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HQ 956801

November 14, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956801 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6114.20.0020

Mr. B.S. Yeung
Hong Kong Economic and
Trade Office
1150 18th Street, N.W.
Suite 475
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Classification of a bodyshirt; Heading 6114; Note 8, Chapter 61, HTSUSA

Dear Mr. Yeung:

This is in response to your inquiry of July 21, 1994, requesting a tariff classification determination of a certain woman's upper body garment under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted for examination.


The merchandise at issue is described as a woman's short sleeve bodyshirt. The garment contains a shirt type ribbed collar, a partial front opening with a button means of closure and left over right closure, elasticized leg openings, and a snap crotch. The upper shirt-like portion of the garment is constructed of 85.9 percent cotton knit fabric/12.9 percent nylon knit fabric/and 1.2 percent spandex knit fabric. The lower sewn-on panty portion of the garment is constructed of 85.3 percent nylon knit fabric/14.7 percent spandex knit fabric.


What is the proper tariff classification for the garment in question?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's taken in order.

GRI 3(a) requires that where two or more headings describe the merchandise, the more specific will prevail; or if two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials in t he goods, then classification will be by GRI 3(b); GRI 3(b) states that the material or component which imparts the essential character to the goods will determine the classification.

Heading 6114, HTSUSA, which is the provision for other garments, knitted or crocheted, provides for bodysuits. The Textile Category Guidelines, C.I.E. 13/88, which are sometimes consulted by Customs as a guide in determining the tariff classification for certain garments describes bodysuits as:

[Garments] constructed of finely knit fabric which usually includes lycra or spandex yarns. They cover the wearer's torso and may have elastic around the neck, arm and leg openings. They are designed to be form-fitting and may be intended for use during exercise, dance or similar athletic activity. Body suits are one piece. * * * They are frequently called leotards in the trade.

The Guidelines fail to mention "bodyshirts". The term "bodyshirt" is defined in the Essential Terms of Fashion, by Charlotte Mankey Calasibetta, as "a fitted shirt with a long tail which snaps between the legs, making a leotard type garment."

When examining the instant garment in light of the Guidelines and the cited fashion dictionary, it appears that it fits squarely within the given description for bodysuits. The subject one-piece garment is constructed of a finely knit nylon and spandex material; it contains elastic around the leg openings; and is form-fitting. Therefore, it is classifiable under Heading 6114, HTSUSA.

The subject garment is constructed of various types of knit textile fabric, cotton, nylon, and spandex. The cotton material makes up 85.9 percent of the upper portion of the garment. The nylon material comprises 85.3 percent of the lower panty portion of the garment. The upper part of the garment is exposed, while the lower panty portion of the garment is concealed. As such, the cotton upper fabric portion is the dominant textile of the garment and imparts its essential character in accordance with GRI 3(b).

The top front opening of the subject garment is joined with a left over right button closure. This closure direction is usually an indication that a particular garment is constructed for men or boys. Note 8, Chapter 61, HTSUSA, states the following:

Garments of this chapter designed for left over right closure at the front shall be regarded as men's or boys' garments, and those designed for right over left closure at the front as women's or girls' garments. These provisions do not apply where the cut of the garment clearly indicates that is designed for one or other of the sexes.

Garments which cannot be identified as either men's or boys' garments or as women's or girls' garments are to be classified in the headings covering women's or girls' garments. In this case, it is clear from the design (or cut) of the bodyshirt, which is commonly known as a women's garment, that it is identified and classified as a woman's article of clothing.


Based on the foregoing, the subject garment is classified in subheading 6114.20.0020, HTSUSA, which provides for other garments, knitted or crocheted, cotton, bodysuits and bodyshirts. The applicable rate of duty is 11.5 percent ad valorem and the textile restraint category is 359.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and 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 that 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 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 applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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