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HQ 954586


November 1, 1993

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 954586 SK

CATEGORY: CLASSIFICATION

TARIFF: 6116:93:0800; 6116:93:8800

Mark McEwen
A.N. Deringer Inc.
P.O. Box 284
Highgate Springs, VT 05460

RE: Modification of NYRL 885376 (5/18/93); affirmation of NYRL 885375 (5/20/93); fleece cross-country gloves with breathable membrane and adjustable wrist strap classifiable as ski gloves; 6116.93.0800, HTSUSA.

Dear Mr. McEwen:

On May 18 and May 20, 1993, the New York office of the U.S. Customs Service issued you New York Ruling Letters (NYRL's) 885376 and 885375 respectively. Upon review of these rulings, we have determined that NYRL 885376 is in error and NYRL 885375 is affirmed. Our analysis follows.

FACTS:

Two styles, referenced 166 and 166W, were classified in NYRL 885376 under subheading 6116.93.8800, HTSUSA.

Style 023 was classified in NYRL 885375 under subheading 6616.93.8800, HTSUSA.

The shell material for all three styles is knit polyester fleece. The gloves feature a lining, overlaid palm and thumb reinforcement and a hook and clasp. Style 166 and 166W feature an adjustable hook and loop strap wrist tightener and a windproof breathable membrane.

Mr. Gordini, President of Gordini U.S.A. Inc., has provided marketing information to support the assertion that the gloves at issue are marketed for cross-country skiing. Included are several competitor's catalogues which depict fleece cross- country gloves, magazine advertisements that illustrate the use of fleece garments and gloves for skiing and an article in a trade paper which describes gloves with a wind barrier layer as cross-country gloves.

ISSUE:

Whether styles 166, 166W and 023 are classifiable as other knit gloves under subheading 6116.93.8800, HTSUSA, or as ski gloves under subheading 6116.93.0800, HTSUSA?

LAW AND ANALYSIS:

Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes, taken in order. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's.

At issue is whether the gloves the subject of NYRL'S 885376 and 885375 are specially designed for use in sports, including skiing, so as to warrant classification under subheading 6116.93.0800, HTSUSA. Classification as a ski glove mandates that the glove be suitable for such use. In Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 951294, dated August 28, 1992, this office held that when determining whether a glove is classifiable as a ski glove, Customs will consider such factors as whether a glove is "functionally practicable" for such use, whether the glove "appears suitable" for such use, and whether the glove is "marketed as a ski glove."

In the instant case, sufficient evidence has been produced to establish the fact that fleece gloves may indeed be used as ski gloves. Also, all three styles appear suitable for use as ski gloves. With regard to the issue of whether the subject merchandise is functionally practicable for use as ski gloves, we note that style 166 and 166W, the subject of NYRL 885376, appear to be so. These two styles possess a breathable membrane (Windstopper fabric) that is designed to keep hands warm and dry by protecting them from cold winds. Styles 166 and 166W also possess adjustable wrist straps that serve to ensure a snug fit and keep warmth in and snow and water out. Style 023, however, possesses neither the breathable membrane nor the adjustable wrist strap. Without the membrane, the fleece external shell of these gloves does not provide adequate warmth to a skiier who is exposed to the cold for long periods of time. Moreover, the wrist of style 023 has no means by which to prevent water or snow from entering the glove and is thereby unsuitable for use as a ski glove.

It is on this basis that we deem styles 166 and 166W classifiable as ski gloves. Style 023 is not suitable for use as a ski glove and is classifiable as a cold-weather glove.

HOLDING:

NYRL 885376 is modified.

NYRL 885375 is affirmed and classification of style 023 remains at subheading 6116.93.8800, HTSUSA, which provides for "[G]loves, mittens and mitts, knitted or crocheted: other: of synthetic fibers: other: other: without fourchettes," dutiable at a rate of 19.8 percent ad valorem. The textile quota category is 631.

Styles 166 and 166W, originally classified in 885376, are classifiable under subheading 6116.93.0800, HTSUSA, which provides for "[G]loves, mittens and mitts, knitted or crocheted: other: of synthetic fibers: other gloves, mittens and mitts, all the foregoing specially designed for use in sports, including ski and snowmobile gloves, mittens and mitts...," dutiable at a rate of 5.5 percent ad valorem. There is no textile quota category applicable to the subject merchandise at this time.

The designated textile and apparel categories may be subdivided into parts. If so, the 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 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 for inspection 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.

In order to ensure uniformity in Customs' classification of this merchandise and eliminate uncertainty, pursuant to section 177.9(d)(1), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.9(d)(1)), NYRL 885376 is modified to reflect the above classification effective with the date of this letter.

Sincerely,

John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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