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HQ 081233

September 15, 1989



Mr. Jonathan Shorts
International Development Systems Inc.
Suite 520
735 15th Street N.W.
Washington, D.C.

RE: Vinyl covered gloves

Dear Mr. Shorts:

In a letter dated October 27, 1987, you asked for our comments as to the tariff treatment of vinyl covered gloves under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


Two types of gloves are involved. One is a work glove that is cut and sewn from fabric that has been coated, filled, or impregnated with rubber or plastics. The other type work glove is a textile lining or shell dipped in or impregnated with rubber or plastics.


Are these gloves classifiable in the rubber or plastics chapters (40 and 39 respectively) or in the appropriate textile chapters (61 or 62)?


In applying the HTSUSA, the Customs Service must follow the terms of the statute. Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that "classification shall be determined 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 [the remaining GRI's taken in order]. In other words, classification is governed first by the terms of the headings of the tariff and any relative section or chapter notes.

The following is our rationale for concluding that the gloves in issue are classifiable in accordance with GRI 3(b), HTSUSA, according to the component which imparts the essential character to them.

GRI 2(b), HTSUSA, provides in pertinent part:

Any reference to goods of a given material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to goods consisting wholly or partly of such material or substance. The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule 3.

GRI 3, HTSUSA, provides in pertinent part:

3. When, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods . . . those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components . . . which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Classification of plastic or rubber coated fabric gloves must be made pursuant to GRI 3(b), HTSUSA, because (1) there is no heading or note that requires the classification under a specific heading; and (2) the glove is a composite article that cannot be classified in accordance with any rule preceding rule


In view of the foregoing, plastic or rubber coated fabric gloves are classifiable according to their essential character, which in this instance is either plastic or rubber. Thus, classification in chapters 39 and 40, respectively, is appropriate.


John Durant, Director

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