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HQ 083645

March 1, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 083645 CRS


TARIFF NO.: 9506.99.6080; 6216.00.6000; 6216.00.4805

Stephen S. Spraitzar, Esq.
Law Offices of George R. Tuttle
Three Embarcadero Center
Suite 1160
San Francisco, CA 94111

RE: Motocross Gloves and Kidney Belt; Modification of HRL 082226

Dear Mr. Spraitzar:

This is in response to your letter of October 21, 1988, in which you requested a ruling under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) concerning the classification of the above-referenced merchandise. Samples were submitted with your request.


The merchandise in question is protective equipment intended to shield motocross riders from the rigors of their sport. Four of the articles are gloves marketed commercially under the names "Pawtectors," "Paw 2," "Dirtpaws," and "Speedpaws." The fifth article is a kidney belt.

The Pawtector glove is constructed from synthetic leather (60 percent polyamide, 40 percent polyurethane), nylon knitted fabric and vinyl protective strips. The palm, inner wrist and inside fingers of the glove are of nonwoven fabric (synthetic leather); additional patches of blue synthetic leather are sewn on the thumb and palm. The fourchettes and back are made of nylon knit fabric. Attached to the back of the glove are protective strips of vinyl with foam rubber backing, the function of which is to protect the wearer's hand from injury due to flying debris or in the event of a fall. A hook and loop fastener around the wrist allows the glove to be drawn tightly shut.

The Paw 2 is also made of synthetic leather inners, nylon knit fourchettes and uppers, and a velcro-type strap. In this respect they are identical to the Pawtector. However, the protective backing of the Paw 2 differs slightly from that of the Pawtector in that the backing is made solely from polyurethane rather than from vinyl and foam rubber.

The Dirtpaws have a knit nylon base onto which synthetic leather palms and fingers have been sewn. The top of the glove is covered by vinyl protective strips, however, unlike the Pawtectors and Paws 2, the protective strips do not extend the length of the fingers but stop at the knuckle. Nevertheless, when gripping a handlebar the vinyl backing would provide full protection.

The palm area of the Speedpaws is made from synthetic leather while the uppers are made from 100 percent crocheted cotton material. The gloves have no thumb or fingers nor do they have any protective backing as do the other gloves described above. There is a velcro-type strap at the base of the hand.

The fifth sample is a belt which consists of a piece of protective plastic approximately 30 millimeters by 16 millimeters. The plastic protection is sewn on to a piece of nylon with velcro-type straps. The belt is designed to protect a motocross rider's kidneys.


The issues presented are: (1) whether the kidney belt in question is classifiable as protective equipment in heading 9506; and (2), whether the gloves are also classifiable in heading 9506, or as other articles of plastics of heading 3926, HTSUSA, or as gloves of heading 6116 or 6216, HTSUSA.


Articles are classified under the HTSUSA according to the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). GRI 1 provides that the classification of articles is to be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes and, provided that the headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the remaining GRIs taken in order.

Kidney Belt

Heading 9506, HTSUSA, covers equipment for athletics and other sports. The Explanatory Notes constitute the official interpretation of the Harmonized System. Explanatory Note (B)(13) to heading 9506 provides that "protective equipment for sports or games, e.g., fencing masks and breast plates, elbow and knee pads, cricket pads [and] shin guards" are covered by the Chapter. The kidney belt is ejusdem generis with the above and therefore classifiable in heading 9506.


In accordance with Note 1(u), Chapter 95, HTSUSA, gloves are not covered by heading 9506 or other headings of the Chapter but instead are classifiable according to their constituent material.

Pawtectors, Paw 2 and Dirtpaws

Heading 3926, HTSUSA, covers other articles of plastics...of headings 3901 to 3914; subheading 3926.20 covers articles of apparel, including gloves. Although the gloves would appear to be prima facie classifiable in Chapter 39, Note 1(l), Chapter 39, HTSUSA, excludes goods of section XI (textiles and textile articles) from the Chapter. The Pawtectors, Paw 2s and Dirtpaws are gloves made from textiles in combination with plastics. Chapters 61 and 62 both contain eo nomine provisions for gloves. The existence of these provisions therefore compels us to view the instant gloves as goods of section XI and, therefore, excluded from classification in Chapter 39 by application of Note 2(l). See HRL 083354 dated August 22, 1989.

Heading 6116, HTSUSA, covers gloves, mittens and mitts, knitted or crocheted. Heading 6216, HTSUSA, covers gloves, mittens and mitts, not knitted or crocheted. In addition to the plastic protective backing, the Pawtectors, Paw 2s and Dirtpaws are made from nonwoven material (synthetic leather palms) and knit fabric (fourchettes). When two or more materials or substances are involved, GRI 2(b) provides that the classification shall be according to the principles of GRI 3.

When goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, GRI 3(a) provides that the heading which gives the most specific description is to be preferred to those which are more general. Of the two headings in contention, both 6116 and 6216 provide for gloves and are therefore equally specific.

Since neither 6116 nor 6216 is more specific in this instance, classification proceeds according to GRI 3(b), which provides that goods should be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. There is no one factor which predominates in an essential character determination, indeed, that which determines essential character may vary between different goods.

Of the four gloves at issue, three are of roughly similar construction, viz., the Dirtpaws, Pawtectors and Paw 2s. All have synthetic leather palms made from nonwoven material, but whereas the palm of the Dirtpaws is single-layered, patches of synthetic material have been applied to the palms of the Pawtectors and Paw 2 in an effort to improve the grip. In addition, the back of all three gloves is made from the same nylon knit material; however, the Pawtectors and Paw 2 are distinguished by spandex-type fourchettes and velcro-type wrist straps. Finally, all three models have protective backing for the back of the hand.

Although the nylon knit material of the fourchettes and uppers covers a not insubstantial portion of the gloves, in relation to the protective plastic strips and the synthetic leather of the palms its role is less significant. While the nylon knit contributes to increased flexibility and a snug fit, these features are of secondary importance as compared with the woven fabric of the palms and the protective plastic strips, and thus do not determine the gloves' essential character.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 082226 dated March 30, 1989, we held that the essential character of motocross gloves similar to those at issue was determined by the material of the palm; however, we have reconsidered the factors leading to this conclusion and no longer adhere to this view. Undoubtedly, the non-woven, 60 percent polyamide, 40 percent polyurethane fabric of the palm is important. This synthetic, "Better-than-Leather" material provides the secure grip essential to maintaining control over a motocross bike. Nevertheless, the nature of motocross racing requires protective equipment. Races take place at high speeds over rough terrain and spills occur often. Moreover, riders are at risk from flying debris thrown up from the track. In addition to gloves and kidney belts, motocross riders commonly wear helmets, chest protectors and shin guards. Thus the protective feature of motocross equipment is particularly important. Consequently, it is the position of the Customs Service that neither the material from which the protective backing is made, nor the nonwoven fabric of the palm constitute the essential character of the Pawtectors, Dirtpaws and Paw 2.

When goods cannot be classified under either GRI 3(a) or 3(b), GRI 3(c) provides that:

[t]hey are to be classified in the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration in determining their classification.

Consequently, the Speedpaws, Dirtpaws and Paw 2s are classifiable in heading 6216, HTSUSA, which occurs last among those headings equally meriting consideration.

The Speedpaws, Dirtpaws and Paw 2s are not impregnated, coated or covered with plastics since the strips of protective plastic have been applied only to certain parts of the gloves. Instead, the gloves are classifiable within the "other" category. The competing subheadings within this category are:

6216.00.34 Other, of cotton, ski or snowmobile gloves, mittens and mitts

6216.00.38 Other, of cotton, other

6216.00.44 Other, of man-made fibers, ski or snowmobile gloves, mittens and mitts

6216.00.48 Other, of man-made fibers, other

6216.00.50 Other, of wool or fine animal hair

6216.00.60 Other, other

The gloves at issue are not made from cotton and therefore are not classifiable under the provision for cotton gloves. Moreover, since the three gloves at issue consist of textiles in combination with plastics, they cannot be classified as other gloves of man-made fibers. Customs is therefore of the view that the Pawtectors, Paw 2s and Dirtpaws are classifiable in subheading 6216.00.6000, HTSUSA, under the provision for gloves, mittens and mitts, other, other, other.


In contrast with the gloves discussed above, the Speedpaws have no fingers or protective backing, but consist instead of a padded synthetic leather palm and a crocheted cotton back. This latter feature is solely for convenience; the glove's main purpose is to afford the wearer a secure grip. Thus the synthetic leather material of the palm determines the Speedpaws essential character. Since the palm is made from nonwoven fabric, the glove is classifiable in subheading 6216.00.4805, HTSUSA, under the provision for gloves, mittens and mitts, other, of man-made fibers, other, specifically designed for use in sports.


The kidney belt is classifiable in subheading 9506.99.6080, HTSUSA, under the provision for articles and equipment..., other, other, other, other, and is dutiable at a rate of 4.64 percent ad valorem.

The Pawtector, Paw 2 and Dirtpaw gloves are classifiable in subheading 6216.00.6000, HTSUSA, under the provision for gloves, mittens and mitts, other, other, other, and is subject to duty at a rate of 4 percent ad valorem. The textile category is 831.

The Speedpaw glove is classifiable in subheading 6216.00.4805, HTSUSA, under the provision for gloves..., other, of man-made fibers, other, specifically designed for use in sports, and are dutiable at 22 per kilogram plus 11 percent ad valorem.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

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.

Pursuant to section 177.9, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.9), HRL 082226 of March 30, 1989, is modified in conformity with the foregoing.


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