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HQ 953629

July 8, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 953629 SK


TARIFF NO.: 6216.00.3225

Coline Han
Qualiwell Products USA Inc.
25028 S. Broadwell Ave.
Harbor City, CA 90710

RE: Classification of gloves; not practicable for use as ski gloves because knit fourchettes and cuffs allow moisture to enter the glove; Stonewall Trading Company v. United States, 64 Cust. Ct. 482, C.D. 4023 (1970); subheading 6216.00.3225, HTSUSA; HRL 951294 (8/28/92).

Dear Ms. Han:

This is in response to your letter of March 15, 1993, in which you request a binding classification ruling for four styles of gloves. Samples were submitted to this office for examination.


The gloves at issue are referenced styles 895WP, 895, 896WP and 896. The gloves are constructed from woven nylon fabric with a 1 mm foam rubber coating on the inner surface. The gloves have acrylic knit fourchettes, sidewalls and cuffs. The lining is made from a knit fabric with Thinsulate and 3mm of foam attached to it. The gloves feature internal textile-backed vinyl reinforcement and foam padding across the back of the knuc kles, partially elasticized wrists, applied knit cuffs and hook and clasp closures. The gloves have a textile-backed vinyl palm and thumb overlaid reinforcement. Styles 895WP and 896WP have an additional thin plastic insert between the liner and the shell.


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.

At issue is whether the gloves the subject of this binding ruling request 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. In Stonewall Trading Company v. United States, 64 Cust. Ct. 482, C.D. 4023 (1970), the Court set forth several characteristics deemed indicative of a ski glove design. In this decision it was determined 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 especially 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.

As this office stated in Headquarters Ruling Letter 951294, dated August 28, 1992, 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 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.

All four samples submitted to this office possess at least three of the characteristics set forth in Stonewall: the gloves have a hook and clasp, there is an extra piece of padding reinforcement where the knuckles bend, and the gloves have cuffs with elasticized gauntlets. Closer scrutiny of the gloves yields the finding that these features are rather insubstantial in nature. The hook and clasp is of a light plastic that unhooks easily, the reinforcement sewn to the inside of the glove is internal only and the elasticized cuffs do not provide a waterproof barrier sufficiently tight so as to prevent water, snow and ice from entering the glove when skiing.

In HRL 951294 this office noted that the second characteristic in Stonewall, which refers to 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, leaves some question as to precisely where along the thumb the vinyl is supposed to be stitched. In the case of the four styles at issue, there is no extra piece of vinyl internally affixed to the thumb of the glove. There is an external vinyl panel that has been affixed to the outside palm-side of the thumb and this covers the thumb crotch (i.e., the right angle created by thumb and forefinger). There is no vinyl reinforcement along the outside top portion of the thumb. The purpose of reinforcement is to ensure that gloves are sufficiently strong and durable so as to withstand the rigors of skiing. The thumb is only slightly bent when gripping a ski pole and as there is little bending of the thumb knuckle, the submitted samples need not possess vinyl reinforcement on the top side of the thumb. Accordingly, the vinyl reinforcement which externally lines only the palm-side of the thumb and the thumb crotch is adequate for use in 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 these styles are constructed from acrylic knit 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 knit cuffs and elasticized wrists on these gloves are not sufficiently tight to prevent snow and water from entering the gloves. For the aforegoing reasons, it is clear that these gloves are not practical for use in skiing.

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. In other words, 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 Customs' opinion that none of the four glove styles submitted are properly classifiable as ski gloves. The gloves are not suitable for use in skiing primarily because they would allow a skier's hands to get wet easily by virtue of knit fourchettes and loose cuffs.


The submitted samples are classifiable under subheading 6216.00.3225, HTSUSA, which provides for gloves, mittens and mitts: impregnated, coated or covered with plastics or rubber: other: with fourchettes... subject to man-made fiber restraints. The applicable rate of duty is 14% ad valorem and 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 you 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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