CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951844 SK

Peter J. Wang
Executive Vice President
Jefferson Trading Company
520 Lafayette Park Place, ste.200
Los Angeles, CA 90057

RE: Classification of 92% cotton, 8% stretch nylon terry "headband" and wristband; sweatbands; other made up articles; heading 6307, HTSUSA; H/9/1 Rev. Doc. 37-228 Decisions of the HTS; HRL 089086 (5/22/92); HRL 069888 and 069988 (5/20/82).

Dear Mr. Wang:

This is in response to your inquiry of April 2, 1992, requesting the classification of a headband and wristband. Samples were submitted to this office for examination.

Please note that response to your inquiry regarding the marking requirements for these articles is forthcoming from our Headquarters Marking branch and will not be addressed in this ruling.


The submitted samples are blister packed separately for retail sale. The packages identify the articles as an "Adidas Equipment Wristband Set" and an Adidas "World Cup Team Headband." Both articles are made by Agron, Inc. under license from Adidas. The fabric composition for both headband and wristband is 92% cotton and 8% stretch nylon terry. The headband is approximately 4.5 centimeters (cm) wide, 40 cm in circumference and less than .5 cm thick. The wristband is approximately 7 cm wide, 14 cm in circumference and approximately .75 cm thick. Both headband and wristband are white and the headband has the words "WORLD CUP TEAM" printed on it in red. The wristband has the words "ADIDAS EQUIPMENT" sewn onto it and a green triangular design. The headband is densely knit, rather flat, and has edging stitched along the top and bottom borders. The wristband uses a looser terry knit and does not have edging.

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Whether the articles at issue are classifiable as clothing accessories under heading 6117, HTSUSA, or as other made up articles under heading 6307, HTSUSA?


Merchandise is classified in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). GRI 1 provides that for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings in the tariff schedule and according to any pertinent section or chapter notes taken in order.

At issue is the classification of articles referred to as "headbands". We note that this term is generic in that it encompasses several different types of articles which share basic similarities in construction but have vastly different purposes. For example, a "headband" may refer to a heavy knit article intended to be worn around the head in cold weather. A headband may be of knit textile material designed to be worn around a women's head to either keep the hair out of her face or as a fashion accessory to complement her outfit. Still another type of "headband" are those that are interchangeably known as "sweatbands" and, as their name implies, their function is to absorb sweat so as to prevent it from running into the wearer's face during vigorous activity. These types of headbands are worn over the forehead as opposed to over the crown of the head.

The universal use of the term "headband" to describe any looped knit textile article designed to be worn on the head creates problems when classifying these goods. They may indeed share the same generic name, and the same knit construction in which the fabric is sewn in a loop, but each has unique functions and will travel in different channels of commerce.

Articles referred to as "headbands" have been classified in different provisions of the Nomenclature in the past. The ninth session of the Harmonized System Committee (HSC) classified a knit textile headband as a clothing accessory under heading 6117, HTSUSA. The headband the subject of that deliberation was double-knit, 70% by weight of acrylic fibers and 30% by weight of wool, of a width between six and eleven centimeters. The article was made from thick, heavy fabric and was the kind of headband normally worn over the ears as protection against the cold. That headband is not similar in function to the articles currently at issue and, aside from the fact that both headbands

