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HQ 966089

February 17, 2004

CLA-2 RR:CR:TE 966089 KSH

TARIFF NO.: 6212.30.0020

Mr. John Lee
Ace Intimate Apparel Inc.
183 Madison Avenue
Suite 1400
New York, New York 10016

RE: Reconsideration of New York Ruling Letters (NY) I85625, dated September 25, 2002 and NY I83600, dated August 7, 2002; Classification of corsets.

Dear Mr. Lee:

This is in response to your letter of November 13, 2002, in which you request reconsideration of New York Ruling Letters (NY) I85625, issued to you on September 25, 2002, and NY I83600, issued to you on August 7, 2002, concerning the classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) of a waist cincher and merry widow. The waist cincher is identified as style number 72985 and the merry widow is identified as style number 72987. The garments were classified in subheading 6212.30.0020, HTSUSA, which provides for “Brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted: Corsets, of man-made fibers.” You argue that the waist cincher and merry widow should have been classified in subheading 6212.90.0030, HTSUSA, as garments of heading 6212 other than brasseries, girdles and panty girdles, or corsets. You submit that corsets are defined as a long line bra. You also submit that in accordance with Headquarters Ruling (HQ) 956668, dated February 28, 1995, the garments cannot be classified as a corset because neither garment reaches the hips and that long line brassieres cannot have garters which these garments do.


Two samples were submitted in conjunction with your request for reconsideration with two photographs demonstrating how the garments are intended to be worn. The first sample is identified as a waist cincher, style 72985. It is constructed of a 87% nylon/13% spandex knitted fabric which is trimmed at the garment bottom with raschel lace-like fabric. The garment has two front vertical stays measuring approximately 11 inches, two side vertical stays measuring approximately 7 ¾ inches and two back vertical stays measuring approximately 12 inches. The garment also features ten double hook and eye rear closures and elasticized raschel lace-like trimmed garters sewn to the bottom of the garment. The garment has two-ply construction on the three front panels. The second ply is powernet fabric. The second sample is identified as a merry widow, style 72987. It is composed of 87%/nylon 13% spandex knitted fabric with raschel lace-like underwire cups with removable foam padding. The seven panel garment features six vertical stays, a 12 double hook and eye back closure, removable adjustable shoulder straps, attached garter straps and raschel lace-like trim at the back neckline and bottom of the garment. The front center panel features two-ply construction. The second ply is powernet fabric.


Whether the garments are classifiable as corsets under subheading 6212.30.00, HTSUSA, or as other body supporting garments under subheading 6212.90.00, HTSUSA.


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 of the tariff schedule and any relative section or chapter notes. In the event that the 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 may then be applied. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (EN), constitute the official interpretation at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the EN provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUSA and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of the headings.

At issue is whether the garments are classifiable as corsets although they do not reach the hips and have permanent garters attached.

The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, state in pertinent part in regard to heading 6212:

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) Corselettes (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 by hooks.

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

The garments at issue are reinforced with flexible plastic stays and are fastened by multiple rear hooks. Thus, they have features which the Explanatory Note indicates are normally found in corsets.

In a recent informed compliance publication, CBP provided basic definitions of apparel terms that are commonly utilized in the HTSUSA and by the trade community. These definitions are not intended to be definitive but rather to provide a basic guideline for classification purposes. The informed compliance publication describes corsets and corset belts as: “support garments usually reinforced with flexible metallic, whalebone or plastic stays. They are generally fastened by lacing or hooks (corselettes – combinations of girdles or panty-girdles and brassieres). Now they are made with lighter-weight elasticized fabric.” Long line brassieres are defined as extending “toward the waist and typically have vertical stays (boning).” See “What every member of the trade community should know about: Apparel Terminology Under the HTSUS”, (Jan., 2004).

In HQ 956668, dated February 28, 1995, we classified certain body supporting garments identified as “merry widows” in subheading 6212.90.0030, HTSUSA. An exhaustive review of numerous lexicographic sources led us to conclude that “part of the function of a corset is to ‘cinch the waist’ or ‘give the impression or appearance of cinching the waist’.” Inasmuch as the merry widows at issue therein did not hold in the waist area or give the impression of holding in the waist area, we concluded the merry widows were not corsets. We also determined that the merry widows were not long- line brassieres because they had garters attached. Accordingly, the merry widows were classified as other body supporting garments.

In HQ 964537, dated February 7, 2002, we again reviewed the definition of a corset as provided in several lexicographic sources and determined that corsets feature a combination of body supporting elements that lift the bustline, diminish the waist line, and provide shaping of the torso. We classified the garment described therein as a woman’s underwire brasserie of nylon and spandex with long shaped panels that descend to the waist, metal eyes with satin ribbon lacing and boning as a corset of heading 6212.30.0020, HTSUSA.

Based on the aforementioned rulings, ICP definitions of a corset, lexicographic resources, trade advertisements, and an examination of the garments at issue, styles 72985 and 72987 are classifiable as corsets of subheading 6212.30.0020, HTSUSA. Both of the garments provide cinching of the waist or the appearance of cinching the waist, feature reinforced panels with flexible plastic stays, are composed of lighter-weight elasticized fabric and are fastened by hooks. Although style 72985 does not lift the bustline, we do not consider this to be an essential characteristic of a corset. In addition, corsets are distinguishable from long-line brassieres and may include garters that are attached or removable. Accordingly, the presence of garters on the garments does not preclude them from classification in subheading 6212.30.0020, HTSUSA.


NY I85625, dated September 25, 2002 and NY I83600, dated August 7, 2002, are hereby affirmed. The garments are correctly classified in subheading 6212.30.0020, HTSUSA, which provides for "Brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted: Corsets, Of man-made fibers." The general column one duty rate is 23.5 percent ad valorem. The textile category is 649.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bi-lateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available we suggest you check, close to the time of shipment, the Textile Status Report for Absolute Quotas, available on the CBP website at www. cbp.gov.

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 the local CBP office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


Myles B. Harmon, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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