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HQ 957745

June 8, 1995

CLA-2 R:C:T 957745 jb


TARIFF NO.: 6203.43.4030

Mr. Mitchel R. Scher
Vandegrift Forwarding Co. Inc.
One Evertrust Plaza
Jersey City, NJ 07302

RE: Men's woven nylon shorts; not swimwear, heading 6211, HTSUSA; shorts, heading 6203, HTSUSA; CIE 13/88; Hampco Apparel, Inc. V. United States

Dear Mr. Scher:

This is in response to your letter dated February 15, 1995, on behalf of your client, Nautica International Inc., requesting classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of a pair of men's woven nylon shorts. A sample was provided to this office for examination and will be returned under separate cover.


The submitted sample, referenced style number T58017, is a pair of men's woven nylon shorts with a black strip overlaid on the side seams. The garment has a flat waistband with a snap closure and a plastic tab which connects with a Velcro strip which folds over itself, providing minimal tightening of the waistband. The garment also features a lightweight liner, a fly front opening with a Velcro closure, a rear pocket with a Velcro closure, and a rear hanger loop slightly below the waistband.


Whether the submitted sample is classifiable under men's swimwear, heading 6211, HTSUSA, or men's shorts, heading 6203, HTSUSA?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 requires 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 1, the remaining GRI will be applied, in the order of their appearance.

In Hampco Apparel, Inc. v. United States, Slip Op. 88-12 (January 28, 1988), the Court of International Trade stated that three factors must be present if a garment is to be considered swimwear for tariff purposes:

(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

The Guidelines for the Reporting of Imported Products in Various Textile and Apparel Categories, CIE 13/88, November 23, 1988, also provide guidelines in classifying garments as either men's shorts or swimwear. The guidelines state:

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. (Emphasis added).

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 081477, dated March 21, 1988, we stated that in order to determine whether a garment is designed and constructed for swimming, we will 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 a garment is chiefly used. See HQ 952751, dated January 12, 1993; HQ 952209, dated October 2, 1992; HQ 951841, dated August 11, 1992; and HQ 950501, dated December 17, 1991.

Customs has been consistent in ruling that even in those instances where the first two factors enumerated by the court in Hampco are present, but the third factor is lacking, the article will be considered shorts (See also, HQ 086436, dated May 3, 1990; HQ 086979, dated May 15, 1990; HQ 087476, dated September 7, 1990; HQ 950207, dated December 3, 1991, and HQ 950652, dated February 12, 1992).

Several factors lead us to conclude that the submitted shorts are not designed and constructed as swimwear. The subject sample has neither a drawstring nor an elasticized waistband. The waistband construction is not adapted for swimming; the tightening provided by the plastic tab and Velcro strip is minimal and would not serve the function of a drawstring. Accordingly, as there is no support for the fact that the submitted shorts are designed and constructed for swimming, Customs is of the opinion that the shorts are classifiable under heading 6203, HTSUSA, in the provision for shorts.


The submitted shorts, referenced style number T58017, are classified under subheading 6203.43.4030, HTSUSA, which provides for, among other things, men's woven shorts of synthetic fibers. The applicable rate of duty is 29.5 percent ad valorem. The textile category is 647.

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 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, 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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