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NY H87701

March 11, 2002

CLA-2-90:RR:NC:N1:105 H87701


TARIFF NO.: 9021.10.0090; 3926.90.9880

Ms. Deepali Jarral
Maryland Medicare, Inc.
12320 Loft Lane
Silver Spring, MD 20904

RE: The tariff classification of six support articles from India

Dear Ms. Jarral:

In your letter dated February 4, 2002, for MGRM Medicare Limited, you requested a tariff classification ruling. Each sample is packed in a poly bag imprinted “MGRM.”

The Spondylosis Collar, M, 0101, is, on average, about 5 inches high. It is shaped to closely encircle the neck with a semi-rigid, molded plastic. It has an opening in the front for the Adam’s apple. It is held in place by a strap of velcro-like material which encircles the neck. The Arm Sling Pouch Deluxe, 0206, has a fabric envelope and a strap of a velco-like material, which goes around the other side of the wearer’s neck. It holds the arm in place, bent at a right angle, against the body. Its indications include for arm fractures. The RS Brace, Left, L, 0308, is about 13 inches long. It encircles the forearm and has three rigid splints. It is tightened using several straps of velcro-like material. Its purpose is to prevent the forearm from bending, which is possible when it is fractured. The principal indication is for distal forearm fractures. The Dorsolumbar Spinal Brace, L, 0512, goes from the wearer’s waist at the back to the neck. It is about 22 inches tall. It has two non-removable, metal, rigid, S-shaped, braces that go its full length. These make it virtually impossible for the wearer to bend at the waist. There is also a less rigid metal brace that encircles the rear part of the wearer’s waist. It is covered with textile and is secured by both elastic and non-elastic thoracic and clavicle straps made of textile, with and without velcro-like materials. Its indications include for herniated discs. The Knee Immobiliser, L, 0702, is about 22 inches tall. It has three, mildly S-shaped, rigid stays, which make it virtually impossible for the wearer to bend the leg at the knee more than 10-15 degrees, if at all, thereby noticeably inhibiting walking at more than a very slow pace. The body is made of padded textile. It is secured by 8 non-elastic, textile straps using velcro-like materials. Its indications include fracture dislocations. The Ankle Support, 0802, is made of two concave pieces of rigid, molded plastic, about 9 inches by 4 inches, with a semi-rigid, plastic, foam padding. It is held in place by two non-elastic straps, including velcro-like materials, which will encircle the leg above the ankle, and a textile strap with a foam pad that goes under the front of the heel. It is designed to not immobilize the normal flexing of the ankle joint to move the foot up and down. In fact, it causes virtually no interference with that motion. The catalog you sent states: “Indicated For –- Protection of ankle joint against sprains in sports and during normal activities –- Post-operative rehabilitation.”

Regarding the ankle support, we note that lateral forces on the ankle are quite rare in normal activities, although quite common in running field sports such as soccer. The amount of lateral support supplied appears to be comparable to that supplied by a properly applied “Ace” bandage ankle support. The rigid plastic, together with its padding, will provide considerable protection to the otherwise exposed ankle bone from the bumps and falling or flying objects which occur occasionally in both ordinary life and in sports.

Per Note 1-k excludes the articles of HTS Chapter 95, including sports equipment, from HTS Chapter 90.

However, although heading 9506, HTSUS, provides for articles and equipment for gymnastics, athletics, other sports and outdoor games, the Explanatory Notes to Heading 9506 state in pertinent part:

“This heading covers:

(B) (13) Protective equipment for sports or games, e.g., fencing masks, breast plates, elbow and kneepads, cricket pads, shin-guards.”

The sports protective equipment intended for inclusion within Heading 9506, HTSUS, recognizes only that equipment which is designed exclusively for protection against injury, that is, equipment having protective features with the sole or primary function of directly absorbing the impact of blows, collisions or flying objects. See HQ 965238. Thus, for example, in NY 862972 dated May 31, 1991, a padded shin guard, specially designed to protect against leg blows in the game of soccer and an elbow support which primarily provides protection against blows or falls qualify for classification in Heading 9506, but a hinged knee support and a back support were excluded form Heading 9506 because neither of these items have as their sole or primary function to directly absorb the impact of blows, collisions or flying objects.

The article, termed an “ankle support,” is described as a supporting device “specially designed for providing lateral support to the ankle while allowing free flexion movement.” It is not described as a “ pad” or “guard” and it is not designed with the sole or primary function of directly absorbing the impact of blows, collisions or flying objects that occur in sport or outdoor game play. Consequently, it is something different from the pads and guards described in the Heading 9506 Explanatory Notes. Because the ankle support does not serve primarily as a protective device against impacts imposed by blows, collisions or flying objects, it is not classifiable in Heading 9506, HTSUS

Sports use for a joint support is an indication that 9021 does not apply consistent with the Headquarters Ruling Letters published in the Customs Bulletin of December 19, 2001. Those rulings also note that textile joints supports are cited in EN 27 to HS heading 6307, Other made-up textile articles

The applicable subheading for the first five samples will be 9021.10.0090, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for orthopedic appliances, including crutches, surgical belts and trusses; splints and other fracture appliances. The rate of duty will be free.

The ankle support, 0802, is classifiable in subheading 3926.90.9880, HTS, which provides for other articles of plastics, other. The rate of duty will be 5.3 percent ad valorem.

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 J. Sheridan at 646-733-3012.


Robert B. Swierupski

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