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HQ 086505

April 12, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086505 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6212.90.0030

Mr. Stephen D. Goodwin
Saratoga Forwarding Co., Inc.
18 Griffin Way
Chelsea, MA 02150

RE: Athletic supporter is a body supporting garment, not a part or accessory of athletic equipment. Protective cup is part of jock strap.

Dear Mr. Goodwin:

This is in reply to your letter of January 25, 1990, concern ing the tariff classification of athletic supporters and cup, produced in Taiwan, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise at issue consists of a textile athletic supporter packaged with a protective cup, and an athletic supporter packaged separately. The athletic supporter is constructed of a 3" polyester/spandex waistband, 1" leg straps, and a front pouch which metallically snaps closed to house the protective cup. The cup is plastic, with a rubber-like cushioned edge.


Whether the instant merchandise is classifiable as sports equipment under the HTSUSA?


Athletic Supporter

Heading 9506, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, sports equipment. The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part:

... classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes ....
Goods which cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRIs, taken in order.

Note 1(e) to Chapter 95, HTSUSA, excludes from classification therein "[s]ports clothing ..., of textiles, of Chapters 61 or 62." In addition, the Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 9506, which constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level, specifically exclude the same merchandise. Since we have previously held athletic supporters to be garments, classification within Chapter 95 would be incorrect.

Heading 6212, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, brassieres, garters and similar articles. The EN to this heading states:

The heading includes, inter alia:

(5)Suspender-belts, hygienic belts, suspensory bandages, suspender jock-straps, braces, suspenders, garters, shirt-sleeve supporting arm-bands and armlets. [Emphasis added.]

All of the above articles may * * * incorporate fittings and accessories of non-textile materials (e.g., metal, rubber, plastics or leather).

Based upon the above language, it is our opinion that the athletic supporter is classifiable in heading 6212, HTSUSA.

Athletic Supporter & Protective Cup

Heading 6212, as we stated above, provides for, inter alia, athletic supporters and parts thereof. If the cup is considered a part of the supporter, therefore, it is classifiable with the supporter under this heading.
Generally, an article is a part if it:

ONE)Must be combined with other articles to be used; or

TWO)Must be an integral, constituent or component part, without which the article to which it is joined could not function; or

THREE)Lends to the safe and efficient operation of the article; and

FOUR)Must be identifiable by shape or other characteris tics as an article solely or principally used as a part.

It is our opinion that the protective cup falls under the definition of parts, and is classifiable with the supporter. One wears an athletic supporter and protective cup to provide a groin shield against incoming projectiles. Clearly, the athletic sup porter on its own would be unable to perform this vital function.

The question has been raised as to whether the above analysis affects the classification of protective cups imported unaccom panied by athletic supporters. The EN to heading 9506 specifically includes, at (B) (13), "[p]rotective equipment for sports or games, e.g., fencing masks and breast plates, elbow and knee pads, cricket pads, shin guards." Protective cups clearly fall under this description. See, e.g., NYRL 833791 of December 30, 1988 (classif ying "foam-trimmed, hard plastic cup that is normally worn with a supporter" under subheading 9506.99.6080, HTSUSA). Note 1(e) to Chapter 95, supra, excludes only sports clothing from classifica tion therein, not PARTS of sports clothing. Since we have deter mined that the cup is a part of the athletic supporter, not sports clothing in and of itself, classification under subheading 9506 would still be correct.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified ...


... under subheading 6212.90.0030, HTSUSA, textile category 659, as brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted, other, of man-made fibers or man-made fibers and rubber or plastics. The applicable rate of duty is 7 percent ad valorem.

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 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 your local Customs office. Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the re straint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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