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NY B 81986

February 24, 1997

CLA-2-61:RR:NC:WA:353:B 81996


TARIFF NO.: 6115.12.2000; 6115.93.9020

Mr. Ally Akavan
TNT/LLoveras Corporation
525 Broadway
New York, N.Y. 10012

RE: The tariff classification of fashion therapeutic graduated compression pantyhose and stockings from Spain

Dear Mr. Akavan:

In your letter dated January 30, 1997, received in our office on February 7, 1997, you requested a classification ruling. No samples were submitted for examination.

The items at issue are stated to be made of 35% lycra and 55% polyamide. It is assumed that the hosiery at issue is made up of synthetic fibers, measuring per single yarn 67 decitex or more. The items consist of fashion pantyhose and stockings with stated graduated compression ranges from the ankle to the thigh of: Support::10mm/Hg to 4mm/Hg; Light: 15mm/Hg to 6mm/Hg; Normal: 20mm/Hg to 8mm/Hg and Strong: 30mm/Hg to 12mm/Hg.

The Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) since 1988 has provided for stockings for varicose veins in heading 6115. Customs classified surgical compression stockings in HTS heading 9021 and noted characteristics that distinguished them from support hosiery for varicose veins.

Surgical stockings and panty hose with compression were moved out of HTS heading 9021 to heading 6115 in 1993. The amendment to the tariff maintained the identical duty and quota treatment. Since the tariff provision in HTS 9021 was not quota restrained, neither was the merchandise in the new 6115 provision.

For the 1996 tariff, the text of the heading was reworded with renumbering the tariff item, indicating that the scope had not changed. The change in tariff description regarding compression hosiery have not affected the Customs view that they remain separate and distinct articles of commerce from support hosiery for the treatment of varicose veins.

It is Customs position that surgical compression hosiery, because of their construction and application of use were more than simply compression stockings to treat varicose veins. This hosiery is generally of heavy gauge, opaque, of elasticized knit fabric with either one-way or two-way stretch and is designed to supply compression in the ranges of 30-40 mm mercury to 50-60 mercury. They are prescribed by physicians for the treatment of venous diseases and other serious conditions such as reversible and irreversible lymphedema and severe post-thrombotic treatment.

Clinical studies have indicated that surgical stockings for ambulatory patients have a minimum compression of 30mm mercury; have recommended compression figures well above 30mm mercury for the more serious venous disorders concluding that "a stocking giving less than 30 mm mercury at the ankle is only able to remove a small amount of vespertine ankle edema"; compression stockings of less than 30mm mercury are ineffective in the treatment of ambulatory venous disorders; and that hosiery of less than 30mm mercury for such applications as "for tired and heavy legs, mild swelling, prolonged sitting or standing, etc." are indicative of support hosiery rather than for the specific requirements of surgical stockings.

The items at issue, are not considered surgical panty hose or stockings with graduated compression for orthopedic treatment as they not prescribed by physicians and do not meet the required compression ranges.

The applicable subheading for the panty hose will be 6115.12.2000, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for "Panty hose, tights, stockings, socks and other hosiery, including stockings for varicose veins, and footwear without applied soles, knitted or crocheted: Panty hose and tights: Of synthetic fibers, measuring per single yarn 67 decitex or more: Other". The duty rate will be 16.4 percent ad valorem.

The applicable subheading for the stockings will be 6115.93.9020 HTS which provides for "Panty hose, tights, stockings, socks and other hosiery, including stockings for varicose veins, and footwear without applied soles, knitted or crocheted: Other: Of synthetic fibers: Other: Other.... Other." The rate of duty will be 15.2 percent ad valorem.

The panty hose falls within textile category designation 659 and the stockings fall within textile category 632. At the present time there are no quota or visa restrictions of this merchandise from Spain.

The designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes. To obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Martin Weiss at 212-466-5881.


Paul K Schwartz
Chief, Textiles & Apparel Branch

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