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HQ 086333

March 19, 1990

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 086333 NLP


TARIFF NO.: 6406.99.90

Robert B. Silverman, Esq.
Robert D. Stang, Esq.
Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz & Silverman 12 East 49th Street
New York, New York 10017

RE: Reconsideration of 081766

Dear Sirs:

This ruling is in response to your letter of December 19, 1989, on behalf of your client, Footjoy, Inc., requesting a reconsideration of Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 081766, dated September 26, 1988, concerning the tariff classification of golf spikes under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Samples were submitted for our examination.


The merchandise at issue consists of golf shoe spikes and the Footjoy Lite-Spike System (hereinafter "spike system"), which consists of replacement golf shoes spikes and a wrench. The golf shoe spikes are steel tipped spikes encased in a plastic mount. The plastic component is comprised of a flange and a threaded sleeve. The sleeve screws into sockets on the footwear's sole and heel plate. You state that the spikes are 75 percent plastic and 25 percent metal by weight.

HRL 081766, dated September 26, 1988, held that the metal pin constituted the essential character of the spike and classified the spikes in subheading 6406.99.90, HTSUS, which provides for parts of footwear, of other materials, other. In addition, HRL 081766 classified the spike system as a set, with the essential character of the set being imparted by the spikes. Therefore, the spike system was also classified in subheading 6406.99.90, HTSUS.


Are the golf shoe spikes classifiable in subheading 6406.99.90, HTSUSA, which provides for parts of footwear, of other materials, other or in subheading 6406.99.30, HTSUSA, which provides for parts of footwear, of other material, of rubber or plastic?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined in accordance with the headings and relative section or chapter notes.

GRI 3 states, in pertinent part:

When by application of Rule 2(b) [goods of more than one material or substance] or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) [which requires that goods be classified, if possible, under the more specific of the competing provisions], shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives then their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) provides guidance in helping to determine the essential character of an item. Explanatory Note VIII to GRI 3(b) states that:

(VIII) The factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods.

In the instant case, the golf spike is a composite good. Therefore, its essential character must be determined. In your papers, you argue that the spike has two essential components: a metal component and a plastic component. You argue that the "essential character" of the golf shoe spike is attributable to the plastic component of the spike. You base your argument on four reasons: the plastic in the spike prevents corrosion, the plastic flange evenly distributes forces placed on the spikes, the plastic component makes the spike a more comfortable product to use, and, finally, the plastic predominates over the metal in terms of weight, volume and value.

As you have stated in your papers, the instant spike does have two components. While the presence of the plastic in the instant spike may enhance the spike's performance and its lasting value, we cannot completely discount the importance of the metal pin in determining the essential character of the spike. It is our belief that it is the metal spike that forms the essential character of this product.

In determining essential character, in addition to considering the bulk, weight and value of the article, we take into account the constituent material in relation to the use of the goods. In the instant case, the primary function of the spike is to hold golfers' feet in place while they swing a golf club. It is the metal spike which provides the golfer with the ability for ground penetration and, therefore, holds the golfer's feet in place.

Even assuming, arguendo, that neither the metal component nor the plastic component provides the essential character by itself, classification is ascertained by utilizing GRI 3(c). GRI 3(c) states that:

[w]hen goods cannot be classified with reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration.

The subheadings that equally merit consideration are 6406.99.30 and 6406.99.90. Therefore, pursuant to GRI 3(c), classification of the golf shoe spikes is in subheading 6406.99.90, HTSUSA.

In addition, we affirm HRL 081766 as to the classification of the replacement spikes and wrench as a set. The essential character of the set is imparted by the metal/plastic spikes. Since we have determined that the metal pin provides the essential character of the spike, the set is classifiable in subheading 6406.99.90, HTSUSA.


The golf shoe spikes and the set of replacement spikes and wrench are classifiable in subheading 6406.99.90, HTSUSA, which provides for parts of footwear, other, of other materials, other. The rate of duty is 18 percent ad valorem.

HRL 081766 is affirmed.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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