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HQ 956289

June 20, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956289 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6211.33.0061

Mr. Lawrence D. Blume
Graham & James
2000 M Street, N.W.
Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: HRL 084622 revoked. Protective sports clothing is other garment, not shorts. Soccer; goalie; padded

Dear Mr. Blume:

This is further to your letter of May 4, 1989. That letter concerned the tariff classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of soccer goalie protective shorts, produced in Taiwan. Please reference your client Union Jacks, a division of Gelhaar Uniform Company.


The merchandise at issue consists of soccer goalie protective shorts. The woven shorts are of a 65% polyester / 35% cotton blend, with an elasticized waistband having a drawstring tie, and with foam padding sewn over the front of the thighs and hips. The padding is held in place by two-inch quilted squares.

In HRL 084622 of June 21, 1989, we classified this merchandise under heading 6203, HTSUSA, as men's woven shorts. We have had occasion to review this decision, and have determined that it was issued in error. Pursuant to section 625, Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. ?1625), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993) (hereinafter section 625), notice of the proposed revocation of HRL 084622 was published on May 18, 1994, in the Customs Bulletin, Volume 28, Number 20. ISSUE:

Whether the protective shorts are considered shorts or other garments under the HTSUSA?


Heading 6203, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, men's and boys' shorts. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized System) constitute the official interpretation of the scope and content of the tariff at the international level. They represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. Totes, Inc. v. United States, No. 91-09-00714, slip op. 92-153, 14 Int'l Trade Rep. (BNA) 1916, 1992 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 158 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1992). While not treated as dispositive, the EN are to be given considerable weight in Customs' interpretation of the HTSUSA. Boast, Inc. v. United States, 15 Int'l Trade Rep. (BNA) 1188, 1993 Ct. Intl. Trade LEXIS 19 (Ct. Int'l Trade 1993). It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the Explanatory Notes when interpreting the HTSUSA. The EN to this heading defines shorts as " trousers' which do not cover the knee."

Heading 6211, HTSUSA, provides for other woven garments not more specifically provided for in the preceding headings. The EN to heading 6114, which applies mutatis mutandis to the articles of heading 6211, states that the heading includes, inter alia, "special articles of apparel used for certain sports or for dancing or gymnastics (e.g., fencing clothing, jockeys' silks, ballet skirts, leotards). . . ."

In HRL 086973 of April 30, 1990, we stated that it is

Customs' view that [heading 6203] is confined to Bermuda, walk and other dress-type shorts and does not include . . . shorts used for sports. Whereas the former are a form of casual dress, the latter are specifically designed for [a particular sport], and, in addition, serve a protective function. Like fencing clothing and ballet skirts, hockey pants have a particular function and are not commonly worn except in furtherance of this end. Thus hockey pants are not ejusdem generis with trousers, overalls, breeches or Bermuda shorts but are a separate and distinct class of merchandise.

See also HRL 951640 of July 16, 1992 (hockey official's pants); HRL 950846 of April 8, 1992 (cycling shorts). HRL 084622's classification of the soccer goalie's protective shorts as shorts was, based upon the above analysis, incorrect. Accordingly, that ruling is hereby revoked. HOLDING:

As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 6211.33.0061, HTSUSA, textile category 659, as other woven garments. The applicable rate of duty is 17 percent ad valorem.

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 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 importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

This letter should be considered a revocation of HRL 084622 of June 21, 1989. In accordance with section 625, this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Customs Bulletin. Publication of rulings or decisions pursuant to section 625 does not constitute a change of practice or position in accordance with section 177.10(c)(1), Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. ?177.10(c)(1).

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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