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are looped pieces of textile fabric, the two styles of headbands are only marginally similar in appearance. In its comments to the HSC, the Secretariat based its recommendation on classification in heading 6117, HTSUSA, on the fact that "the headbands at issue can indeed be regarded as made up clothing accessories... in the same way as stockings, socks, gloves, shawls, scarves, ties and bow ties, etc... ." See H/9/1 Doc. 37.228 E. The determination was made that heavy, woolen headbands, as with scarfs and gloves, are cold weather apparel. Indeed, the common denominator among all the exemplars in heading 6117, HTSUSA, is that all are articles of apparel. "Apparel" is defined in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, (1977), as: "personal attire: clothing" or "something that clothes or adorns." The sweatbands at issue are distinguishable from the wool headband discussed above in that sweatbands are worn on the body but are not "apparel" as within the definition set forth supra. Sweatbands are not clothing, nor is their principle purpose to adorn; they are utilitarian in nature and designed simply to absorb moisture from the skin. Therefore, sweatbands are different in function and appearance from both the headbands the subject of the HSC's decision and the enumerated exemplars set forth in heading 6117, HTSUSA.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 089086, dated May 22, 1992, this office classified another style of headband as a clothing accessory under heading 6117, HTSUSA. This determination was based on the fact that the headband was decorative in nature: it was constructed of 100% cotton terry with decorative stitching, possessed a movable decorative "knot" which lent a "turban effect" to the article and was "designed to keep the wearer's hair in place and for ornamental purposes." This headband was designed to accessorize clothes and add to "the look" of a woman's outfit. This function clearly falls within the definition of "accessory" as set forth in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, (1977), which reads: "a thing of secondary or subordinate importance or an object or device not essential in itself but adding to the beauty, convenience, or effectiveness of something else." In HRL 088540, dated June 3, 1991, this office defined an "accessory" as an article that is related to the primary article, and intended for use solely or principally with a specific article. In heading 6117, HTSUSA, the primary article is clothing."

The articles currently under review are distinguishable from the headbands the subject of HRL 089086 because they are designed to absorb sweat and are neither decorative nor designed to augment an outfit. These sweatbands are not objects that are subordinate in importance to clothing, nor are they intended for use solely or principally with a specific article or type of

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clothing. These goods perform an essential function in and of themselves and it is this function, absorbing sweat, which provides the motivating impetus for their purchase. The articles at issue are not clothing accessories and therefore classification is not proper under heading 6117, HTSUSA.

We recognize that some confusion may result as to how to distinguish between different types of headbands. The headband the subject matter of HRL 089860, without the knot, could conceivably be used as a sweatband (however, that use would not be in accordance with the marketing information supplied by the importer). In most instances, it is relatively easy to distinguish between the different types of headbands. Customs will make such determinations on a case by case basis. Our initial analysis will focus on the article's appearance and construction. Customs will also consider any extrinsic evidence submitted by the importer which convincingly establishes how a headband is packaged, marketed, advertised and how the subject merchandise is treated in the trade and commerce of the United States. A common sense determination must also be used. For example, headbands made from predominantly man-made fibers are probably not suitable as a means of absorbing perspiration. Headbands designed to be worn outside for warmth will usually be wider, thicker and made from double-ply man-made or woolen fibers. A more difficult scenario may arise where we are presented with a headband which may be used as either an accessory or a sweatband and no extrinsic evidence is submitted which establishes its identity. In this case, absent clear and convincing evidence that the headband is designed for use as a sweatband, and marketed as such, it will remain classifiable under heading 6117, HTSUSA, as a clothing accessory.

In the instant case, these articles are licensed by a well- known sportswear manufacturer, Adidas. The blister pack for the headband has a soccer ball illustration on the front and "world cup team" printed on both the package and on the headband. The wristband package says "Adidas Equipment" on the front. In both cases it is eminently clear that these articles are sweatbands used during sporting activities and it is obvious that these items will be sold in sporting good departments or stores and not sold as accessories to clothing.

There is no specific provision in the Nomenclature for sweatbands. Accordingly, classification falls under heading 6307, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up articles.

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This is also in accordance with Customs treatment of these articles under the Tariff Schedule of the United States (TSUSA) where sweatbands were classified under the provision for "other made up textile articles." See HRL 069888 and 069988, dated May 20, 1982.


Both the headband and the wristband are classifiable under subheading 6307.90.9986, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up articles, including dress patterns: other: other... other..., dutiable at rate of 7% ad valorem.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification), and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, your client should contact its local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current applicability of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division