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HQ 088795

June 21, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088795 HP


TARIFF NO.: 4203.29.1800

Mr. Marty Langtry
Castelazo & Associates
5420 West 104TH Street
Los Angeles, CA 90045

RE: HRL 085247 revoked. Leather and textile gloves have essential character imparted by leather where leather com- prises the greater surface area, is of significantly greater value, and provides a far superior protection against chilling winds.

Dear Mr. Langtry:

This is in reply to your letter of February 26, 1991, concerning the tariff classification of gloves, produced in Taiwan, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). Please reference your client CSI Industries.


The merchandise at issue consists of an unlined seamless dress glove, Style 113748, constructed from knit acrylic. The back of the hand and fingers, and the palm and palm side of the fingers and thumb, are covered by two cowhide leather stitched overlays. The uncovered cuff measures two inches.


Whether the gloves are considered of textile or of leath- er for classification purposes under the HTSUSA?


Heading 6116, HTSUSA, provides for gloves of textiles. Heading 4203, HTSUSA, provides for, inter alia, gloves of leather. The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff sched- ule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part, that: ... classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes ...

Goods which cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRIs, taken in order.

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 con- sisting of different materials or made up of different com- ponents, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which can- not be classified by reference to 3(a) [which requires that goods be classified, if poss- ible, under the more specific of the competing provisions], shall be classified as if they con- sisted of the material or com- ponent which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The Explanatory Notes (EN) to the HTSUSA constitute the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. While not legally binding, they do represent the con- sidered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has therefore been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the Explanatory Notes when interpreting the HTSUSA. Explanatory Note (IX) to GRI 3 provides:

For the purposes of [GRI 3(b)], composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable com- ponents, provided these components are adapted to one another and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be off- ered for sale in separate parts.

[C]lassification [of composite goods] is made according to the component, or com- ponents taken together, which can be re- garded as conferring on the set as a whole its essential character.

The factors which determine essential character of an article will vary from case to case. It may be the nature of the materials or the components, its bulk, quantity, weight, value, or the role a material plays in relation to the use of the goods. In general, essential character has been construed to mean the attribute which strongly marks or serves to dis- tinguish what an article is; that which is indispensable to the structure or condition of an article.

It is our opinion that the leather overlays impart the essential character to the gloves at issue. The leather comprises the greater surface area, is of significantly great- er value, and provides a protection against chilling winds far superior to that afforded by the acrylic alone. See HRL 085398 of September 15, 1989 (revoking NYRL 839679 of April 27, 1989) (classifying men's acrylic knit dress glove with full overlaid leather back and small leather patch on palm as of leather).

In HRL 085247 of September 7, 1989, we also undertook the reconsideration of NYRL 839679, ruling that the acrylic knit portion of the glove imparted the essential character. This finding was incorrect. While it is true that the textile portion provides the structure to the glove, the addition of this substantial an amount of leather clearly distinguishes what the article is. Compare the above-mentioned rulings with HRL 088262 of April 1, 1991 (glove with leather on inside of thumb and on right third of palm classified in heading 6116) and NYRL 851653 of May 25, 1990 (glove with leather only on inside of thumb classified in heading 6116). HRL 085247 is therefore revoked.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 4203.29.1800, HTSUSA, as articles of apparel and clothing accessories, of leather or of com- position leather, gloves, mittens and mitts, other, gloves of horsehide or cowhide (except calfskin) leather, other, other. The applicable rate of duty is 14 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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