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HQ 952393

December 30, 1992

CO:R:C:T 952393 SK


TARIFF NO.'s: 6216.00.3225; 6216.00.5820

Lorraine M. Dugan
Associated Merchandising Corporation
1440 Broadway
New York, N.Y. 10018

RE: Classification of two styles of woven nylon gloves; subheadings 6216.00.3225 and 6216.00.5820; not ski gloves; internal reinforcement not sufficient to resist abrasion; Stonewall Trading Company v. U.S., 64 Cust. Ct. 482, C.D. 4023 (1970).

Dear Ms. Dugan:

This is in response to your inquiry of July 1, 1992, requesting the tariff classification of two styles of gloves. Samples were sent to this office for examination and, as per your request, will be returned to you under separate cover.


Two styles were submitted to this office for classification: styles 4796 and 3263.

Style 4796 is a glove constructed from woven nylon fabric which has approximately 1 millimeter (mm) of foam bonded to the inner surface, and a thinsulate lining. The glove features acrylic knit fourchettes, sidewalls and cuffs. The glove has internal textile-backed vinyl reinforcement and foam padding across the back of the knuckles, a partially elasticized wrist, and a hook and clasp. A 2-3/4 inch wide piece of textile-backed vinyl is sewn internally across the palm and extends under the palm-side of the thumb.

Style 3263 is made from woven nylon fabric with 1mm of foam bonded to the inner surface and a thinsulate lining. The glove has internal textile-backed vinyl reinforcement and foam padding across the back of the knuckles, a partially elasticized wrist, a strap fastened with a velcro-like closure over a closed center vent and a hook and clasp. A 2-3/4 inch wide piece of textile- backed vinyl is sewn across the palm and palm-side of the thumb.


Whether the articles at issue are classifiable as ski gloves?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (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 threshold question is whether the submitted gloves have been designed for use in skiing and whether they are properly classifiable as "other gloves ... especially designed for use in sports, including ski[ing]", under heading 6216, HTSUSA. Several characteristics deemed indicative of such design were enumerated in Stonewall Trading Company v. United States, 64 Cust. Ct. 482, C.D. 4023 (1970). In Stonewall, the Court held that certain vinyl gloves were classifiable as "other ski equipment" in item 734.97, TSUS, (now provided for in various HTS subheadings) because the gloves were deemed to have been specially designed for use as ski gloves by exhibiting the following:

1) A hook and clasp to hold the gloves together;

2) An extra piece of vinyl stitched along the thumb 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 and inside stitching which is securely stitched across the middle of the glove where the knuckles bend and cause stress;

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.

It is important to recognize that these criteria are not prerequisites mandated of all ski gloves. Rather, they provide a guideline intended to aid in determining whether certain gloves have been designed for use in skiing. These criteria are neither mandatory, nor all-inclusive, and a case by case analysis will be used by Customs in determining whether a glove's design merits classification as a ski glove under heading 6216, HTSUSA. See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 082336, dated November 21, 1988, in which Customs noted, "[t]he fact that the court found certain gloves to be classifiable as other ski equipment cannot be construed as either a limitation or as a blanket approval for
any gloves that possess such [the same] features." We further note that even if a glove were to possess all the features enumerated supra, it would not definitively serve to classify the glove as a ski glove; a glove may possess all these features and still be deemed unacceptable for use as a ski glove.

Upon examination of the submitted samples, it is apparent that the characteristics set forth in Stonewall have only marginally been met by the subject merchandise: both gloves have a hook and clasp, there is an extra piece of padding reinforcement where the knuckles bend, there is an extra piece of vinyl in the thumb portion, and both gloves have cuffs with elasticized gauntlets. All these features are rather insubstantial in nature. The reinforcement sewn to the inside of the glove is internal only and will not protect the woven nylon outershell from abrasion when carrying skis, and neither style of elasticized cuff provides a waterproof barrier sufficiently tight so as to prevent water, snow and ice from entering the glove when skiing.

Our examination of the subject merchandise indicates that while the gloves may technically meet the guidelines set forth in Stonewall, these gloves are nevertheless ill-suited for use in skiing for several reasons. First, the fourchettes, sidewalls and cuffs on style 4796 are constructed from knit acrylic fibers to which snow tends to adhere. This fabric easily absorbs water and allows that water to pass to the hands of the wearer. Obviously, this is not an acceptable characteristic for a ski glove. Second, the cuffs and elasticized wrists on both styles of gloves are not sufficiently tight so as to prevent snow and water from entering the gloves. Third, neither glove has external vinyl reinforcement on the palms to prevent the textile outershell from abrasion. While this is not a prerequisite set forth in Stonewall, it nevertheless goes to the overall suitability of the gloves for use in skiing and indicates that these gloves may have been designed as cold-weather gloves, but not specifically as ski gloves.

The Stonewall Court created a rebuttable presumption that a glove possessing all four of the enumerated characteristics has been designed as a ski glove. Customs may consider other factors which effectively refute this presumption. Such factors may include whether the gloves are functionally practicable for use in skiing, whether the gloves appear suitable for use in skiing, and whether the gloves are marketed as ski gloves. While a glove's appearance, and the manner in which it is marketed, are certainly indicators of classification, it is the glove's suitability for use in skiing that is determinative of whether classification as a ski glove is proper. Even if the Stonewall characteristics have been met, a glove is not classifiable as a ski glove if it is not functionally practicable for use as such.

It is this office's position that neither of the gloves in the instant case are properly classifiable as ski gloves. The gloves are not suitable for use in skiing primarily because they have loose cuffs and, in the case of style 4796, would allow a skier's hands to get wet by virtue of knit fourchettes. In addition, the gloves are not likely to wear well as ski gloves without external vinyl or leather palm reinforcements.

No evidence was submitted which establishes that the gloves at issue are marketed as ski gloves.


Style 4796 is classifiable under subheading 6216.00.3225, HTSUSA, which provides for gloves, mittens and mitts with fourchettes, impregnated, coated or covered with plastics or rubber, subject to man-made fiber restraints. The applicable rate of duty is 14 percent ad valorem and the textile quota category is 631.

Style 3263 is classifiable under subheading 6216.00.5820, HTSUSA, which provides for gloves, mittens and mitts with fourchettes, impregnated, coated or covered with plastics or rubber. The applicable rate of duty is 11 percent ad valorem plus 2.2 cents per kilogram. The textile quota category is 631.

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 your client 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 updated weekly and is available at your local Customs office.

Due to the 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 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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