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HQ 087285

September 19, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 087285 KWM


TARIFF NO.: 6104.62.2030

Mr. Andrew B. Schroth
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, New York 10017

RE: New York Ruling Letter 851721; Modification of NYRL 851721 declined; Women's knit shorts; Women's knit skirt; Divided skirt; Visible leg separation.

Dear Mr. Schroth:

This will acknowledge receipt of your correspondence dated May 21, 1990, requesting reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 851721. After considering the information included with your submission, as well as the sample provided, we have determined that NYRL 851721 is correct and we decline to modify or revoke it.


The item at issue here is described in your letter as a "women's divided knit skirt, Style No. V3750T." The sample provided has an elastic waist band, oversized leg openings and contrasting trim along the leg openings. The garment is made in either Hong Kong or Taiwan, and is composed of 90 percent cotton and 10% polyester.

Pursuant to a request dated April 18, 1990, New York Ruling Letter 851721 was issued to you classifying the garment not as a skirt, but as women's cotton knit shorts under subheading 6104.62.2030, HTSUSA. That determination was based on a finding that ". . . when worn, the leg separation is apparent when viewed from the front." Your reconsideration request questions that finding, asserting that the appearance of the garment in question is more like that of a skirt.


What is the appropriate test for determining whether a garment should be classified as shorts or as a divided skirt?

How is the garment in this case classified?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The systematic detail of the harmonized system is such that virtually all goods are classified by application of GRI 1, that is, according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relevant Section or Chapter Notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRIs may be applied, taken in order.

The test for classifying shorts and divided skirts

As noted in your request, the Textile Category Guidelines, CIE 13/88, include a category description for women's and girl's skirts. The Guidelines state, in pertinent part, that divided skirts or "culottes" are considered to be skirts for tariff purposes if "when worn, the leg separation is not apparent when viewed from the front." Where the leg separation is apparent, the garment is considered to be shorts. The criteria set forth in the Guidelines remains the criteria used by Customs to distinguish between "shorts" and divided "skirts", as those terms are used in the nomenclature. The Explanatory Notes, which are the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, offer no help when distinguishing between these garments. Therefore, the determination requires a subjective decision by the determining official. The appearance of the garment is the key to its classification.

The goods at issue in NYRL 851721

As noted in NYRL 851721, the garment at issue was classified as women's shorts based on the visible leg separation when the item was viewed from the front. This is the appropriate test, as discussed above and as noted in your request. We have examined the garment, and placed it on both a mannequin and a live model. In each case, we have found that the leg separation is visible from the front as stated in NYRL 851721. The item is therefore classifiable by application of GRI 1 as "shorts." We decline to reverse or modify the holding of that ruling.


New York Ruling Letter 851721 is hereby affirmed. The garment in question, women's knit shorts, style number V3750T, is classified in subheading 6104.62.2030, HTSUSA, as women's shorts, of cotton. The applicable duty rate is 16.7 percent ad valorem, and the applicable textile category is 348. This holding is based on the frontal appearance of the garment and whether the leg separation is apparent when the garment is viewed from the front.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota category 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 issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available 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 the importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John A. Durant
Commercial Rulings Division

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