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HQ 959776

April 29, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959776 DHS


TARIFF NO: 6212.90.0030

Mr. Steve Liptak
Inter-Marine Forwarding Company Inc.
156 William Street
New York, NY 10038-2689

RE: Classification of a corselet; Revocation of NY 817641

Dear Mr. Liptak:

This is in reference to a ruling issued to you by our Area Director, New York Seaport, NY 817641, dated January 11, 1996, concerning the classification of women's body supporting garments. That ruling was issued in response to your letter of December 14, 1995, submitted on behalf of Bestform Foundations. We have reconsidered this ruling in light of the holding in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 959353, dated October 28, 1996, and HQ 959282, dated October 28, 1996, and determined that the corselet was improperly classified.

NY 817641 is revoked in accordance with section 177.9(d) of the Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.9(d)). Pursuant to section 625(c)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057), notice of the proposed revocation of NY 817641 was published on March 19, 1997, in the Customs Bulletin, in Volume 31, No. 12. This ruling sets forth the classification of the corselet.


Style 9504, is a corselet made of 82 percent nylon and 18 percent spandex lace-like knit fabric. The garment features 50 percent polyester and 50 percent nylon cups and a two-ply panel of the lace-like fabric at the front. In addition, it has adjustable shoulder straps, elasticized leg openings and a bra-type hook and eye adjustable closure at the cotton lined crotch. The highly elasticized garment is designed to provide body support. In NY 817641, this garment was classified in subheading 6212.30.0020, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), which provides for brassieres, girdles, corsets, ..., and similar articles and parts thereof, ...: corsets, of man-made fiber.

What is the proper classification of the merchandise at issue?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 requires that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's may be applied, taken in order.

Heading 6212, HTSUS, provides for, brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted. Within this heading are four subheadings which provide for the following types of garments: brassieres at subheading 6212.10, HTSUS; girdles and panty girdles at subheading 6212.20, HTSUS; corsets at subheading 6212.30, HTSUS; and other body supporting garments at subheading 6212.90, HTSUS. The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN) to heading 6212, HTSUS, 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. 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) Girdles and panty-girdles.

(3) Corselets (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 hooks.

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

In HQ 959282 and HQ 959353, this office held that body briefers or corselets are classifiable under subheading 6212.90.0030, HTSUSA, as other body supporting garments. The discussion leading to this holding is provided below.

Body Briefers

In order to better comprehend the nature of each of the subject types of garments, a review of the lexicographic sources is necessary. In the case of the Body Briefers the following definitions are useful.

"Corset" is defined as:

Women's one piece sleeveless, laced garment for shaping the figure. Generally, a heavily boned, rigid garment worn from 1820s to 1930s. Since 1940s made of lighter-weight elasticized fabrics and called a GIRDLE or FOUNDATION GARMENT. Fairchild's Dictionary of Fashion, 2d Edition.

Smoothly fitted undergarment extending from or below the bust down over the hipline; often stiffened by strips or steel or whalebone, limbered by elastic goring, sometimes tightened by lacing. Worn by women for support and figure-molding. Originally, made in two pieces laced together at front and back. Formally called stays; now usually called corsets. Fashion Dictionary, by Mary Brooks Picken, (1973), at 89.

A close-fitting, reinforced undergarment, reaching from the bust to below the hips, worn by women to support the body or mold the figure. The Modern Textile and Apparel Dictionary, 4th Edition, by George E. Linton, (1973), at 126.

"Corselets" is defined as:

Under-garment combining girdle or lightly-boned corset and brassiere. Also called foundation or one-piece corset. The Fashion Dictionary, by Mary Brooks Picken, (1973), at 89.

Foundation with firm support achieved by boning, power-net side panels, and front panel of non-stretch nylon taffeta. Sometimes has an inner belt which hooks separately to help flatten abdomen. Bra top is often of nylon lace with marquisette lining with adjustable shoulder straps. Foundation is fastened by hooks underneath zipper and has 6 garters. Essential Terms of Fashion, by Charlotte Mankey Calasibetta, (1986), at 64.

A one-piece garment combining brassiere and girdle, was developed in the 1930s as is still worn. 20,000 Years of Fashion, by Francois Boucher, (1983).

HQ 959282 and HQ 959353 point out that the EN to heading 6212, HTSUS, provides for corsets and corselets as distinctly different garments since it refers to each garment individually. Additionally, the EN to heading 6212, HTSUS, states that corsets are usually reinforced with flexible metallic, whalebone, or plastic stays and are generally fastened by lacing or hooks. The corselets, at issue, like the body briefers, in HQ 959353 and HQ 959282, do not share the features of corsets as set forth in the EN to heading 6212, HTSUS. They do not feature lacing or hooks attached for fastening nor are they reinforced with any of the kinds of stays mentioned in the EN to heading 6212, HTSUS. Additionally, the garments perform the function of brassiere and girdle and thus do not fit in any of the eo nomine subheading provisions for heading 6212, HTSUS.

This office, in HQ 959282 and HQ 959353, also acknowledged the discrepancy between the tariff at heading 6212, HTSUS, and the EN for heading 6212, HTSUS, at the subheading level (6212.30). The tariff provides for corsets in subheading 6212.30, HTSUS, and the EN to heading 6212, HTSUS, provides for corselets at the same subheading level (6212.30). The ENs serve only as guidance in the classification of garments and as such, are not binding. The tariff on the other hand, is statutory and binding on the U.S. Customs Service. Therefore, the proper classification for these garments is at the "other" level, that is in subheading 6212.90, HTSUS.

The corselets style no. 9504, was improperly classified in subheading 6212.30, HTSUS (corsets), and is properly classified in subheading 6212.90, HTSUS, as other body supporting garments.


Style number 9504, a corselet is classified in subheading 6212.90.0030, HTSUSA, which provides for, inter alia, "Brassieres, girdles, corsets, ..., and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted: Other, Of man-made fibers or man-made fibers and rubber or plastics." The applicable rate of duty is 6.9 percent ad valorem and the quota category is 659. NY 817641, dated January 11, 1996, is revoked.


John Durant, Director

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