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HQ W967616

October 12, 2006



TARIFF NO.: 6212.90.0030

Vincent Bowen, Esq.
2515 K Street, NW
Suite 101
Washington, DC 20037

RE: Revocation of NY L82586; Classification of Foundation Undergarment

Dear Mr. Bowen :

This is in response to a letter filed by the Customs Advisory Services, Inc., dated April 9, 2005, on behalf of “Maidenform”™, concerning their request for reconsideration of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) New York Ruling Letter (NY) L82586, dated March 11, 2005, involving the classification of a foundation undergarment under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). In correspondence to this office dated February 9, 2006, you confirmed that you are the attorney of record and designated contact. A letter dated February 10, 2006, from the Customs Advisory Services, Inc., verified that you are assisting in this matter. We have carefully examined the samples submitted to this office and will return them to you under separate cover. We have also reviewed supplemental written submissions dated October 11, 2005, and February 10, 2006. In addition, a meeting was held with you and representatives of the importer on February 23, 2006.

Pursuant to section 625(c), Tariff Act of 1930, (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, 2186 (1993), notice of the proposed revocation of NY L82586 was published in the Customs Bulletin, Vol. 40, No. 36, on August 30, 2006. No comments were received in response to the notice.


The article at issue is a foundation undergarment, Style 7713. The lace cups, lace front and side panels, are constructed of 91% nylon and 9% elastane net and lace fabrics. The center front lining is 100 percent nylon. The rest of the article is made of 72% nylon and 28% elastane knit fabric. The garment has lightly padded molded underwire cups covered with decorative lace, removable garters, and removable shoulder straps. The garment extends below the waist and covers the upper abdomen. The article has six plastic vertical stays that have been sewn to the interior of the undergarment and secured by a soft fabric sleeve . The adjustable back closure consists of six hooks and two rows of six eyes. The front features a large center panel, approximately 6 ½ inches wide (at the widest point) x 10 inches long, constructed of two-ply net fabric that resists horizontal and vertical stretching. The front side panels are constructed of a decorative lace panel attached to an elastic stretch net fabric.

The two back panels also consist of the same elastic stretch net fabric found on the front side panels. Two of the plastic stays, which measure approximately 12 inches in length, extend from the lower portion of the brassiere underwire at the mid-point of the cup. Two more plastic stays run straight down either side of the undergarment and measure approximately 10 inches in length. The plastic stays attached at the back panels, which are sewn about 1 inch from the hook and eye closure, measure approximately 6 inches in length. The removable garters are either attached directly to the garment or are placed into a small polybag, which is attached to the garment. The hangtag on the sample identifies the article as a “Maidenform”™ “One Fabulous Fit”™ undergarment. However, “Maidenform”™ promotional literature for Style 7713, accessed at www.maidenform.com, identifies the subject article as the “One Fabulous Moment™ Bustier”.

In NY L82586, the subject undergarment was 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 disagree with this classification and claim that the article is classified in subheading 6212.90.0030, HTSUSA, which provides for “Brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted: Other, Of man-made fibers or man-made fibers and rubber or plastics.”


What is the proper classification for the merchandise?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is made in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that the classification of goods 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 heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may then be applied. The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes (“ENs”) constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level. While neither legally binding nor dispositive, the ENs provide a commentary on the scope of each heading of the HTSUS and are generally indicative of the proper interpretation of these headings. See T.D. 89-80, 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989).

Heading 6212, HTSUSA, provides for, “Brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted.” The EN to heading 6212, HTSUS, states, in pertinent part:

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:

Brassieres of all kinds.
Girdles and panty-girdles.
Corselettes (combinations of girdles or panty-girdles and brassieres). Corsets and corset-belts. These are usually reinforced with flexible metallic or plastic stays, and are generally fastened by lacing or by hooks. Suspender-belts, garters,

The article now in question combines multiple features into one undergarment: a lightly padded brassiere with underwire at the cups, adjustable straps, net fabric panels at the front and back that cover the torso and extend below the waist, and garters for supporting and securing hose. However, in order to determine whether or not the subject undergarment can be classified under heading 6212, HTSUSA, as one of the specifically named exemplars, we have undertaken a review of the lexicographic sources.

