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HQ 089576

August 27, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 089576 JS


TARIFF NO.: 4203.21.6000

Mr. Duncan Nixon
Sharretts, Paley, Carter
& Blauvelt, P.C.
1707 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 089390

RE: Gloves; specially designed for ski use; classifiable heading 4203, HTSUSA.

Dear Mr. Nixon:

This is in reference to your letter of May 29, 1991, on behalf of Kmart Corporation, requesting classification of a glove sample under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The merchandise at issue is a men's glove (code no. 80-35- 34, style E) made of a 65 percent polyester/35 percent cotton outershell. The full palm and palm side of the fingers are covered with a thick blue suede leather, and an additional overlay of that suede covers the thumb and center palm. The glove has a lining of 5 mm foam padding backed with C-100 Thinsulate, and an additional piece of vinyl-backed 10 mm foam across the inner knuckle area. The elasticized wrist features a hook and loop fastened pull strap and plastic D-ring, a rib knit "snow" cuff, and a plastic hook clip. The words "steep slopes" are stitched onto the index finger, and a circular PVC patch on the back of the hand depicts a snow capped mountain and crossed ski poles, imprinted with the words "steep slopes" and "racing team."


1) Are these gloves specially designed for use in the sport of skiing.

2) What is the essential character of the subject gloves.



Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification shall be in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relevant section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, and if the heading and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI may be applied, in the order of their appearance.

Classification of these articles rests on their apparent satisfaction of the requirements for ski gloves set forth in Stonewall Trading Company v. United States, 64 Cust. Ct. 482, C.D. 4023 (1970). As we have previously stated, we believe that presence of the four Stonewall criteria in a glove demonstrate prima facie that the subject merchandise is specially designed for skiing; however, 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.

Instead, the language of Stonewall must be interpreted in conjunction with the design for use of the manufactured articles. And, since the subheading for textile ski gloves, HTS 6216.00.46, is a use provision, it is important to consider the glove as a whole to determine its use as a ski glove. In the present instance, each of the Stonewall requirements have been met in the glove at issue. Moreover, the appearance, design and constituent materials of the subject glove indicate that it is designed for skiing. For the reasons stated above, we determine that the present merchandise is principally used in or specially designed for the sport of skiing.

It is well established that, with respect to gloves, the primary surface areas most frequently provide the basis for classification with respect to essential character. In this respect, a strict surface area ratio of textile to leather favors the textile. The textile portion, which comprises the back of the hand, the fourchettes, the wrist and the strap, imparts the weather resistant function required of a glove to be used for skiing. However, the palm side of the glove provides the grip, and reinforces the area of stress caused by grasping the ski poles. Since such gloves are primarily designed to provide warmth and grip while using ski poles in order to ski, the palm side imparts the essential character. Therefore, our GRI 3(b) analysis results in a finding of essential character leather for glove style E.



The merchandise at issue, code no. 80-35-34, style no. E, is classified under subheading 4203.21.6000, which provides for articles of apparel and clothing accessories, of leather or of composition leather: gloves, mittens and mitts: specially designed for use in sports: ski or snowmobile gloves, mittens and mitts: other, dutiable at the rate of 5.5 percent ad valorem per dozen pairs.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, the importer should contact the 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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