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HQ 957154

January 13, 1995

CLA-CO:R:C:T 957154 GG


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9989

Mr. Juan E. Cienfuegos, Jr.
14417 Import
Laredo, TX 78041

RE: Classification of nylon belts

Dear Mr. Cienfuegos:

This is in response to your request, dated September 12, 1994, for a binding ruling on the tariff classification of nylon belts assembled in Mexico. Your client is Fernando de Silva Garza, d/b/a Kodiak Manufacturera Textil, S.A.


The items under consideration are two belts made of 100% nylon fabric. The first belt is two inches wide, secured by a plastic clasp and rendered adjustable in length by the application of velcro-like strips on the back surface. The belt has several attachments which indicate that it is intended for use by security personnel. These include a plastic billy club holder ring and a plastic clip for holding keys. A hanging flap, composed of foam padding covered with nylon fabric, protects the wearer from the keys. All of these attachments are affixed to the belt by means of nylon web straps with metal snaps. The submitted sample also includes several of the nylon straps without attachments, presumably so that the wearer can attach articles of his or her choice.

The second belt is five inches wide at the back, tapering to three and one-half inches in the front. It, too, is fastened with a plastic clasp. The entire belt contains a stiff, dense foam padding, with the heaviest concentration appearing in the back. A two inch wide nylon web strip to which velcro-like strips have been attached encircles the front surface of the belt, providing a means of tightening the belt around the wearer. The belt also features elasticized suspenders. You describe this article as a support belt.


How are these belts properly classified?


Articles are classified under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States ("HTSUSA") in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be 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 the remaining GRI's, taken in order.

You suggest that the belts are classifiable under subheading 4202.12, HTSUSA. That subheading provides for trunks, suitcases, vanity cases, attache cases, briefcases, school satchels and similar containers, with outer surface of plastics or of textile materials. Explanatory Note 42.02 notes that heading 4202, HTSUSA, covers only the articles specifically named therein and similar containers. Examples given of containers similar to the exemplars listed above are hat boxes, camera accessory cases, cartridge pouches, sheaths for hunting or camping knives, portable tool boxes or cases, specially shaped or internally fitted to contain particular tools with or without their accessories. The common characteristic of these articles is that they are receptacles designed to store and carry specific merchandise in an enclosed or semi-enclosed environment. The belt intended for use by security personnel is not an enclosed or semi-enclosed receptacle, but rather, is an article which provides a base on which to hang holders or containers of various items. The support belt with suspenders also does not fit the description of a container. Therefore, the belts in question are not of the same class or kind as the merchandise appearing in subheading 4202.12.8070, HTSUSA, and cannot be classified under that subheading.

Provision is made for belts in Chapter 62 of the HTSUSA. That chapter covers articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted. Heading 6212 provides for brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted. EN 62.12 states, in pertinent part, that

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. These articles may be made of any textile material including knitted or crocheted fabrics (whether or not elastic).

The heading includes, inter alia:

(1) Brassieres of all kinds.
(2) Girdle and panty-girdles.
(3) Corselettes (combinations of girdles or panty- girdles and brassieres).
(4) Corsets and corset-belts. Thse 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).

All of the above articles may be furnished with trimmings of various kinds (ribbons, lace, etc.), and may incorporate fittings and accessories of non-textile materials (e.g., metal, rubber, plastics or leather).

The belt intended for use by security personnel has no attributes which would suggest that it was designed for wear as a body-supporting garment or as a support for other articles of apparel, and parts thereof. Rather, its purpose is to provide a means of carrying non-apparel items of use to security personnel. Therefore, that particular belt does not fall under heading 6212, HTSUSA. The other belt, described as a "support belt" by the inquirer, may, however, provide a body-supporting function.

No additional information was submitted about the purpose and intended use of the support belt beyond its characterization as a support belt. However, we noted earlier that the belt is wide, contains stiff, dense foam padding, and has a means of being tightened around the wearer. In this respect it is similar to the belts classified in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 952829, dated February 19, 1993. That ruling reiterated Customs' position that to be classifiable in heading 6212, HTSUSA, belts must serve the dual purpose of providing support for the body, or support for certain articles of apparel, and of having a construction that allows the belt to be worn comfortably next to the wearer's skin. The support belt in question, like those in HRL 952829, does not meet the last criterion, therefore, does not fall under this provision. See also HRL 952568, dated January 28, 1993; HRL 952841, dated January 26, 1993; and HRL 952390, dated December 16, 1992.

The support belt also does not rise to the level of an orthopedic device under heading 9021, HTSUSA. Although the support belt undoubtedly would provide some support to the lower back, and would, perhaps, alleviate backache and strain, it lacks the support mechanisms such as metal reinforcements, adjustable springs and rigid parts, necessary for it to constitute an orthopedic appliance for tariff purposes. See, HRL 955887, dated August 4, 1994.

Heading 6217 provides for other made up clothing accessories; parts of garments or of clothing accessories, other than those of heading 6212. EN 62.17 states that the heading covers, inter alia,

Belts of all kinds (including bandoliers) and sashes (e.g., military or ecclesiastical), of textile fabric, whether or not elastic or rubberized, or of woven metal thread. These articles are included here even if they incorporate buckles or other fittings of precious metal, or are decorated with pearls, precious or semi- precious stones (natural, synthetic or reconstructed).

However, the EN also specifically excludes belts for occupational use (e.g., window-cleaners' or electricians' belts) from the heading.

Customs has restricted the classification of belts under heading 6217, HTSUSA, to situations where the belt can clearly be deemed a "clothing accessory". As stated in HRL 088436, dated April 5, 1991, an accessory is generally understood to mean

An article which is not necessary to enable the goods with which they are used to fulfill their intended function. There is no requirement that accessories exhibit a reliance or dependance on the primary article(s). Accessories must be related to, or exhibit some connection to the primary article, and must be intended for use solely or principally as an accessory. For example belts used as clothing accessories need not rely or depend on a particular article of clothing. Fashionable belt accessories may be worn with different articles and may take several forms (scarves, sashes, leather belts, etc.); they are often used for adornment or to compliment clothing. However, they must clearly be intended for use solely or principally as an accessory to clothing; belts used solely or principally for utility purposes would not be classified here.

The belts here, like the belts analyzed in HRL 088436, are not clothing accessories. Neither exhibits the relationship with clothing necessary to be considered accessories to clothing; they do not adorn or accent clothing. Furthermore, the belt intended for use by security personnel indisputably serves an occupational or utility purpose. Thus, the belts cannot be classified under heading 6217, HTSUSA.

Heading 6307, HTSUSA, provides for other made up textile articles not specifically provided for elsewhere in the nomenclature. EN 63.07 states that the heading includes belts which, although worn around the waist, do not have the character of belts of heading 6217, e.g., belts for occupational use (electricians', aviators', parachutists', etc.). This describes the merchandise at issue. As noted above, the belts do not have the character of accessories in heading 6217. They also are not of the same class or kind as the belts represented by headings 6212 or 9021, HTSUSA. Therefore, they are properly classifiable as other made up textile articles under heading 6307, HTSUSA. See also HRL's 952829, 088436, and 955887, cited previously.

The nylon fabric and the plastic clasps from which the belts are made are products of the United States, and the fabric is cut and assembled into the finished belts in Mexico. Therefore, pursuant to General Note 12(b)(i) of the HTSUSA, the belts qualify as originating goods under the North American Free Trade Agreement.


The belt intended for use by security personnel and the support belt are properly classified under subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA, as other made up articles, other, other, other, other, dutiable at the rate of 5.2% ad valorem. They are not subject to a textile quota category.

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

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