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HQ 085006

July 20, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 085006 SLR


TARIFF NO.: 6406.99.1540

Lawrence D. Blume, Esquire
Graham & James
2000 M Street, N.W.
Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Classification of baseball stirrup socks from Taiwan.

Dear Mr. Blume:

This ruling is in response to your letter of May 30, 1989, on behalf of your client, Union Jacks, requesting the classification of baseball stirrup socks under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). A sample was provided.


The submitted article consists of a pair of 100% knit nylon stirrup socks. The socks do not have heels or toes and are worn over regular athletic socks. The top 5 to 7 inches of each sock are secured in place by a thin, nondetachable strap approximately 1 inch in width which circles under the arch of the foot. These socks are designed for wear by men or women.

You have requested classification of these socks as other garments, knitted or crocheted, of man-made fibers, other, other, women's or girls' under subheading 6114.30.3070, HTSUSA.


Are the baseball stirrup socks classifiable as garments under subheading 6114.30.3070, HTSUSA, as requested, or as gaiters, leggings, and similar articles under subheading 6406.99.1540, HTSUSA?


Classification of products under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that:

[C]lassification 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].

The notes for Chapter 61 limit the application of headings involving "garments" to those items which cover the trunk of the body. They exclude items which cover only the head or lower legs or arms. The general Explanatory Notes (EN) to Chapter 61, along with EN 61.14, also support this position. Although not legally binding, the Explanatory Notes do represent the interpretation of the Harmonized System at the international level.

In light of the above discussion, these stirrup socks cannot qualify as "garments." In no way do they cover one's lower or upper torso. They cover only a small portion of the lower leg.

Subheading 6406.99.1540, HTSUSA, for "gaiters, leggings and similar articles..." properly describes the merchandise at issue. Explanatory Note, Part II, to 64.06, states that: "These articles are designed to cover the whole or part of the leg...." Moreover, "[c]ertain of these articles may have a retaining strap or elastic band under the arch of the foot." In this case, the piece under the arch is not a separate or detachable strap (as is the case with leggings and gaiters), but this fact does not prevent these stirrup socks from qualifying as a "similar article."

This office recognizes that Exclusion (f) to EN 64.06 excludes "[c]ricket pads, shin guards, knee caps and other protective articles for sports activities (heading 95.06)." Baseball is certainly a sports activity, but stirrup socks provide only a negligible amount of protection from being spiked. Moreover, these socks do not resemble the "protective articles" listed in the EN to 95.06 as being included therein [See p.1592, Hd 9506 B(13)]. Baseball stirrup socks are merely ornamental: a part of the baseball uniform tradition.


The stirrup socks are classifiable under the provision for parts of footwear, removable insoles, heel cushions and similar articles, gaiters, leggings and similar articles, and parts thereof, of other textile materials, of man-made fibers, other, subheading 6406.99.1540, HTSUSA, textile category 659, dutiable at 17% 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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