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HQ 956299

May 13, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956299 ch


TARIFF NO.: 6211.11.2010

Howard M. Paull, Esq.
630A Third Street
Brooklyn, New York 11215

RE: Classification of men's swimwear; shorts; Hampco.

Dear Mr. Paull:

This is in response to your letter of March 22, 1994, requesting tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), for what is described as a men's swimsuit. A sample was provided to our office for examination and will be returned to you under separate cover.


The submitted sample, style 51045, has a woven shell comprised of 60 percent cotton and 40 percent polyester, as well as a 100 percent nylon mesh liner. The sample is a size medium and measures approximately 18 inches from the top of the waistband to its hemmed bottom. This item possesses side seam pockets with mesh near the bottom seam to facilitate drainage. In addition, it has a rear patch pocket and a flap simulating a flapped pocket on the lower left leg. The garment features a fully elasticized waistband encircled with five tunnel belt loops, a woven nylon belt with a plastic slide closure and a functional drawstring. It does not possess a fly.


Whether the subject merchandise is classified under heading 6211, HTSUSA, which provides for men's swimwear, or heading 6203, HTSUSA, which provides for men's shorts (other than swimwear)?


The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88, November 23, 1988, at page 21, states that:

Garments commercially known as jogging or athletic shorts are normally loose-fitting short pants usually extending from the waist to the upper thigh and usually have an elastic waistband. They may resemble swim trunks for men, boys, or male infants, which are not included in this category. Swim trunks will usually have an elasticized waist with a drawstring and a full lightweight support liner. Garments which cannot be recognized as swim trunks will be considered shorts.

Thus, athletic shorts and swim trunks are classified separately, although they may closely resemble one another. The Guidelines indicate that swim trunks usually possess a drawstring and a lightweight liner. In addition, a pair of swim trunks must be recognizable as such.

In Hampco Apparel, Inc. v. United States, 12 C.I.T. 92 (1988), the Court of International Trade set forth features typically found in swimwear:

(1) the garment has an elasticized waistband through which a drawstring is threaded;

(2) the garment has an inner lining of lightweight material; and

(3) the garment is designed and constructed for swimming.

In that decision, the Court stated:

If all of the above are present, the garment is swimwear. If the garment does not have an inner lining and has a fly front, it would be considered shorts.

In this case, the garment has both a lightweight inner lining and an elasticized waistband through which a drawstring is threaded. Hence, the first two criteria have been met. Consequently, style 51045 shall be classified as swimwear if it is designed and constructed for swimming.

In this regard, it has been our practice to first look at the appearance of the garment. If the appearance is inconclusive, the following evidence will be considered: the way in which the garment has been designed, manufactured, marketed or advertised, the way in which the manufacturer or importer intends the garment to be used, and the way in which the garment is chiefly used. See HRL 952751, dated January 12, 1993; HRL 952209, dated October 2, 1992; HRL 951841, dated August 11, 1992; HRL 950501, dated December 17, 1991.

In this instance, we conclude that style 51045 appears to be designed principally for swimming. The fabric used to construct this article is relatively lightweight and will not retain an inordinate amount of water. The garment's outseam length is not so long so that it inhibits swimming. The presence of pockets and belt loops does not preclude classification as a swimsuit. See HRL 087357, dated June 25, 1990; HRL 087264, dated June 13, 1990. The side seam pockets have been designed so as to facilitate drainage. Although the presence of a belt is not normally associated with swimwear, in this instance it is composed of lightweight, non-absorbent materials. Hence, it will not be cumbersome when bathing. Finally, the absence of a fly front renders it less likely that the garment will be worn as shorts. Based on the foregoing discussion, style 51045 is classifiable as men's swimwear, pursuant to heading 6211, HTSUSA.

However, this decision relates only to the submitted sample. We note that in your correspondence you state that the garment "will also feature a zipper fly front." This feature would render it more likely that the garment will be worn principally as a pair of men's shorts. Consequently, we reserve judgment on the classification of this item imported with a zipper fly front.


The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 6211.11.2010, HTSUSA, which provides for track suits, ski-suits and swimwear; other garments: swimwear: men's or boys': other, of cotton, men's. The applicable rate of duty is 8 percent ad valorem. The textile quota category is 359.

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 the subject of frequent negotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that 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 the 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 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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