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 > 2001 HQ Rulings > HQ 964723 - HQ 964837 > HQ 964763

Previous Ruling Next Ruling
HQ 964763

October 23, 2001

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 964763 TF


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.99.89

Mr. W. J. Gonzalez
Trans-Union Customs Service, Inc.
11941 S. Prairie Avenue
Hawthorne, CA 90250

RE: Classification request of back support belt for road motorcyclists

Dear Mr. Gonzalez:

This letter is in response to your letter dated November 7, 2000 to the National Commodity Specialist Division, in which you requested a tariff classification ruling of a leather back support belt to be used while motorcycling, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).

Your letter was forwarded to this office for our reply. We regret the delay in responding.


The belt is manufactured in China for the importer, Intersport Fashions West. It is composed of leather and elastic material. The importer contends that this support is marketed to road motorcyclists for use in conjunction with long rides for low back support.

The merchandise does not contain any vertical stays. Its center back portion is composed of leather material. The sides and front are composed of three criss-crossing straps of elastic upon which Velcro fabric (on the inside) and Leather (on the outside) are attached. These criss-crossed, elastic straps provide the fastening around the wearer’s waist.


Whether the back support belt is classifiable as an orthopedic appliance within heading 9021, as other made up clothing accessory in heading 6117, as a body supporting garment within heading 6212, as a part or accessory of a motor vehicle in heading 8714, or as an other made up article in heading 6307, HTSUS.


Merchandise is classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1, HTSUS, provides that classification shall 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, HTSUS, and if the headings or notes do not require otherwise, the remaining GRIs 2 through 6, HTSUS, may be applied.

Additionally, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (ENs) are the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. We refer specifically to the Explanatory Notes which govern headings 9021, 6117, 6212, 8714 and 6307, HTSUS. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

The HTSUS provisions under consideration are as follows:

6117 Other made up clothing accessories; parts of garments or of clothing accessories, other than those of heading 6212.

Brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted: Other

6307.90 Other made up articles, including dress patterns: Other:

Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles of headings 8711 to 8713 Of motorcycles (including mopeds):
8714.19.00 Other
8714.19.00.60 Other

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: Artificial joints and other orthopedic or fracture appliances; parts and accessories thereof: Other

GRI 1 provides that an article is classified 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 GRIs 2 through 6.

Orthopedic Appliance

Heading 9021, HTSUS, provides for, among other things, orthopedic appliances, including crutches, surgical belts and trusses. Chapter Note 1(b) to Chapter 90 states:

“[T]his chapter does not cover “supporting belts or other support articles of textile material, whose intended effect on the organ to be supported or held derives solely from their elasticity (for example, maternity belts, thoracic support bandages, abdominal support bandages, supports for joints or muscles)(section XI).”

The merchandise derives its support entirely from elasticity, and is excluded by Note 1(b) from Chapter 90. Therefore, as the instant article is not within the class or kind of goods identifiable as orthopedic appliances of heading 9021, it is excluded from heading 9021.

The instant belt is composed of textile fabric and leather trimming. We refer to the Explanatory Notes for Chapters 62 and 63 which indicate that where the presence of leather constitutes more than mere trimming or accessories, the article is classified according to the relative Section or Chapter Notes or the General Interpretative Rules as the case may be. In this instance, we find that the leather material serves as mere trimming which does not preclude headings 6212 and 6307, HTSUS from consideration as possible headings for classifying the merchandise, but precludes classification as a leather article.

Other Made Up Clothing Accessory

Heading 6117, HTSUS, provides for "other made up clothing accessories"; the subheadings thereunder are based on constituent material (of cotton, of wool, etc.). An accessory is generally understood to mean an article not necessary to the functioning of the primary good; an adjunct; something subordinate or supplemental. See HQ 089581, dated November 4, 1991. Further, an accessory must relate to or exhibit some nexus with the primary article. Id.

Accessories of heading 6117 are used to enhance, adorn, or compliment articles of clothing. Where articles are used principally for other purposes, they are not classified in heading 6117. The EN to heading 6117, HTSUS, indicates that "belts of all kinds" are included in the heading. In this case, we find that the heading will include belts of all kinds, provided that they may also be properly considered to be "clothing accessories."

