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HQ 088431

September 3, 1991

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 088431 CC


TARIFF NO.: 6216.00.4600

Ms. M. Martha Ries, Esq.
Bogle & Gates
Two Union Square
601 Union Street
Seattle, WA 98101-2322

RE: Classification of motocross gloves

Dear Ms. Ries:

This letter is in response to your inquiry, on behalf of Scott USA, requesting tariff classification of motocross gloves. A sample was submitted for examination.


The merchandise at issue, designated by you as style 090160, is motocross gloves. It is a full fingered glove with the palm and palm side of the fingers and thumb made of synthetic leather (nonwoven fabric made of 60 percent polyamide and 40 percent polyurethane). Textile backed foam padding is sewn underneath the palm. The thumb has an overlaid piece of synthetic leather reinforcement. The back side of the hand and thumb is constructed from nylon knitted mesh fabric. The sidewalls and fourchettes are made of nylon and spandex knit material. Strips of cellular plastic (PVC) with a knitted backing are sewn to the back of the hand and fingers. The wrist is secured by a strap of hook and loop material.


Whether the submitted gloves are classified in Heading 3926 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), Heading 6116, HTSUSA, or Heading 6216, 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 glove at issue is made of basically three materials: nylon knit mesh that forms the back of the hand, strips of cellular plastic with knitted backing sewn to the back of the hand and the fingers, and synthetic leather of the palm. Each of these component materials is provided for under a separate heading of the tariff. Gloves of nylon knit mesh are classifiable in Heading 6116, HTSUSA, which provides for gloves, mittens or mitts, knitted or crocheted. The strips of cellular plastic are on a textile backing, merely for reinforcement purposes, which is sewn to the back of the hand. Therefore, in application of Note 2(a)(5) to Chapter 59, the cellular plastic would make the glove classifiable in Chapter 39, and the applicable Heading is 3926, HTSUSA, which provides for other articles of plastics. The synthetic leather is a man-made nonwoven fabric that would not be considered impregnated, coated or covered or laminated with plastics for classification purposes. The synthetic leather would make the gloves classifiable in Heading 6216, HTSUSA, which provides for gloves, mittens or mitts, not knitted or crocheted. Consequently, the submitted glove is prima facie classifiable in headings 3926, 6116, and 6216, and we must look to the remaining GRI's.

GRI 2 provides the following:

(b) any reference in a heading to a material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to mixtures or combinations of that material or substance with other materials or substances. Any reference to goods of a given material or substance shall be taken to include a reference to goods consisting wholly or partly of such material or substance. The classification of goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be according to the principles of rule 3.

GRI 3 provides that when, by application of rule 2(b) or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

(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), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

(c) When goods cannot be classified by 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.

In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 083645, dated March 1, 1990, we classified motocross gloves that are similar to those at issue in this case. We stated concerning which material imparted the essential character in application of GRI 3(b) the following:

Although the nylon knit material of the fourchettes and uppers covers a not insubstantial portion of the gloves, in relation to the protective plastic strips and the synthetic leather of the palms its role is less significant. While the nylon knit contributes to increased flexibility and a snug fit, these features are of secondary importance as compared with the woven fabric of the palms and the protective plastic strips, and thus do not determine the gloves' essential character.

... Undoubtedly, the non-woven, 60 percent polyamide, 40 percent polyurethane fabric of the palm is important. This synthetic, "Better-than-Leather" material provides the secure grip essential to maintaining control over a motocross bike. Nevertheless, the nature of motocross racing requires protective equipment. Races take place at high speeds over rough terrain and spills occur often. Moreover, riders are at risk from flying debris thrown up from the track. In addition to gloves and kidney belts, motocross riders commonly wear helmets, chest protectors and shin guards. Thus the protective feature of motocross equipment is particularly important. Consequently, it is the position of the Customs Service that neither the material from which the protective backing is made, nor the nonwoven fabric of the palm constitute the essential character of the [gloves].

Therefore, based on the foregoing, it is necessary to apply GRI 3(c). Of the two headings that equally merit consideration, 3926 and 6216, Heading 6216 occurs last. Since the gloves are not made of fabric impregnated, coated or covered with plastics, they must be classified under the "other" provision within Heading 6216. The major subheadings under the "other" provision are 6216.00.33, et seq., other, of cotton; 6216.00.43, et seq., other, of man-made fibers; 6216.00.80, other, other, of wool or fine animal hair; and 6216.00.90, other, other, other. You contend that since the gloves are made of a mixture of textile and plastics, they must be classified under the subheading providing for other, other, other, 6216.00.90.

In classifying this merchandise, we were referred to GRI 3 by GRI 2. GRI 2(b) states that any reference in a heading (or subheading in application of GRI 6) to a material or substance includes a reference to mixtures or combinations of that material or substance with other materials or substances (emphasis added). Therefore, the subheading in 6216 providing for "other, of man- made fibers" could include gloves of mixed materials or substances. In addition, we stated that in applying GRI 3(c) the synthetic leather determined classification of this merchandise because the provision for it occurs last in the tariff schedule among those that equally merit consideration. For these gloves of synthetic leather (nonwoven man-made fibers), the only applicable subheading within Heading 6216 would be 6216.00.46, HTSUSA, which provides for gloves, mittens and mitts, other, of man-made fibers, other gloves, mittens and mitts, all the foregoing specially designed for use in sports, including ski and snowmobile gloves, mittens and mitts.


The submitted gloves are classified under subheading 6216.00.4600, HTSUSA, which provides for gloves, mittens and mitts, other, of man-made fibers, other gloves, mittens and mitts, all the foregoing specially designed for use in sports, including ski and snowmobile gloves, mittens and mitts. The rate of duty is 5.5 percent ad valorem. No textile category is currently assigned to merchandise classified under this subheading.

The sample is being returned under separate cover.


John Durant, Director

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