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HQ 959685

August 13, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959685 RH


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9989

Ms. Sarah Kivel Lewis
Traffic Manager
The North Face, Inc.
2013 Farallon Drive
San Leandro, CA 94577

RE: PC A81048 Superseded; Hipbelts; Heading 6307; Heading 6217; Clothing Accessories

Dear Ms. Lewis:

This is in response to your letter of August 22, 1996, requesting reconsideration of PC A81048, dated April 1, 1996, concerning the classification of hipbelts. In PC A81048, Customs classified the hipbelts under subheading 6217.10.9030, of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), as clothing accessories.

Please be aware that this ruling only addresses the classification of hipbelts imported separately. Classification of the hipbelts may be other than set out in this ruling if they are imported with backpacks.

The sample you submitted is being returned to you, as you requested, under separate cover.


The articles in question are hipbelts, style numbers 86800, 86801, 86802, 86807, 86808 and 86809.

You contend that the hipbelts should be classified under subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA, as other made up articles. In support of this claim, you state that the hipbelts are not intended to be worn alone. Their sole purpose is to be used with a backpack. The hipbelts support the backpack on the hips rather than on the back.

The hipbelt is removable which enables the backpack to accommodate a wide range of hipbelt sizes. They are sold in waist sizes from 24 to 40 inches.

The literature you enclosed describes the hipbelt as follows:

Our hipbelts are anatomically contoured, interchangeable and adjustable to fit virtually any hip shape. They feature two different densities of cushioning foam combined with a rigid, high-density 1/4" closed-cell polyurethane foam. The double layer of softer foam provides both comfort and durability. The polyurethane foam prevents deformation and maximizes stability. This layer also ensures an even transfer of weight across the entire surface of the belt, avoiding the single point loading that creates hot spots and unnecessary fatigue. A dual-adjusting Lockmonster buckle facilitates snug closure and tension control.


Are the hipbelts classifiable under heading 6217, HTSUSA, as clothing accessories or under heading 6307, HTSUSA, as other made up articles?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 6217 provides for other made up clothing accessories; parts of garments or of clothing accessories, other than those of heading 6212. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN), while not legally binding, are recognized as the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. The EN to heading 6217 state that the heading covers, inter alia:

(3) 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).

Customs has restricted the classification of belts under heading 6217, HTSUSA, to situations where the belt can clearly be deemed a "clothing accessory." 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 under heading 6217. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 088436, dated April 5, 1991.

The hipbelts in question are not clothing accessories. They do not exhibit the relationship with clothing necessary to be considered accessories to clothing nor do they adorn or accent clothing. Furthermore, the backpack serves a utility purpose - to support a backpack on the back. Thus, the belts cannot be classified under heading 6217, HTSUSA.

You assert that the hipbelts are classifiable under Heading 6307, HTSUSA. That heading provides for other made up textile articles not specifically provided for elsewhere in the nomenclature. Note 7 to Section XI states that for purposes of this section, the expression "made up" means:

(a) Cut otherwise than into squares or rectangles;

(b) Produced in the finished state, ready for use (or merely needing separation by cutting dividing threads) without sewing or other working (for example, certain dusters, towels, tablecloths, scarf squares, blankets);

(c) Hemmed or with rolled edges, or with a knotted fringe at any of the edges, but excluding fabrics the cut edges of which have been prevented from unravelling by whipping or by other simple means;

(d) Cut to size and having undergone a process of drawn thread work;

(e) Assembled by sewing, gumming or otherwise (other than piece goods consisting of two or more lengths of identical material joined end to end and piece goods composed of two or more textiles assembled in layers, whether or not padded); or

(f) Knitted or crocheted to shape, whether presented as separate items or in the form of a number of items in the length.

The EN to heading 6307 state that the heading includes:

(16) Belts which, although worn around the waist, do not have the character of belts of heading 62.17, e.g., belts for occupational use (electricians', aviators', parachutists', etc.); webbing carrier straps and similar articles. (Straps having the character of articles of saddlery or harness are excluded - heading 42.01.)

In this case, the hipbelts satisfy the definition of "made up" provided by Note 7. Moreover, they do not have the character of belts of heading 6217 and they are, therefore, classifiable as other made up textile articles under heading 6307.


The hipbelts are classifiable under subheading 6307.90.9989, HTSUSA, as other made up articles. They are dutiable at the general column rate of 7% ad valorem, and they are not presently subject to a textile quota category. This ruling supersedes PC A81048.

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 A. Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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