In the opinion of this office, the article is not a clothing accessory. It does not exhibit the relationship with clothing necessary in order to be considered an accessory to clothing; it does not adorn or accent clothing. The principal use for this merchandise is in conjunction with supporting the wearer’s lower back as a type of brace. The subject article does not function as an accessory. Thus, it is excluded from classification in heading 6117.

Body Supporting Garment

Legal note 2 to Chapter 62 provides that Chapter 62 does not cover “orthopedic appliances, surgical belts, trusses or the like (heading 9021).” The 6212 EN (7) includes certain belts. We note that EN 62.12 provides for “articles of a kind designed for wear as body-supporting garments or as supports for certain other articles of apparel, and parts thereof.” The exemplars listed within EN 62.12 include, inter alia:

(1) Brasseries of all kinds.
(2) Girdles and panty-girdles.
(3) Corselettes (combinations of girdles or panty-girdles and brasseries). (4) Corsets and corset-belts. These 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 orthopedic appliances of heading 90.21 (see Explanatory Note to that heading).

This EN also provides that articles of this heading may incorporate fittings and accessories of non-textile materials (e.g., metal, rubber, plastics or leather), and may be made of any textile material including knitted or crocheted fabrics (whether or not elastic).

Unlike the belts of heading 6212 listed above, the instant article is not a “garment” that supports the body, nor is an article that supports an article of clothing. Therefore, it is not classifiable within heading 6212. See, e.g., HQ 954124, dated July 29, 1993 (classifying an imported Philippine nylon/spandex woven wrap-around “Safety Belt” in subheading 6307.90 as it was not a form of garment, nor worn underneath other garments, although it was designed to support and prevent injury to the back.

In sum, it is not an article that “accessorizes” clothing. It is not worn directly next to the skin to support the body, nor does it support another article of clothing.

Part and accessory of motorcyles

Heading 8714, HTSUS, provides for parts and accessories of motor vehicles of headings 8711 to 8713. Note 3 to Section XVII, HTSUS, provides, in pertinent part, that:

“References in chapters 86 to 88 to “parts” or “accessories” do not apply to parts or accessories which are not suitable for use solely or principally with the articles of those chapters”

The instant merchandise is not identifiable as being suitable for use solely or principally with motorcycles. It is applied directly to the wearer, not the vehicle. Although the support and comfort of the rider might be enhanced by wearing this while motorcycling, it is still a personal article of wear. The product is not obviously designed or intended to complement the operation of the vehicle. It is designed with the person on a motorcycle in mind, not the motorcycle itself.

Further, while the importer contends that the instant article will be marketed to motorcylists during long rides, it does not “relate directly to [the motorcycle] because [it] has no effect on whether or how well [a motorcycle] will perform.” See Rollerblade, Inc. v. United States, 116 F. Supp. 2d 1247, (CIT 2000) (denying importer’s motion for summary judgement and affirming Customs decision to classify certain roller skating protective gear within 9506.99.6080, HTSUS; and in dicta defining an accessory of heading 9506 as an article that must “relate directly to the thing accessorized”.)

In this instance, we find the instant article fails to meet the standard outlined in Rollerblade as a motorcycle would “continue to function exactly as [it] would if the [wearer was] not wearing the [instant belt].” Id. As the instant article is independent from the motorcycle, it is not classifiable within heading 8714.

Other Made Up Article

Legal note 1 to Chapter 63 provides that “subchapter 1 applies only to made up articles, of any textile fabric.” EN 63.07 indicates that heading 6307 provides for made up articles of any textile material “which are not included more specifically in other headings of Section XI or elsewhere in the Nomenclature.” Id. at 948. As discussed above, no other more appropriate heading in the Nomenclature has been identified. EN 63.07 (27) indicates that heading 6307 includes:

“Support articles of the kind referred to in Note 1(b) to Chapter 90 for joints (e.g., knees, ankles, elbows or wrists) or muscles (e.g., thigh muscles), other than those falling in other headings of Section XI.” Id. at 949.

Heading 6307 is a residual provision for “other made up articles of textiles” within Section XI that are not more specifically provided elsewhere within the Tariff. Therefore, as there is no other tariff provision which covers the merchandise more specifically, we find heading 6307 to be the most appropriate heading within the Tariff for classifying the subject article.


At GRI 1, the Intersport Fashions West back support belt is classifiable as an “other made up articleotherotherotherotherother” within subheading 6307.90.99.89, HTSUS.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

Previous Ruling Next Ruling

See also: