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HQ 951373

April 29, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951373 jb


TARIFF NO.: 6204.69.2510; 6204.69.2540

Ms. Teri Lucas
ASG Forwarding, Inc.
North Hanger Road
JFK International Airport
Building 75, Room 205
Jamaica, NY 11430-1894

RE: Modification of Pre-entry classification ruling XXXXXX; classification women's trousers and shorts of artificial fibers, subheading 6204.69.2510, HTSUSA, and subheading 6204.69.2540, HTSUSA, respectively

Dear Ms. Lucas:

On February 25, 1992, your client, Amber Trading, was issued Pre-entry classification ruling XXXXXX by our San Francisco office, which classified women's rayon garments under subheading 6204.59.3010 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Upon further review, that ruling is determined to be in error and is accordingly modified.


The merchandise, which was the subject of Pre-entry classification ruling XXXXXX, was classified under subheading 6204.59.3010, HTSUSA, on the basis that the garments met the requirements for a divided skirt.

The samples, style numbers 5116 and 4112, were resubmitted for our inspection. Style number 5116 is described as a pair of rayon woven trousers and style number 4112 is referred to as a pair of rayon woven shorts. Both garments have an elastic waistband. The shorter garments features approximately two inches of embroidered, openwork and bead design. The longer garment features approximately four inches of the design.


Whether proper classification is within the provision for skirts and divided skirts of artificial fibers under subheading 6204.59.3010, HTSUSA, or within the provision for women's trousers and shorts of artificial fibers under subheading 6204.69.2510, HTSUSA and subheading 6204.69.2540, HTSUSA, respectively?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA, is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). The GRI's require that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in order. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI, the remaining GRI's will be applied taken in order.

In Mary Brooks Picken's The Fashion Dictionary (1973), p.335, a divided skirt is defined as:

1. Garment resembling flared skirt, but divided and stitched together to form separate leg sections. Worn formerly by women for horseback riding. 2. culotte.

Culotte is defined in Picken's, p. 99, as:

Informal trouser-like garment having leg portions that are full and fall together to simulate a skirt. Worn as a sports skirt.

The Textile Category Guidelines (CIE) 13/88, dated November 23, 1988, also include a category description for women's and girls' skirts in identical language. The description includes a brief discussion of culottes. The description, in pertinent part, reads as follows:

Distinguished from skirts in this respect, but includable in these categories, are culottes which, while retaining the frontal appearance of a skirt with regard to silhouette and fullness, are constructed so that the garment is cut up the middle and each leg is individually surrounded by fabric. However, when worn, the leg separation is not apparent when viewed from the front. It should be noted that gaucho pants have a construction similar to culottes but without the fullness, and for category purposes are classifiable as pants.

The criteria set forth in the Category Guidelines remains the criteria used by the Customs Service to distinguish between shorts and divided skirts. This requires a subjective decision by the determining official. While an objective test would be preferable, one has not been developed as of yet.

The Explanatory Notes, which are the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, offer no help in making a distinction between these garments. 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.

Several rulings have dealt with the distinctions between the classification of divided skirts and trousers. Specifically, Headquarters Ruling (HQ) 085748, dated December 1, 1989, and HQ 950191, dated December 3, 1991, outlined several guidelines in making such a determination. In short, it was held that, the test for determining whether a garment should be properly classified as trousers (or shorts) or skirt will be based on the frontal appearance of the garment and 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.

The disputed merchandise does not meet the definition of a divided skirt. For a garment to be considered a divided skirt, the leg separation should not be visible when viewed from the front. When the submitted samples are viewed from the front, the leg separation is apparent in both garments.


Styles 5116 and 4112 are correctly classified as trousers and shorts within the provision for Women's...trousers and shorts... of artificial fibers" under subheading 6204.69.2510, HTSUSA and subheading 6204.69.2540, HTSUSA, respectively. The duty is assessed at 30.4 percent ad valorem and the textile category is 648.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, 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 negotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that your client 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, your client should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director

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