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HQ 965927

August 14, 2003

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 965927 TF


TARIFF NO.: 6112.41.0010

James F. O'Hara, Esq.
Stein Shostak Shostak & O'Hara
3580 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010-2597

RE: Modification of HQ 952584; Classification of Women’s Swimwear; Tops and Bottoms Imported Together but Separately Packaged in Identical Quantities; Classification Based on Condition at the Time of Importation; Classification Based on the Intent of Importer; HQ 962125; HQ 965497

Dear Mr. O’Hara:

Pursuant to your classification request, on behalf of your client, Krystal K. International Inc., concerning certain styles of women’s two-piece bikini swimwear, Customs issued Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 952584, dated December 8, 1992, to your firm. This ruling classified the merchandise in subheading 6112.41.0010, HTSUSA, which provides for women's knit swimwear of synthetic fibers, of fabric containing by weight 5 percent or more elastomeric yarn or rubber thread.

Upon review, the Bureau of Customs Border and Protection has determined that the classification is correct, however the analysis applied to reach the classification determination is incorrect. This ruling letter sets forth the correct classification determination based on the articles condition as imported rather than the intent of the importer.

HQ 952584 is hereby modified for the reasons set forth below.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930, 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) notice of the proposed modification of HQ 952584, dated December 8, 1992 was published on July 2, 2003, in Vol. 37, No. 27 of the CUSTOMS BULLETIN. No comments were received in response to this notice.


The subject swimwear consist of two-piece bikini swimsuits that are composed of 83 percent nylon and 17 percent spandex knit fabric. The outer shell of one piece is either the same color and pattern, or of a coordinated color and pattern, as a matching second piece. The swimsuits will be imported with the tops and bottoms separately packaged, but in identical quantities of coordinated tops and bottoms that will be sold as sets.

The three sample bottom pieces, designated with a (B) in the model number, are composed of knit nylon and spandex with a polyester lined front panel and crotch. The three sample top pieces, designated with a (T) in the model number, are also composed of nylon and spandex and have a front panel that covers the bosom. All are secured in the back with a one-inch square, clear, plastic fastener.

The three sample sets are as follows:

Model LS(B)000 and Model LS(T)000: the top is designed in a bandeau style.

Model LS(B)001 and Model LS(T)001: the bottom piece is decorated with a ruffled panel of nylon and spandex; the top piece is a short crop tank-top style with lace-up detailing in the front.

Model LS(B)002 and Model LS(T)002: the top is designed in a bandeau style.


What is the proper classification of the merchandise within the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?


Classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (“GRIs”). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may then be applied. The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, which represent the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, facilitate classification under the HTSUSA by offering guidance in understanding the scope of the headings and GRI.

Heading 6112, HTSUSA, provides eo nomine for swimwear. The EN to heading 6112 states that the heading includes, “Swimwear (knitted or crocheted one-piece or two-piece bathing costumes, swimming shorts and trunks, whether or not elastic).” The EN to heading 6112 specifically references “one-piece or two-piece bathing costumes.”

The issue in this case is whether the classification of the submitted bikinis which are separately packaged in identical quantities of coordinated tops and bottoms, is based on the intent of the importer. With regard to whether the intent of the importer is controlling in classifying swimwear merchandise, we note that in HQ 952584, Customs stated that when sets of garments are not packed together in a manner that clearly identifies them as suits at the time of importation, the classification is based on the bona fide intent of the importer. However, since the issuance of HQ 952584, Customs has revisited this matter in HQ 962125, dated May 5, 2000, and clarified its position by stating that the intent of the importer is not determinative of classification, the condition as imported is.

See Headquarters Ruling (HQ) 962125, dated May 5, 2000, which refers to C.S.D. 92-11 (which applies the appropriate analysis of classifying suit components) as follows:

Components of a set need not be packaged together at time of entry in order to be considered classifiable as a set, but all garments must be present in the entry and there must be an equal amount of components to make up the set in the shipment.

In this instance, the subject bikinis are separately packaged in identical quantities of coordinated tops and bottoms to be sold as sets. The classification of bikini merchandise was addressed in HQ 965497, dated April 6, 2002, in which Customs considered whether the EN’s specific reference to “one-piece or two-piece bathing costumes” requires that both pieces are imported together. In reaching its determination, Customs ruled that “two-piece bathing costumes”, such as bikinis, are provided for under heading 6112, HTSUSA, as GRI 1 sets. It was also determined that subheading 6112.41, HTSUSA, which provides for “women’s or girls’ swimwear”, is sufficiently broad to encompass one piece of a two-piece bathing costume. Id.

See HQ 965497, in which Customs states the provision for swimwear is not limited to a combination of a top and bottom garment but covers all women’s swimwear. It adds:

Although there must be two pieces to be a “two-piece bathing costume”, a bikini top is also classified as swimwear because the provision for women’s swimwear is sufficiently broad. Thus swimwear tops and bottoms, when imported separately, remain classified as swimwear of heading 6112, HTSUSA. Thus, Customs logically concluded that where separately packaged swimwear tops and bottoms are imported in unequal quantities, any “extra” tops or bottoms are also classified as swimwear of heading 6112, HTSUSA. Id.

This ruling serves to apply HQ 962125 to the classification of the subject bikinis by determining that the merchandise is classifiable (based on condition as imported) in heading 6112, HTSUSA, which provides for women’s swimwear, so long as they are imported together in equal quantities that are coordinated and matched by size, and constructed and designed to be used exclusively or mainly for swimming.

Therefore, to the extent that HQ 952584 relied on the intent of the importer to classify the goods, we find the ruling to be in error and are striking the reference to the intent of the importer in HQ 952584 as this has no bearing on the classification determination.

In sum, we are classifying the identical numbers of the coordinated swimsuit tops and bottoms on the basis of their condition as imported, which is swimwear of heading 6112, HTSUSA.


HQ 952584, dated December 8, 1992, is hereby modified.

The subject tops and bottoms of the bikini swimsuits are classifiable in subheading 6112.41.0010, HTSUSA, as “women’sswimwear, of synthetic fibers, of fabric containing by weight 5 percent or more elastomeric yarn or rubber thread.” The applicable general column one rate of duty is 25.1 percent ad valorem and the quota category is 659.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the 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 renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest your client check, close to the time of shipment, the Textile Status Report for Absolute Quotas, previously available on the Customs Electronic Bulletin Board (CEBB), which is available now on the CPB website at www.customs.gov.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification), your client should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after its publication in the CUSTOMS BULLETIN.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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