United States International Trade Commision Rulings And Harmonized Tariff Schedule
faqs.org  Rulings By Number  Rulings By Category  Tariff Numbers
faqs.org > Rulings and Tariffs Home > Rulings By Number > 1995 HQ Rulings > HQ 956809 - HQ 956911 > HQ 956809

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 956809

SEPTEMBER 19, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 956809 DFC


TARIFF NO.: 6406.99.60

District Director of Customs
Suite 301
4430 E. Adamo
Tampa, Florida 33605

RE: 1801-94-100015; Arch supports; Parts of footwear; Orthopedic appliances

Dear District Director:

This is in response to Protest 1801-94-100015, covering a shipment of leather arch supports produced in Germany.


The entry covering the leather arch supports was liquidated on April 22, 1994, under subheading 6406.99.60, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), which provides for parts of footwear of leather with duty at the rate of 5% ad valorem. The protest was timely filed on April 25, 1994.

We note that the protestant entered the arch supports under subheading 9021.90.80, HTSUS, which provides for orthopedic appliances with duty at the rate of 3.9% ad valorem. However, he claimed on Customs Form 19 that the arch supports, which are marketed and sold specifically as orthopedic appliances that help relieve pain and inflammation of the ligament that supports the arch of the foot, are properly classifiable under subheading 9021.90.90, HTSUS. As this subheading has never existed, we will assume that since the merchandise was entered under subheading 9021.90.80, HTSUS, that the protestant intended to claim that the arch supports are classifiable thereunder.


Are the arch supports precluded from classification as parts of footwear because they are marketed and sold as orthopedic devices?


Classification of goods under the HTSUS 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, and, provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to [the remaining GRI's taken in order]." In other words, classification is governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

The competing provisions are as follows:

6406 Parts of footwear (including uppers whether or not attached to soles other than outer soles); removable insoles, heel cushions and similar articles; gaiters, leggings and similar articles, and parts thereof:

6406.99 Of other materials

6406.99.60 Of leather

9021 Orthopedic appliances, including crutches, surgical belts and trusses; splints and other fracture appliances; artificial parts of the body; hearing aids and other appliances which are worn or carried, or implanted in the body, to compensate for a defect or disability; parts and accessories thereof:

9021.90 Other:

9021.90.80 Other

The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUS, although not dispositive should be looked to for the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. See T.D. 89-80, 54 FR 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). EN (II) to heading 64.06, provides in pertinent part on page 880, as follows:

The heading also excludes:

(e) special in-soles for arch supporting, made to measure, and orthopaedic appliances (heading 90.21).

EN (1) to heading 90.21 provides in pertinent part on page 1497, as follows:


These are appliances for:
(i) Preventing or correcting bodily deformities; or (ii) Supporting or holding organs following an illness or operation.

They include:

(7) Special insoles, made to measure.

The subject arch supports were not made to measure noting the Spiess Shoe Corporation listing furnished which states that "one width fits all." Consequently, following the above cited EN's, the arch supports would not be included as orthopedic appliances in heading 9021, HTSUS. Further, they are not excluded from classification under subheading 6406.99.60, HTSUS.


The protest should be denied. In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3550, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision, together with the Customs Form 19, should be mailed by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entry in accordance with the decision must be accomplished prior to mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings Module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: