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HQ 952390

December 16, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952390 jb


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9986

Beth C. Ring, Esquire
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.
505 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022-1106

RE: Lumbar support belt; worn over garments; heading 6307, HTSUSA; other made up articles

Dear Ms. Ring:

This is in reply to your letter, dated August 4, 1992, on behalf of your client, Occumed International Inc., concerning the classification of a lumbar support belt under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was provided to this office for examination.


The merchandise in question is a flexible back support in the shape of a cummerbund which wraps around the waist outside the wearer's clothing. The article is imported from Taiwan and marketed as the "X-Tend Back Protector" or the "WORKFORCE Lumbar Support."

It consists of an outer layer of either stretch mesh fabric composed of 73 percent nylon and 27 percent spandex, or in a new version called the "WORKFORCE Lumbar Support", 100 percent elastic. The cummerbund tightens and closes by means of a hook and loop fabric, and is reinforced on the outside with two four inch wide side bands of elastic with a hook and loop closure to adjust the fit. There are either four or six covered metal vertical stays in the support to prevent it from curling. The inside of the stays is sewn with rubber track stitching to prevent the back support from slipping up or down.

The back support is available in different sizes from approximately 30 to 75 inches long and from 8-3/4 to 10-1/2 inches wide. Some models have elastic suspenders which are either permanently sewn on or detachable.


Is the article classifiable in heading 6212, HTSUSA, which provides for body supporting garments or in heading 6307, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up articles?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 1 requires that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in order. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied, in the order of their appearance.

The competing provisions for this article are heading 6212, HTSUSA, which provides for body supporting garments or heading 6307, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up articles.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The EN to heading 6212, HTSUSA, state in pertinent part:

This heading covers articles of a kind designed for wear as body-supporting garments or as supports for certain other articles of apparel, and parts thereof... (Emphasis added)

The heading includes, inter alia:

(1) Brassieres of all kinds.

(2) Girdles and panty-girdles.

(3) Corselettes (combinations of girdles or panty-girdles and brassieres).

(4) Corsets and corset-belts. These are usually reinforced with flexible metallic, whalebone or plastic stays, and are generally fastened by lacing or by hooks.

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

(6) Body belts for men (including those combined with underpants).

(7) Maternity, post-pregnancy or similar supporting or corrective belts, not being orthopaedic appliances of heading 90.21 (see Explanatory Note to that heading). In HQ 952201, dated October 26, 1992, Customs ruled on a similar Lumbar support belt. That ruling stated:

In Customs' view, the belt in question is not similar to any of the aforementioned articles. It does not support apparel or other items, and therefore is not similar to braces or garters. Moreover, while it is designed to support and prevent injury to the back, the article in question is not a form of garment, nor is it worn underneath other garments as, for example, maternity belts or men's body belts.

Heading 6307, HTSUSA, is a residual provision which provides for other made up articles of textiles that are not provided for more specifically elsewhere in the nomenclature. In HQ 088540, dated June 3, 1991, addressing the classification of a weight lifting belt, Customs held that the article was classifiable under the provision for other made up articles of heading 6307, HTSUSA. A later ruling, HQ 089581, dated November 4, 1991, addressing the classification of a similar article, a "Tummy Shaper" belt, also classified the article in heading 6307, HTSUSA.

There has been some confusion in determining what distinguishes the belts of heading 6212, HTSUSA, from those of heading 6307, HTSUSA. The EN to heading 6212, HTSUSA, are clear in designating these articles as body-support garments or supports for other kind of apparel. The distinction centers on the fact that while the articles enumerated in the EN to heading 6212, HTSUSA, are principally used or worn as garments or garment accessories, those of heading 6307, HTSUSA, are not.

Stated simply, merchandise similar to the subject articles, is classifiable as belts of 6212, HTSUSA, if it functions with a dual purpose, in providing:

1. support for the body, or support for certain articles of apparel; and

2. a construction that allows the belt to be worn comfortably next to the wearer's skin, under other garments

This is the case for example, for such articles such as the brassieres, girdles, corset-belts, suspender-belts, hygienic belts, corrective belts, etc.

The belt in question is distinguishable from the enumerated articles of heading 6212, HTSUSA, in that it is neither a garment nor a kind of apparel. Nor can it be said that the belt is designed for the purpose of being worn next to the wearer's skin. It is a belt which is to be worn over other garments- not as underwear. As it is not ejusdem generis with the body supporting garments of heading 6212, HTSUSA, and since there are no headings that specifically provide for the instant textile belt, it is classifiable in heading 6307, HTSUSA, as an other made up articles.


The article in question, the "X-Tend Back Protector", is classifiable in subheading 6307.90.9986, HTSUSA, under the provision for other made up articles. The applicable rate of duty is 7 percent ad valorem.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, your client 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

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