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HQ 955201

February 25, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955201 HP


TARIFF NO.: 6216.00.4600; 9506.99.6080

Ms. Pat Flynn
Senior Consultant
Tower Group International, Inc.
128 Dearborn Street
Buffalo, New York 14207-3198

RE: Street hockey equipment.

Dear Ms. Flynn:

This is in reply to your letter of September 9, 1993. That letter concerned the tariff classification, under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), of street hockey equipment, produced in China and Canada. Please reference your client FRIKON of Mississauga, Ontario.


The merchandise at issue consists of street hockey sports equipment: goalie pads, goalie blocker pads (gloves with pad) made of either nylon or a nylon/leather combination, and goalie trappers (gloves) also made of either nylon or a nylon/leather combination. The trappers and blockers are fully manufactured in China by Cortina International. All merchandise will be imported through the ports of Buffalo, Detroit and Champlain.

The goalie pads are constructed of an outer nylon shell manufactured in China and a foam pad manufactured in Canada. The outer nylon shell, manufactured by Cortina International, is imported into Canada in a finished state; it has been stitched and screened and is otherwise ready to be combined with the Canadian-made foam pad component. This joining process consists of stuffing the nylon shell with the foam insert and presumably applying a closing stitch. The finished goalie pad, as well as the remaining items, are separately packaged in polybags and sealed with header cards.

In addition to a classification decision, you originally requested a U.S.-Canada Free Trade Act eligibility determination for the goalie pads. In your facsimilie dated January 18, 1994, you changed this request to an eligibility determination under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The NAFTA eligibility determination will be addressed in a separate correspondence.

The outer nylon shell of the goalie pads is valued at US$1.65. The foam pad is valued at US$1.03. Canadian administrative overhead costs associated with the construction and packaging of the pad is US$3.30. In your January 18, 1994, communication, you further defined "Canadian administrative overhead costs" as:

Factory Costs
- machinery depn & mtce $0.05
- storage costs $0.10
- receiving $0.05 $0.20
General & Admin Costs
- management @ production facility $0.03
- benefits (not included in direct labour) $0.01 - building depn & mortgage interest $0.10 - utilities $0.03
- insurance $0.01 $0.18 $0.38


Whether the street hockey equipment is considered hockey equipment or merely sports equipment?


Blocker Pads & Trappers

Heading 9506, HTSUSA, provides for articles, equipment and accessories for sports. The General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs) to the HTSUSA govern the classification of goods in the tariff schedule. GRI 1 states, in pertinent part, that such "classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. . . ." Goods which cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 are to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRIs, taken in order. Note 1(u) to Chapter 95, HTSUSA, states that the chapter does not cover, inter alia, gloves. The blocker and trapper must therefore be classified according to their constituent materials.

100% Nylon Blocker Pads & Trappers

Heading 6216, HTSUSA, provides for gloves, mittens and mitts of textile materials. Within this heading, statistical breakouts exist for "ice hockey and field hockey gloves" and "other gloves ... specially designed for use in sports." The former provision is, in our opinion, not applicable. Subheading 6216.00.4300, HTSUSA, is clearly an eo nomine provision. "An eo nomine designation is one which describes a commodity by a specific name, usually one well known to commerce." 2 R. Sturm, Customs Law and Administration 53.2 (3rd ed. 1990). The merchandise at issue, street hockey equipment, is not specifically named in the tariff provision. Compare this provision with, i.e., 6211.32.0030, HTSUSA (washsuits, sunsuits, one-piece playsuits and similar apparel). In addition, by carrying the "ice hockey and field hockey" language over from the previous tariff schedule (734.80, TSUS), Congress specified their intent to continue the practice of classifying only ice and field hockey equipment within the eo nomine provision. Accordingly, the merchandise is classifiable as other man-made fiber gloves specifically designed for sports.

Nylon/Leather Blocker Pads & Trappers

The palm and the front of the thumb of the blocker pad is constructed of leather. The palm and the inner portion of the webbing of the trapper is similarly constructed. GRI 3 states, in pertinent part:

When by application of Rule 2(b) [goods of more than one material or substance] or for any other reason, goods are, prima facie, classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) [which requires that goods be classified, if possible, under the more specific of the competing provisions], shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

Explanatory Note (IX) to GRI 3 provides:

For the purposes of [GRI 3(b)], composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted to one another and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

[C]lassification [of composite goods] is made according to the component, or components taken together, which can be regarded as conferring on the set as a whole its essential character.
The factors which determine essential character of an article will vary from case to case. It may be the nature of the materials or the components, its bulk, quantity, weight, value, or the role a material plays in relation to the use of the goods. In general, essential character has been construed to mean the attribute which strongly marks or serves to distinguish what an article is; that which is indispensable to the structure or condition of an article. In this case, it is clear that the nylon portions of the blocker and trapper imparts the essential character. The hard blocking portion, attached to the back of the glove, is what makes the blocker what it is. The nylon in the trapper forms the shape of the article. In both cases, the leather merely imparts a degree of softness to the gloves. Accordingly, as with the above-discussed 100% nylon gloves, the merchandise is classifiable as other man-made fiber gloves specifically designed for sports.

Goalie Pads

Heading 9506, HTSUSA, provides for articles, equipment and accessories for sports. Since no exclusionary legal note exists for this merchandise, it is appropriately classifiable herein.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified as follows:

100% Nylon Blocker Pads & Trappers and Nylon/Leather Blocker Pads & Trappers

... under subheading 6216.00.4600, HTSUSA, as other gloves of man-made fibers, specially designed for use in sports. If this merchandise is considered an originating good under the North American Free Trade Agreement, the applicable rate of duty is 2.2 percent ad valorem; otherwise, the general rate of duty is 5.5 percent ad valorem.

Goalie Pads

... under subheading 9506.99.6080, HTSUSA, as other sports equipment.

A copy of this ruling letter should be attached to the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If the documents have been filed without a copy, this ruling should be brought to the attention of the Customs officer handling the transaction.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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