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HQ 950840

January 8, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 950840 CMR


TARIFF NO.: 6104.62.2010, 6104.63.2010, 6104.63.2030

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

RE: Classification of women's knit garments for the lower torso and legs; leggings; tights; pants; 6115, HTSUSA; 6104, HTSUSA

Dear Mr. Lai:

This ruling is in response to your request of December 18, 1991, regarding the classification of six samples of knit garments designed to cover the lower torso and legs.


The garments at issue, samples A through F, are made of fine knit fabric of various fiber compositions. Samples A, B, E and F are made from 95 percent cotton/5 percent spandex knit fabric. Samples C and D are made from 60 percent polyester/35 percent cotton/5 spandex knit fabric. All of the garments have elasticized self-fabric covered waistbands, unlined gussets in the crotch, and hemmed leg bottoms. Samples A, D, E and F have inner seams along the legs. Samples B and C have inner and outer seams along the legs. The garments also vary in length from above the knee to the ankle.

The garments are somewhat form-fitting due to the presence of the 5 percent spandex in the fabric, however, all of the garments appear baggy in the back torso area when put on a mannequin form.


Are the submitted samples classifiable as tights of heading 6115, HTSUSA, or as trousers or shorts of heading 6104, HTSUSA?


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 somewhat form-fitting due to the 5 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 in question.

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.

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.


Samples A, B, E and F are classifiable in subheading 6104.62.2010, HTSUSA, which provides for women's cotton trousers or breeches. The garments fall within textile category 348 and are dutiable at 16.7 percent ad valorem. Sample D is classifiable as women's trousers of synthetic fibers in subheading 6104.63.2010, HTSUSA, textile category 648, dutiable at 30 percent ad valorem. Sample C is classifiable as women's shorts of synthetic fibers in subheading 6104.63.2030, HTSUSA, textile category 648, dutiable at 30 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.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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