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HQ 088547

May 20, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088547 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6204.52.2070

Mr. Tommy Lai
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
British Embassy
1233 20th Street, N.W., Suite 504
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Classification of divided skirt v. shorts; 6204, HTSUSA

Dear Mr. Lai:

This ruling is in response to your request of January 17, 1991, regarding the classification of certain ladies' cotton woven garments entered at the port of Los Angeles [your case #HK168/90]. A sample was received with your request and will be returned under separate cover.


The garment at issue is described by you as a pair of ladies' cotton woven shorts. The garment is made of 100 percent woven cotton fabric. With the exception of a lightweight, plain weave, inner-front panel, the fabric of the garment is of denim construction. The garment features a leg separation which is formed by the joining of the back denim panel and the inner-front panel. However, the front of the garment is constructed with an outer panel of denim fabric which covers the leg separation and gives the garment the appearance of a straight tight-fitting mini-skirt. The garment features two front and two rear pockets. It has a front opening secured by a zipper and metal button. The waistband features five belt loops and the right back pockets is embroidered with an L.A. Gear emblem.


Is the subject garment classifiable as shorts or as a divided skirt?


Classification of goods under the 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 and any relative section or chapter notes, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRIs taken in order]."

The classification of the garment at issue is dependent upon the impression created by the garment when viewed from the front. In distinguishing between shorts and divided skirts, the determining official must make a subjective decision as to the frontal appearance of the garment; whether it has the appearance of a skirt with regard to silhouette and fullness and whether the leg separation is apparent when the garment is viewed from the front. While an objective test would be preferable, one has not been developed as of yet, nor do we think it is likely one could be developed and applied. The appearance of the garment from the front is the key to its classification and that appearance may be affected by differences in the fabric used to make the garment and by the placement of gathers or pleats on the front of the garment. See, HRL 085748 of December 1, 1989

In your letter of January 17th, you describe the garment as having a frontal appearance of a tight-fitting mini-skirt. However, you state that the Hong Kong Trade Department believes the garment lacks the frontal appearance of a skirt with regard to silhouette and fullness. We disagree.

When viewed from the front, the garment at issue has the silhouette, or outline, of a straight, tight-fitting mini-skirt. In regard to fullness, it has the same fullness one would expect in a tight-fitting mini-skirt. Additionally, the leg separation cannot be seen when the garment is viewed from the front.


The garment at issue is classifiable as a women's divided skirt of cotton in subheading 6204.52.2070, HTSUSA, textile category 342, dutiable at 8.7 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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