CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 953005 ch

Sheryl Burgard, Esquire
Charles M. Schayer & Co.
3839 Newport Street
Denver, CO 80207

RE: Men's woven cotton flannel boxer shorts; subheading 6207.11.0000, HTSUSA, men's underpants and briefs, as opposed to shorts or sleepwear

Dear Ms. Burgard:

This is in regard to your letter dated August 20, 1992, requesting tariff classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), for a pair of men's woven cotton boxer shorts. A sample was provided to our office.


The sample submitted is a size large pair of men's woven cotton flannel boxer shorts with an elasticized waistband. The elastic on the inner portion of the waistband is exposed. The garment has an unsecured fly front opening and has no lining. It measures 14 1/2 inches from the top of the waistband to the hem bottom; 13 1/2 inches across the relaxed waist; 12 1/2 inches across a single leg opening. The weight of the boxer shorts is 3.5 ounces per square yard. The garment has no pockets.

The importer has also submitted an excerpt from a catalogue picturing boxing shorts similar to the sample, along with other items of apparel. These garments are grouped together under the designation "shorts," and are described in an accompanying list of style numbers and costs.

ISSUE: Whether the above-captioned garment is classifiable under subheading 6207.11.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for men's underpants and briefs of cotton, or subheading 6207.91.3010, HTSUSA, which provides for men's other woven cotton sleepwear, or subheading 6203.42.4050, HTSUSA, which provides for men's shorts, of cotton, other, other, shorts, men's.


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied in order.

In HRL 951750, Customs took the position that garments possessing the characteristics of men's underpants will be classified as such, in the absence of convincing evidence to the contrary. Hence, boxer shorts capable of being worn alternatively as underpants, sleepwear or shorts will be classified as underpants under normal circumstances.

HRL 087940 enumerated accepted attributes of non-underwear garments:

1. Fabric weight greater than 4.2 ounces per square yard;

2. An enclosed or turned over waistband;

3. Lack of a fly or presence of a lining;

4. A single leg opening greater than the relaxed waist;

5. The presence of belt loops, inner or outer pockets or pouches;

6. Multiple snaps at the fly opening;

7. The side length of a size medium should not exceed 17 inches.

The presence of more than one of these features gives rise to a presumption that the garment is non-underwear.

The boxer shorts which are the subject of this ruling do not possess any of the features listed above. It follows that there arises no presumption that said garment is non-underwear. Stated in different terms, the garment in this instance possesses features found in underwear. Absent convincing evidence to the contrary, the garment will be classified as men's underpants.

Although for marketing purposes the garment has been grouped with other apparel under the designation "shorts," the word as used in this context should not be construed as a term of art under the HTUSA. The term appears in a catalogue designed for public distribution. Customs takes the view that a typical lay person could associate the term "shorts" with underwear or any other trouser extending to the knee or above. Therefore, use of the term "shorts" in this case does not constitute evidence that the boxer shorts are non-underwear.

Furthermore, the fact that the garment is composed of flannel does not remove it from the category of men's underpants. In today's fashion climate flannel boxer shorts may be worn as either underpants, sleepwear or shorts. As stated above, garments which possess the attributes of underpants will be so classified regardless of other possible classifications.


The subject merchandise is classifiable under subheading 6207.11.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for men's or boys' singlets and other undershirts, underpants, briefs, nightshirts, pajamas, bathrobes, dressing gowns and similar articles: underpants and briefs: of cotton. The rate of duty is 6.5 percent ad valorem. The textile category is 352.

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 the subject of 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 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, you 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