Main Idea: Proper classification under the HTSUS relies heavily on a complete and robust understanding of the applicable Section and Chapter Notes.
In ruling N328096 (Sept. 26, 2022), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) discusses the tariff classification of the below styles of men’s swim trunks from China.
|Style Number||Description of Item|
|MB220721B||This is a pair of men’s swim trunks of 100% polyester woven fabric visibly coated with polyurethane on the inner surface. It has a fully elasticized waistband with threaded drawstring, a brief-style mesh liner, side pockets, a rear patch pocket with a hook and loop closure as well as a drainage grommet, and hemmed leg openings.|
|MB220722Y||This is a pair of men’s swim trunks of 100% polyester woven fabric coated with polyurethane on the inner surface. Unlike the above style number, this coating is not visible. This style has a fully elasticized rear waistband, a drawstring threaded through the waistband, two tabs at the center front waistband with four grommets and a laced closure, a brief-style mesh liner, a side hook and loop flap pocket, side pockets, and a hemmed leg opening.|
The key difference between the two styles is the visibility of the polyurethane coating. Style Number MB220721B’s polyurethane coating is visible while Style Number MB220722Y’s polyurethane coating is not.
To determine the classification of the two items, CBP turns to Note 2 to Chapter 59, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which states, in relevant part, that:
“2. Heading 5903 applies to:
(a) Textile fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, whatever the weight per square meter and whatever the nature of the plastic material (compact or cellular), other than:
(1) Fabrics in which the impregnation, coating or covering cannot be seen with the naked eye (usually chapters 50 to 55, 58 or 60); for the purpose of this provision, no account should be taken of any resulting change of color[.]”
Style Number MB220721B falls fully under the terms of the above Note because its polyurethane coating is visible to the naked eye. Style Number MB220722Y—which features a coating not visible to the naked eye—does not.
Therefore, CBP rules that Style Number MB220721B is classified under subheading 6210.40.5550, HTSUS, which provides for “Garments, made up of fabrics of heading 5602, 5603, 5903, 5906 or 5907: Other men’s or boys’ garments: Of man-made fibers: Other: Other.” The rate of duty is 7.1% ad valorem. In contrast, CBP determines that style number MB220722Y is classified under subheading 6211.11.1010, HTSUS, which provides for “track suits, ski-suits and swimwear, other garments: swimwear: men’s or boys’: of man-made fibers: men’s.” The duty rate is 27.8% ad valorem.
The subject swim trunks are Chinese origin and, therefore, are subject to additional tariffs. Pursuant to U.S. Note 20 to Subchapter III, Chapter 99, HTSUS, Chinese products under subheadings 6210.40.5550 and 6211.11.1010, HTSUS, unless specifically excluded, are subject to an additional 7.5% ad valorem duty rate. As such, the secondary subheading 9903.88.15 must apply in addition to primary subheadings 6210.40.5550 and 6211.11.1010, HTSUS.