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HQ 950375


December 17, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 950375 CMR

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

TARIFF NO.: 6104.62.2010, 6104.62.2030

Ms. Pamela Walters
Segrets
66 Cherry Hill Drive
Beverly, MA 01915

RE: Classification of women's knit garments for the lower torso and legs; tights, 6115, HTSUSA, v. trousers, 6104; leggings, bike shorts, capri leggings

Dear Ms. Walters:

This ruling is response to your submission of August 20, 1991, requesting the classification of three knit garments for the lower torso and legs. The garments will be imported from Hong Kong through the port of Boston.

FACTS:

Style 215010/215019 is a trouser-like garment made of 90 percent cotton/10 percent spandex fine knit fabric. You identify the garment as a woman's legging. The garment has a one-inch elasticized self-fabric waistband, an unlined 3" X 3" gusset in the crotch, an inseam length of 27 inches and hemmed leg bottoms.

Style 212020/212029/212030/212039 is a trouser-like garment, described by you as a woman's capri legging. The garment is made of 90 percent cotton/10 percent spandex fine knit fabric. The garment has a one-inch elasticized self-fabric waistband, an unlined 3" X 3" gusset in the crotch, an inseam length of 17 1/4 inches and hemmed leg bottoms.

Style 155010/159020/159029/159030/159039 is a shorts-like garment which you describe as a woman's bike short. The garment is made of 90 percent cotton/10 percent spandex fine knit fabric. The garment has a one-inch elasticized self-fabric waistband, an unlined 3" X 3" gusset in the crotch, an inseam length of 11 inches, and hemmed leg bottoms. Additionally, the garment features 2 1/2-inch wide fabric inserts on each side from the waist to the leg bottoms.

You state the garments are designed for exercise workouts and are part of a new activewear division of Segrets called SSP.

ISSUE:

Are the subject garments classifiable as tights of heading 6115, HTSUSA, or are they classifiable as trousers and shorts of heading 6104, HTSUSA?

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

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]."

In HRL 088454 of October 11, 1991, the classification of garments known as leggings and the distinction between trousers and tights were discussed in great length. Various definitions of tights and trousers were examined. From the various definitions and applying the doctrine of "noscitur a sociis", Customs concluded that tights are a form of hosiery. Customs also studied the opinion of the Customs Court in Children's Hose Inc. v. United States, 55 Cust. Ct. 6, C.D. 2547 (1965), in which the court examined the meaning of the term tights. From the language of the court, Customs concluded that tights are garments which are partially underwear and partially outwear; they are intended to be partially concealed and partially exposed. Tights are garments which if worn in public must be worn with the lower torso portion of the garment, i.e., the underwear portion, covered.

The garments at issue are form-fitting due to the 10 percent spandex in the knit fabric. However, Customs believes these garments are more in the nature of trousers, than hosiery. The fine knit fabric from which the garments are made is sufficiently substantial, i.e., not sheer or revealing, that the wearer need not wear additional garments to conceal any portion of the body covered by the garments at issue.

In addition, in Customs view, the garments are not designed to be partially underwear, that is, they are not designed with a torso portion that allows for wear of the garments without underwear. Although there is a gusset present in each garment, the gussets are not lined. Hence, it is prudent to wear an undergarment when wearing the garments at issue. Moreover, in your submission, style 155010/159020/159029/159030/159039 is identified as bike shorts. Customs agrees the garment is properly identifiable as shorts.

Although the garments at issue are made of lightweight knit fabric with a percentage of spandex, Customs does not believe they meet the meaning of tights as expressed by the court in Children's Hose. Instead, we find that the garments at issue are within the main stream of garments currently known as leggings. These garments are worn in the manner of trousers, not tights, and fail to meet the definition of tights as expressed by the court in Children's Hose.

HOLDING:

Style 215010/215019 and style 212020/212029/212030/212039 are classifiable as women's cotton trousers in subheading 6104.62.2010, HTSUSA, textile category 348, dutiable at 16.7 percent ad valorem. Style 155010/159020/159029/159030/159039 is classifiable as women's cotton shorts in subheading 6104.62.2030, HTSUSA, textile category 348, dutiable at 16.7 percent ad valorem.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service which is updated weekly and is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

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.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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