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HQ 952005

August 26, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952005 CMR


TARIFF NO: 6307.90.9986, 6302.10.0020

Mr. Jack H. Anderson
The Health Products Group
5176 Burgundy Circle
Irvine, CA 92714

RE: Classification of mattress covers, an arm/elbow warmer, an hip/back warmer, and a foot warmer

Dear Mr. Anderson:

This ruling is in response to your request of April 23, 1992, regarding the tariff classification of various items made of 100 percent Merino wool pile knit fabric. Your request has been forwarded to this office for a response.


One sample, an arm/elbow warmer (#AX14005), was submitted with your request. We assume the construction of the arm/elbow warmer is representative of the other articles about which you have inquired, i.e., a hip/back warmer (#AX17005), foot warmers (#AX18005), and mattress covers (#MS2005 and #MD3005). You have indicated that all of the items are of 100 percent Merino wool excluding the velcro-type fasteners, synthetic trim and thread content.

The arm/elbow warmer is made of 100 percent Merino wool weft knit pile fabric. The article is tubular in shape with rib knit trim at each end. We assume the trim is of synthetic fabric.

The principal use of these articles in the United States is stated to be for therapeutic purposes among elderly persons. However, you have also indicated the articles will be used by individuals suffering from arthritis, rheumatism and AIDS related diseases.

These articles will be manufactured in Italy and shipments are expected to be imported through the port of Los Angeles.


Is the submitted arm/elbow warmer classifiable as a clothing accessory of heading 6117, HTSUSA, or as an other made up article of heading 6307, HTSUSA?


Classification of goods under the 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 and any relative section or chapter notes and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRIs taken in order]."

In HRL 086378 of April 9, 1990, Customs addressed the classification of certain elbow, wrist, knee and back warmers under the HTSUSA. In that ruling, Customs classified the articles at issue therein as clothing accessories of heading 6117, HTSUSA. However, in HRL 950470 of January 7, 1992, Customs ruled on the classification of an elbow warmer and revisited the issue of the classification of the articles at issue in HRL 086378.

HRL 950470 specifically examined the scope of heading 6117, HTSUSA, which provides for clothing accessories. In HRL 950470, Customs stated:

Heading 6117, HTSUSA, provides for clothing accessories. There are no Legal Notes to either Chapter 61 or Section XI, HTSUSA, which expressly provide for the classification of the subject merchandise. [In this case, the merchandise is an elbow warmer.] Moreover, the term "accessory" is not defined in the tariff schedule or Explanatory Notes. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, (1977), defines "accessory" as a thing of secondary or subordinate importance or an object or device not essential in itself but adding to the beauty, convenience, or effectiveness or something else. Customs defined accessory in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088540, dated June 3, 1991, as an article that is related to the primary article, and intended for use solely or principally with a specific article. In heading 6117, HTSUSA, the primary article is clothing, and the accessories classifiable under this provision will be related to clothing, intended for use with clothing and of secondary importance to clothing.

HRL 950470 went on to explain why the elbow warmer in that case did not meet the requirements for classification as a clothing accessory of heading 6117, HTSUSA. The article had a function completely divorced from any use with clothing. It did not add to clothing's "beauty, convenience nor effectiveness." The elbow warmer was therefore classified as an other made up article of heading 6307, HTSUSA.

HRL 950659 of January 21, 1992, revoked HRL 086378 of April 9, 1990, based upon the analysis set forth in HRL 950470. In revoking HRL 086378, the classification of kneebands [which are specifically named in the Explanatory Notes for heading 6117] was addressed. It was stated in the ruling that:

Although the Explanatory Notes (EN) to heading 6117, HTSUSA, part 7, expressly include kneebands as classifiable under this heading, Customs notes that kneebands and articles similar in function (i.e., articles which provides warmth and support) will only be classifiable under this heading provided that they may also be properly considered to be "clothing accessories" as the legal terms of the heading require. See HRL 089768 dated September 13, 1991.

The article at issue herein, the arm/elbow warmer, is similar to the articles that were at issue in the rulings cited above. Customs views the arm/elbow warmer as an article to provide warmth and comfort, but not as an article which compliments clothing. Therefore, the arm/elbow warmer is not classifiable as a clothing accessory, but instead is classifiable as an other made up article of heading 6307, HTSUSA.


The arm/elbow warmer at issue, style #AX14005, is classifiable as an other made up article in subheading 6307.90.9986, HTSUSA, dutiable at 7 percent ad valorem.

As to the other articles about which you inquired, without samples we cannot give you a binding classification. However, assuming the mattress covers are of the same construction as the arm/elbow warmer, we anticipate the mattress covers would be classifiable in subheading 6302.10.0020, HTSUSA, which provides for bed linen, knitted or crocheted, other. The mattress covers would be dutiable at 7.6 percent ad valorem and fall within textile category 666. Customs cannot give any advice regarding the classification of the hip/back warmer and the foot warmers without first viewing samples. If you would like to submit samples of these articles, please attach a copy of this ruling and send your inquiry to: U.S. Customs Service, New York Seaport, Six World Trade Center, New York, New York 10048.

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 you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report On Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service which is updated weekly and is available for inspection at your 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 your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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