A “corset” is defined as:

Women’s one piece sleeveless, laced garment for shaping the figure. Generally a heavily boned, rigid garment worn from 1820s to 1930s. Since 1940s made of lighter-weight elasticized fabrics and called a girdle or foundation garment. Fairchild’s Dictionary of Fashion 2d Edition.

A stiff shaping garment of the torso, tending to pronounced diminution of the waist and raising of the bust. A variant was used by men as well. Infra-Apparel, Richard Martin and Harold Koda (1993), at 47.

A woman’s close-fitting boned supporting undergarment often hooked and laced, extending from above or beneath the bust or from the waist to below the hips, and having garters attached—sometimes used in pl. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language (1968), at 513.

Based on these definitions, the "corset" features a combination of body supporting elements that lift the bustline, diminish the waistline, and flatten the abdomen. In fact, the undergarment now in question does not share all the same features of the "corset" described above. Although style 7713 has underwire construction in the bra, which firmly supports and raises the bustline as described in the definition, the garment fails to meet a key function of a corset, which is to hold in the waist area. However, as the garment does provide some body support and provides support for other articles of apparel, i.e., stockings, the garment is classifiable in heading 6212, HTSUSA, as "similar articles."

After careful examination of the subject undergarment, we now concur with the importer’s assertion that the article does not provide a “cinching, reshaping or molding” function. The back panels of the garment are only 4.5 inches wide at the closure, which provides little cinching effect at the waist. Furthermore, the front side panels are constructed of very lightweight elastic fabric designed to stretch to accommodate the wearer’s body type rather than to cinch, reshape, or mold the waistline or abdomen. Although the article is designed to support the bustline, it fails to provide the necessary reshaping, molding, or cinching effect to the torso and upper abdomen while also failing to diminish the waistline.

This determination is consistent with our decision in Headquarters Ruling Letter (HQ) 964224, dated June 13, 2001, in which a women’s one-piece undergarment, with underwire brassiere, lace panels descending to below the waist, and four detachable garters, was classified as an “other” garment in subheading 6212.90.0030, HTSUSA. In addition, HQ 956668, dated February 28, 1995, and HQ 959284, dated October 29, 1996, classified undergarments similar to the one now at issue, having vertical stays, powernet fabric, underwire cups, detachable garters, and hook and eye closures, in subheading 6212.90.0030, HTSUSA

In view of the foregoing, it is our determination that the subject undergarment is similar to the “corsets” which are specifically provided for under heading 6212, HTSUSA, and the ENs. As such, the article is properly classified as an “Other” garment under subheading 6212.90.0030, HTSUSA. Thus, it is our determination that NY L82586 incorrectly classified the undergarment as a “corset” in subheading 6212.30.0020, HTSUSA.


The subject merchandise, a foundation garment identified as Style 7713, is correctly classified in subheading 6212.90.0030, HTSUSA, which provides for “Brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted: Other, Of man-made fibers or man-made fibers and rubber or plastics.” The general column one duty rate is 6.6 percent ad valorem. The textile quota category is 659.

Quota/visa requirements are no longer applicable for merchandise, which is the product of World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries. Quota and visa requirements are the result of international agreements that are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes. To obtain the most current information on quota and visa requirements applicable to this merchandise, we suggest you check, close to the time of shipment, the "Textile Status Report for Absolute Quotas", which is available on our web site at www.cbp.gov. For current information regarding possible textile safeguard actions and related issues, we refer you to the web site at the Office of Textiles and Apparel of the Department of Commerce at otexa.ita.doc.gov.

Please note that the duty rates set forth in this ruling letter are merely provided for your convenience and are subject to change. The text of the most recent HTSUSA and the accompanying duty rates are provided on the World Wide Web at www.usitc.gov.


NY L82586, dated March 11, 2005, is hereby revoked.

In accordance with 19 U.S.C. 1625(c), this ruling will become effective 60 days after publication in the Customs Bulletin.


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