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HQ 083434

December 4, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C::G 083434 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 9506; 6505; 6506.10.6000

Ms. Dianne Rothhammer
Rothhammer International, Inc.
Post Office Box 2959
Lancaster, CA 93539-2959

RE: Water Polo Cap

Dear Ms. Rothhammer:

This is in reply to your letter dated October 27, 1988, to our New York office, in which you requested a ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was submitted with your request.


The article in question is a water polo cap imported from Taiwan. The cap is made from nylon knit fabric and has plastic protectors which cover the ears. Two long chin ties which are an extension of the binding on the cap's edge serve to secure the cap on the wearer's head.


Is the water polo cap sports equipment of chapter 95, HTSUSA, or headgear of headings 6505 or 6506, HTSUSA?


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) govern classification under the HTSUSA. GRI 1 provides that the classification of articles is to be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 9506, HTSUSA, covers articles and equipment for gymnastics, athletics and other sports. However, note 1(g) to chapter 95 excludes sports headgear of chapter 65 from consideration as sports equipment. Thus the water polo cap is not classifiable under heading 9506, HTSUSA.

Heading 6505, HTSUSA, covers hats and other headgear, knitted or crocheted, or made up from lace. The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation off the Harmonized System at the international level. The Explanatory Note to heading 6505 lists various types of knitted or crocheted headgear which fall within the heading. Among those enumerated are berets, bonnets, fezzes, mortar-boards, nun's headdresses and textile-covered pith helmets. It is our opinion that a water polo cap is not of a class or kind with the above.

In contrast, heading 6506, HTSUSA, covers other headgear, whether or not lined or trimmed. Specifically, subheading 6506.10 covers safety headgear. The Explanatory Note to heading 6506 states that

[the] heading covers all hats and headgear not classified in the preceding headings of this Chapter or in Chapter 63, 68 or 95. It covers, in particular safety headgear (e.g., for sporting activities...), whether or not fitted with protective padding....

The article in question is protective in that it shields the wearer's ears from blows which might be thrown during a water polo match. Water polo is a sport played at close quarters and the head, in particular, is exposed. The ear guards therefore afford the wearer's ears modest protection.

Since the cap is designed to protect the wearer while participating in a sporting event, we find it to be other headgear of heading 6506, HTSUSA.


The water polo cap is classifiable in subheading 6506.10.6000, HTSUSA under the provision for safety headgear, other, and is subject to duty at a rate of 2.4 percent 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, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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