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HQ 951219

June 26, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 951219 CC


TARIFF NO.: 4203.21.8060

Roger Heumann
Olympia Sports Company
8 Skyline Drive
Hawthorne, NY 10532

RE: Modification of NYRL 869407; classification of motorcycle racing gloves; specially designed for use in sports; subheading 4203.21, HTSUSA

Dear Mr. Heumann:

This letter is in response to your request of January 8, 1992 for reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 869407, dated December 31, 1991, concerning the classification of motorcycle gloves. Samples were submitted for examination.


The merchandise at issue, designated by you as style 310, is a leather glove, which you state is designed for motorcycle racing. The palm and palm-side of the thumb and index finger have partial leather overlays. The glove has half-pique finger seams and leather padded reinforcement on the back of the fingers and over the knuckles. Kevlar is present to reinforce the palm side and back of the fingers and knuckle area. This glove has a partially elasticized wrist and fourchettes. It is fastened by a hook and loop closure over a side vent.

In NYRL 869407 it was ruled that the merchandise at issue was not a sports glove for tariff classification purposes; therefore, this glove was classified under subheading 4203.29.1500 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). You contend that this glove, designed for motorcycle racing, is classifiable as a sports glove.


Whether the merchandise at issue is classifiable as a glove specially designed for use in sports?


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.

Heading 4203, HTSUSA, provides for articles of apparel and clothing accessories, of leather or of composition leather. The merchandise at issue is leather gloves which are classifiable in this heading.

Subheading 4203.21, HTSUSA, provides for gloves, mittens and mitts, specially designed for use in sports; subheading 4203.29, HTSUSA, provides for gloves, mittens and mitts, other. The issue in this case is whether the gloves are specially designed for use in sports.

In order for the gloves at issue to be classified under subheading 4203.21, it must be shown that (1) motorcycle racing is a sport, and (2) the gloves at issue are specially designed for use in motorcycle racing.

The term sport is defined by The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, the Unabridged Edition (1983) as "1. an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc. 2. a particular form of this, esp. in the out of doors." Motorcycle racing would clearly meet the definition of a sport.

You have made several arguments and submitted additional information in support of your contention that the gloves at issue are specially designed for motorcycle racing. First, the kevlar is used liberally to reinforce both the palm side and back of the fingers and knuckle area. You note that the use of kevlar at the backside is necessary for protection in high speed falls; such use of kevlar would be unnecessary for a glove used in ordinary motorcycle transportation. Second, inseam construction is employed, which you state provides a palm side finger seam better able to withstand abrasions and not split in a fall. Third, you state that the cost of these gloves, designed specifically for motorcycle racing, is higher than that of other kinds of motorcycle gloves. Fourth, you have submitted a sample of a similar glove that was ruled to be classified as a sports glove under the Tariff Schedules of the United States Annotated (TSUSA). Finally, you have submitted a copy of an article in a motorcycle racing newspaper, Roadracing World, showing this glove was the subject of crash tests at a raceway to determine the glove's level of protection.

Based on these submissions, we would agree that the gloves at issue are specifically designed for motorcycle racing. We believe that the design features of this glove, the use of leather, the use of kevlar, especially at the backside, and the inseam construction indicate that this glove is designed for motorcycle racing. Concerning your argument that these design features make this glove more expensive and unlikely to be used for motorcycle transportation in general, the court in Porter v. United States, 409 F.Supp. 757, 761 (1976), employing similar logic in a discussion of the classification of motocross gloves, stated the following:

The incorporation of these special features into the gloves clearly increases the cost of manufacture. The higher price to consumers would discourage those who could purchase a less expensive glove that would be suitable for motorcycle transportation.

Thus the cost, the features, and the evidence that this glove was crash tested for motorcycle racing convince us that this glove is specially designed for use in that sport. Consequently, these gloves are classifiable under subheading 4203.21, HTSUSA.


The merchandise at issue is classified under subheading 4203.21.8060, HTSUSA, 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, other, other. The rate of duty is 4.9 percent ad valorem.

In order to insure uniformity in Customs classification of this merchandise and eliminate uncertainty, we are modifying NYRL 869407 to reflect the above classification effective with the date of this letter. However, if after your review, you disagree with the legal basis for our decision, we invite you to submit any arguments you might have with respect to this matter for our review. Any submission you wish to make should be received within 30 days of the date of this letter.

This notice to you should be considered a modification of NYRL 869407 under 19 CFR 177.9(d)(1). It is not to be applied retroactively to NYRL 869407 (19 CFR 177.9(d)(2)) and will not, therefore, affect past transactions for the importation of your client's merchandise under that ruling. However, for the purposes of future transactions in merchandise of this type, NYRL 869407 will not be valid precedent. We recognize that pending transactions may be adversely affected by this modification, in that current contracts for importations arriving at a port subsequent to this decision will be classified pursuant to it. If such a situation arises, you may, at your discretion, notify this office and apply for relief from the binding effects of this decision as may be warranted by the circumstances. However, please be advised that in some instances involving import restraints, such relief may require separate approvals from other government agencies.


John Durant, Director

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