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HQ 952841

January 26, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 952841 jb


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9986

Mr. Tom Thompson
Bolen Leather Products Company
903 S. Main Street
Springfield, TN 37172

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

Dear Mr. Thompson:

This is in reply to your letter, dated September 8, 1992, concerning the classification of a work knee pad and a back support belt under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was provided to this office for examination.


As our New York Customs office has issued you a ruling in regard to the work knee pad, this ruling will only address itself to the back support belt.

The merchandise in question, the Bolen Work Rite Back Support System, Style number 7200, measures 35 inches by 9 inches at its widest point and tapers to four inches at either end. The middle section consists of heavy elastic knit fabric with four vertical stays. Each end section has a vertical stay made from cellular foam laminated on the outer surface with hook and loop fabric, and on the inner surface, with knit man-made fabric.

A large rectangular tab of hook and loop fabric is sewn to one end and used to secure the belt. The belt also has two elastic fabric outer-bands each of which is sewn at one end to the rear center. The narrow bands extend around either side, and with the use of hook and loop end tabs, provide additional tension adjustment for the wearer. The adjustable, elasticized suspenders are permanently attached.

The packaging insert offers the following description in reference to the back support:

Delivers firm and comfortable support to the lower back and abdominal area.

Promotes proper posture during lifting, standing, and bending

Velcro closure for quick and easy adjustment for increased support for light and heavy lifting

Breathable fabric for all climates and for maximum comfort.


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.

In your letter you requested classification in chapter 40, HTSUSA, which provides for rubber and articles thereof. The article in question is excluded from chapter 40 classification because our examination of the submitted sample indicates that the item does not contain rubber.

GRI 2(b) states:

Any reference in heading to a material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to mixtures or combinations of that material or substance with other materials or substances. Any reference to goods of a given material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to goods consisting wholly or partly of such material or substance. The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule 3.

GRI 3, in provision (b), states:

Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

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 to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (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 952390, dated December 16, 1992 and HQ 952201, dated October 26, 1992, Customs ruled on a similar back support belts. Those rulings determined:

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 article.


The article in question, the Bolen Work Rite Back Support System, Style number 7200, 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
Commercial Rulings Division

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