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HQ 952568

January 28, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952568 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6212.90.0030; 6307.90.9986

Mr. Donald L. Mann
Duro-Med Industries, Inc.
301 Lodi Street
Hackensack, NJ 07602

RE: Modification of Pre-Classification (PC) 875982; Heading 6307; Heading 6212; back, knee, and ankle supports

Dear Mr. Mann:

This letter is in response to your inquiry of September 9, 1992, requesting reconsideration of Pre-Classification (PC) 875982. No samples were submitted for examination.


The articles at issue are depicted in a submitted copy of Duro-Med's 1992 catalog. Style 6902, a back support, described as a "Neoprene Sacro-Support" wraps around the lower back; contains an adjustable criss-cross rear design; and has a velcro means of closure. Style 6902 is manufactured in sizes small, medium, and large. The rear of the back support measures ten inches in length while the front of the article measures six inches in length. The catalog markets Style 6902 as a back support that primarily reflects body heat, improves circulation, protects injured areas, and acts as a comfort to the wearer.

Styles 6904, 6906, and 6055, are all knee braces used for support. The articles are marketed as a "Neoprene Knee Brace", a "Neoprene Wrap-Around Knee Brace", and a "Deluxe Knee Brace", respectively. Style 6904 contains a hinged support bar that is twelve inches in length and has a size range of small, medium, and large. Style 6906 is marketed as an item that is appropriately used for sprains, inflammation and bursitis; produced in sizes regular and large; is nine inches long; has a velcro closure; and contains a support pad. Style 6055 contains a U-shape support pad, an open area around the knee joint, and is primarily used for strains, sprains, inflammation, and bursitis. Style 6908 described in the catalog as a "Neoprene Wrap- Around Ankle Brace" contains a velcro closure, is constructed so that the heel area is left open, and ranges in size from regular to large. The article is advertised as product that is appropriately used for sprains, arthritis, and tendonitis.


Whether the merchandise in question is classifiable in Heading 6212, HTSUSA, which provides for body supporting garments, or in Heading 9021, as an orthopedic device, or in Heading 6307, HTSUSA, as an other made up article?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's, taken in order.

The articles at issue are potentially classifiable in various headings. One possible heading is Heading 6212, which provides for brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles. Another possible heading is Heading 9021, HTSUSA, which provides for orthopedic appliances and other appliances which are worn or carried, or implanted in the body, to compensate for a defect or disability. Finally, Heading 6307, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up articles, is the other potentially applicable heading for the articles in question.

The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN), although not legally binding, are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The EN to Heading 9021 state the following:

This heading does not include supporting belts or other support articles of the kind referred to in Note 1(b) to this Chapter,...(generally heading 62.12 or 63.07).

Note 1(b) of Chapter 90 maintains:

This Chapter does not cover supporting belts or other support articles of textile material, whose intended effect on the organ to be supported or held derives solely from their elasticity (for example, maternity belts, thoracic support bandages, abdominal support bandages, supports for joints or muscles) (Section XI).

You contend that the merchandise in question is properly classifiable in Heading 9021. The catalog you submitted specifically states that Styles 6902, 6904, 6906, and 6908 are constructed of neoprene, a form of rubber, which provides support to the wearer because of its elasticity. Finally, the EN to Heading 9021, HTSUSA, specifically state that textile support articles akin to the articles at issue are not provided for in the heading.

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...

In HRL 952390 dated December 16, 1992, Customs made a determination as to what type of support articles are specifically provided for in Heading 6212, HTSUSA. That ruling concluded:

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.

Style 6902, a support article for the lower back, is similar to the enumerated articles provided for in Heading 6212, HTSUSA, and it also meets the dual requirements listed in HRL 952390. The article in question is marketed and constructed as a product to bolster the lower back. Also, a principal function of the article at issue is to reflect body heat which would be less effective if worn over other garments. Therefore, it appears that Style 6902 is designed to be worn next to the wearer's skin and not as an outerwear garment. Accordingly, PC 875982 properly classified Style 6902 in Heading 6212, HTSUSA.

The EN to 6307, HTSUSA, expresses the following:

This heading covers made up articles of any textile material which are not included more specifically in other headings of Section XI or elsewhere in the Nomenclature.

It includes, in particular:

(27) Support articles of the kind referred to in Note 1(b) to Chapter 90 for joints (e.g. knees, ankles, elbows or wrists) or muscles (e.g. thigh muscles), other than those falling in other headings of Section XI.

The EN to Heading 6307, HTSUSA, specifically provide for items such as Styles 6904, 6906, 6908. And as these items are made up textile articles not more specifically provided for elsewhere in the tariff, they are properly classifiable in the provision.


PC 875982 correctly classified Style 6902 in subheading 6212.90.0030, HTSUSA, which provides for brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles. The applicable rate of duty is 7 percent ad valorem, and the textile restraint category is 659. Style 6904, 6906, 6908, and 6055 are properly 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.

In order to ensure uniformity in Customs classification of this merchandise and eliminate uncertainty, we are modifying PC 875982 to reflect the above classification effective with the date of this letter. However, if after your review, you disagree with the legal basis for our decision, we invite you to submit any arguments you might have with respect to this matter for our review. Any submission you wish to make should be received within thirty (30) days of the date of this letter.

This notice to you should be considered a modification of PC 875982 under 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). It is not to be applied retroactively to PC 875982 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)) and will not, therefore, affect past transactions for the importation of your merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions of merchandise of this type, PC 875982 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, you may at your discretion, notify this office and apply for such relief from the binding effects as may be warranted by
the circumstances. However, please be advised that in some instances involving import restraints, such relief may require separate approvals from other government agencies.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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