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HQ 959768

October 3, 1996

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959768 jb


TARIFF NO.: 6203.43.4010

Trish Dwyer
Marithe & Francois Girbaud
P.O. Box 77699
Greensboro, NC 27417-7699

RE: Request for Reconsideration of NY A82724; classification of men's pants; garment constructed of multiple fabrics; Customs Memorandum 084118; GRI 3(c)

Dear Ms. Dwyer:

This is in response to your letter, received by us on September 20, 1996, requesting reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) A82724, dated May 3, 1996, which classified a pair of men's woven pants under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted to this office for examination and will be returned under separate cover.


The submitted sample, referenced style number PC988BO, is a pair of men's woven pants comprised of multiple fabrics. The front of the garment from the waistband to the knee is made of 100 percent cotton corduroy and features a fly front, a metal button at the waist, two diagonal pockets, and a seven inch by eleven inch nylon cargo pocket fastened by a zipper. The back of the pants is also made of corduroy, except for an upside down bell shaped inset of 100 percent nylon extending from three inches below the waistband to the back of the knees and including two patch pockets of the same material. The leg bottoms are made of 58 percent nylon and 42 percent cotton woven fabric and feature an expandable insert with a zipper closure.

You state in your letter that the percentage of the weight of the garment of each of the three fabrics is as follows: cotton fabric- 57 percent; nylon/cotton blend fabric- 27 percent; nylon fabric- 16 percent.

In NY A82724, the subject pants were classified in subheading 6203.43.4010, HTSUSA, based on the nylon fabric of the pants. You disagree with this determination and feel that the cotton corduroy fabric should control the tariff classification of this garment. In support of this claim you state that the cotton corduroy portion of the pant makes up 57 percent of the total weight of the garment.


Whether the subject garment is properly classified in subheading 6203.42.4005, HTSUSA, based on the cotton corduroy fabric, or subheading 6203.43.4010, HTSUSA, based on the nylon fabric?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 requires that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI's will be applied, in the order of their appearance.

There is no dispute that the subject garment is classifiable as men's woven trousers of heading 6203, HTSUS. However, because the garment is comprised of both cotton and synthetic fabric, the issue is whether the pants are classifiable as made of cotton or of synthetic fibers. The classification of garments composed of different materials was discussed at length in Customs Memorandum file 084118, dated April 13, 1989. Therein factors for determining the essential character of garments composed of different fabrics or of textile and nontextile components were enumerated. HQ 084118 stated:

For upper or lower body garments, if one component exceeds 60 percent of the visible surface area, that component will determine the classification of the garment unless the other component:

(1) forms the entire front of the garment; or (2) provides a visual and significant decorative effect (e.g. a substantial amount of lace); or
(3) is over 50 percent by weight of the garment; or (4) is valued at more than 10 times the primary component.

If no component comprises 60 percent of the visible surface area, or if any of the above four listed conditions are present, classification will be according to GRI 3(b) or 3(c), as appropriate.

In the case of the subject pants, neither component comprises 60 percent or more of the visible surface area. Additionally, neither component meets any of the above listed conditions. Therefore, we devolve to classifying the garment based on GRI 3(b), that is, the component which imparts the essential character, or GRI 3(c), the heading which appears last in the tariff schedule from among the headings which equally merit consideration.

In HQ 950918, dated March 31, 1992, discussing the classification of duck hunting pants made of woven cotton and woven nylon fabrics, the pants were classified based on the nylon fabric due to the fact that the nylon fabric served an essential function with respect to the pants; that is, the nylon fabric provided the wearer with added protection from the elements and better wear suited for the sport of duck hunting. The same cannot be said of the subject pants. It is the opinion of this office that in respect to the submitted pants, neither the cotton nor the synthetic fabric alone create the "identity of the garment". Additionally, the different fabrics which comprise the garment exist for no other purpose than to make a "fashion statement", and each fabric equally contributes to that "look" which creates the fashion statement. Thus, an "essential character" determination based on GRI 3(b) is not possible.

This leaves us no other option than to base classification on GRI 3(c), that is, the heading which appears last in the tariff schedule from among the headings which equally merit consideration. In this case, the competing subheadings are 6203.42.4005, HTSUSA, which provides for, among other things, men's trousers, of corduroy, or 6203.43.4010, HTSUSA, which provides for, among other things, men's trousers, of synthetic fibers. As subheading 6203.43.4010, HTSUSA, occurs last as between those two competing provisions, classification of the subject pants is in the latter subheading.


The submitted men's woven pants, referenced style number PC988BO, is classified in subheading 6203.43.4010, HTSUSA, which provides for, men's or boys' suits, ensembles, suit-type jackets, blazers, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (other than swimwear): trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts: of synthetic fibers: other: other: other: other; trousers and breeches: men's. The applicable rate of duty is 29.3 percent ad valorem and the quota category is 647.

Accordingly, the subject men's woven pants were correctly classified in NY A82724.

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, we suggest that your client check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), and 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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