style 93Y509. The trousers have functional belt loops, but no belt, a fly front with a zipper closure, and a button closure on the waistband. The straps of the suspenders each have two loops to fasten the suspenders to the trousers by buttons, which are sewn onto the exterior of the waistband. You state that the suspenders will be attached to the trousers at the time of importation.


Whether trousers and suspenders, joined by buttons, are classified as a set or as a composite good under the HTSUSA?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) set forth the legal framework in which merchandise is to be classified under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined first according to the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes and, unless otherwise required, according to the remaining GRI's, taken in order.

The trousers, if imported separately, would be imported under subheading 6203.42.4015, HTSUSA, as other men's trousers of cotton. The suspenders are classified under subheading 6212.90.0010, HTSUSA. Special rules apply if the goods are imported together.

Section XI generally provides for textile apparel. Note 13 of this section requires that textile apparel of different headings be classified in their own headings even if put up in sets for retail sale. However, this note does not cover accessories such as suspenders.

GRI 3 governs classification of goods that appear classifiable under more than one heading. GRI 3(b) provides for the treatment of composite goods consisting of different components even if the components are separable, as long as they are adapted one to the other, are mutually complementary, and together form a whole that would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

The goods under examination are not composite goods. Although these shorts and suspenders are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary, the individual components are the types of goods that may be sold separately. The trousers have, in addition to the suspender buttons, belt loops, which suggest sale or use without suspenders. The suspenders are black cotton webbing, and are adaptable to a variety of styles and colors of trousers.

GRI 3(b) also provides for goods put up in sets for retail sale. The Explanatory Notes, which represent the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, for GRI 3(b) define "goods put up in sets for retail sale." Such goods: (a) consist of at least two different articles that are classified in different headings, (b) consist of products put up together to meet a particular need or carry out a specific activity, and (c) are put up in a manner suitable for sale directly to users without repacking. The merchandise under consideration falls under two different headings. The components are put up together to provide a coordinated outfit. We assume that the are ready for sale directly to consumers without repackaging. The goods are therefore a set.

GRI 3(b) requires that goods put up in sets for retail sale be classified as if consisting of the component that provides the set its essential character. The Explanatory Notes state that the factors determining essential character may vary as between different kinds of goods. The Notes suggest that essential character may be determined by the nature of a component or material, its bulk, quantity, weight, or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

With regard to the sample at issue, the trousers impart the essential character of the set. The trousers have the greater bulk, weight, and value. Accessories, like suspenders, are not the main reason for the existence of the combination or the primary motivating factor governing its purchase.


The trousers and suspenders are classified as a set under subheading 6203.42.4015, HTSUSA, a provision for other men's trousers of cotton. The textile category for the trousers is 347. The textile category for the suspenders, from subheading 6212.90.0010, HTSUSA, is 359. Garments and clothing accessories 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, form the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements.

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 your local Customs office prior to 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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