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HQ 088957

June 21, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088957 CC


TARIFF NO.: 6116.10.9025

Mr. John M. Peterson
Neville, Peterson & Williams
39 Broadway
New York, NY 10006

RE: Classification of gloves; not classifiable as ski or sport gloves; Heading 6116

Dear Mr. Peterson:

This letter is in response to your inquiry, on behalf of Aris-Isotoner, Inc., requesting the tariff classification of gloves from Thailand. Samples were submitted for examination.


The merchandise at issue, designated by you as Style 25136, is a 100 percent nylon knit full fingered lined glove with fourchettes. The lining is constructed of a tightly knit 85 percent rayon and 15 percent polyester fabric. An additional layer of insulation composed of 65 percent olefin and 35 percent polyester Thinsulate is located between the knit lining and outer shell. An irregular shaped leather overlay extends across the palm. A separate leather overlay is sewn to the inside of the thumb. The two pieces of reinforcement neither meet nor overlap. A 5 inch by 2 3/4 inch piece of fabric backed vinyl is secured beneath plastic foam padding across the knuckle area. The inner surface of the knit shell is coated with plastic. The glove also features an elasticized wrist and a hook and clasp.


Whether the merchandise at issue is classifiable as ski gloves within Heading 6116 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA)?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

The submitted gloves are made of knit fabric that has an application of plastic. Note 2 to Chapter 59 would determine whether this particular fabric is considered impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics for classification purposes. (See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 088539, dated June 3, 1991, at page 4.) This note states that Heading 5903 applies to the following:

(a) Textile fabrics, impregnated, coated, covered or laminated with plastics, whatever the weight per square meter and whatever the nature of the plastic material (compact or cellular), other than:

(1) Fabrics in which the impregnation, coating or covering cannot be seen with the naked eye (usually Chapters 50 to 55, 58 or 60); for the purpose of this provision, no account should be taken of any resulting change of color.

It is our view that the wording of Note 2(a)(1), "visible to the naked eye," is a clear expression by the drafters of the Harmonized System that a significant, if not substantial, amount of material must be added to a fabric for it to be considered "impregnated, coated, or covered." We have carefully examined the knit fabric and can clearly see the plastic coating, which obscures the underlying weave of the fabric. Therefore this merchandise is classifiable as coated with plastic within Heading 6116, HTSUSA.

The gloves are also made of leather which is provided for in Heading 4203, HTSUSA. Consequently, this merchandise is classifiable in two different headings and GRI 3 is applicable. GRI 3(b) provides that mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character. According to the Explanatory Notes, the official interpretation of the HTSUSA at the international level, "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." The quantity and weight of the leather is very small compared to that of the knit fabric of the glove at issue. Therefore we believe that the coated knit fabric imparts the essential character to this merchandise, and the gloves are classifiable in Heading 6116, subheading 6116.10, HTSUSA.

You believe that the gloves at issue are classifiable as ski gloves. If this is the case, the classification would be, according to technical corrections made to the HTSUSA that became effective on October 1, 1990, under subheading 6116.10.0800, HTSUSA, which provides for other gloves, mittens, and mitts, all the foregoing specially designed for use in sports, including ski and snowmobile gloves, mittens, and mitts. In support of your contention that the gloves at issue are classifiable as ski gloves, you cite Stonewall Trading Company v. United States, 64 Cust. Ct. 482, C.D. 4023 (1970). In that case the court indicated that the following requirements were necessary features of a glove for classification under the ski equipment provisions of the tariff schedules.

1. a hook and clasp to hold the gloves together;

2. an extra piece of vinyl stitched along the thumb portion to meet the stress caused by the flexing of the knuckles when the skier grasps the ski pole;

3. an extra piece of ... vinyl with padding reinforcement and inside stitching, which is securely stitched across the middle of the glove where the knuckles bend and cause stress; and

4. cuffs with an elastic gauntlet to hold the gloves firm around the wrist, so as to be waterproof, and to keep it securely on the hand.

We believe that the presence of the four Stonewall criteria in a glove is not the sole and final criteria necessary for determining whether a specific glove is a ski glove. As your letter points out, we have recognized only that the factors cited in Stonewall demonstrate prima facie that the subject merchandise is specially designed for skiing; failure of a glove to meet all of the Stonewall criteria will not prevent its classification as a ski glove, nor will satisfaction of the criteria automatically dictate classification as a ski glove.

We do not believe that all of the Stonewall criteria have been met for the gloves at issue. Although we recognize that criteria 1, 3, and 4 have been met, criterion 2 has not been met. This glove lacks the reinforcement along the thumb to meet the stress caused by the flexing of the knuckles because the two pieces of leather reinforcement on this glove do not meet in the stressed area. You argue that reinforcement along the inside portion of the thumb is present, and in cross-country skiing, for which the glove is designed, reinforcement along the back of the thumb is less important than in downhill skiing. In cross country skiing, the ski poles are used to propel the skier forward and, as a result, a considerable amount of stress is placed upon the contact point between the glove and the pole. This contact point is found where the thumb is sewn to the glove, which is between the two pieces of leather reinforcement for the glove at issue.

Besides not meeting the Stonewall criteria, the glove has other characteristics that indicate that it is not a ski glove. It does not have breathable fabric, which would be a desired feature in a cross-country glove. Also, the overall appearance of the glove is that of a men's dress or cold weather glove. For example, the glove is black, one of the two most common colors for dress gloves, whereas ski gloves are typically bright or multicolored, or both.

Finally, no real evidence was provided showing that these gloves will be marketed, advertised, or sold as ski gloves. All that was provided was a copy of a hang tag that said "Aris Ski Glove." We note that the style number of the gloves at issue was not on this copy of the tag.

For all of the foregoing reasons, we believe that the merchandise at issue is of the class or kind of article known as cold weather gloves and is not used for skiing or other sports. Therefore, this merchandise is classifiable under subheading 6116.10.9025, HTSUSA.


The submitted gloves are classified under subheading 6116.10.9025, HTSUSA, which provides for gloves, mittens and mitts, knitted or crocheted, other, with fourchettes, other, containing 50 percent or more by weight of cotton, man-made fibers or other textile fibers, or any combination thereof, subject to man-made fiber restraints. The rate of duty is 14 percent ad valorem, and the textile category is 631.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.

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.


John Durant, Director

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