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HQ 951152

February 24, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 951152 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 6406.99.1540

Ms. Karen R. Conner-Duff
Import Manager/Customs Coordinator
P.O. Box 14488
Lenexa, KS 66215-0488

RE: Gravel Guard; Explanatory Note 64.06(II)

Dear Ms. Conner-Duff:

This is in response to your letter of December 1, 1991, concerning the classification of gravel guards under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA).


The subject gravel guard is designed to be worn around the top of a boot. The guard consists of neoprene rubber sandwiched between two layers of textile fabric. Its shape is that of a short tube and it is used to prevent gravel and other debris from entering the boot top.


What is the proper classification of the subject gravel guard under the 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 is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 6406, HTSUSA, provides for: "[p]arts of footwear; removable insoles, heel cushions and similar articles; gaiters, leggings and similar articles, and parts thereof." In understanding the language of heading 6406, HTSUSA, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUSA. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). Explanatory Note 64.06(II) (p. 880), HTSUSA, states, in part:


[t]hese articles are designed to cover the whole or part of the leg . . . They differ from socks and stockings, however, in that they do not cover the entire foot . . . They may be made of any material . . . They include gaiters, . . . and similar articles.

In Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary, the term "gaiter" is defined, in part, as "[a] leather or cloth covering for the legs extending from the instep to the ankle or knee."

We find that, under Explanatory Note 64.06(II), HTSUSA, the gravel guard is an article similar to a gaiter. The guard is designed to cover part of the leg, namely at the top of a boot, and it obviously does not cover the entire foot. The uses of the gravel guard and the gaiter are similar in that they are both created to keep debris from entering into footwear. It is our position that these aspects qualify the guard as a "similar article" under heading 6406, HTSUSA.


The subject gravel guard is classifiable under subheading 6406.99.1540 (quota category 659), HTSUSA, which provides for: "[g]aiters, leggings and similar articles: [o]ther: [o]f other materials: [o]f textile materials: [o]f man-made fibers: [o]ther." The general, column one duty is 17 percent ad valorem.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, the visa and quota category 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 you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is updated weekly and is available at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact your local Customs office prior to the 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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