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HQ 955869

February 25, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 955869 HP


TARIFF NO.: 9506.99.6080

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

RE: Street hockey equipment. NAFTA preference denied.

Dear Ms. Flynn:

This is further 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. In HRL 955201, we classified this merchandise under the HTSUSA. In addition to a classification decision, you originally requested a U.S.-Canada Free Trade Act eligibility determination for the goalie pads. In your facsimile 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 now be ad- dressed.


Whether the goalie pads qualify for duty preference under the North American Free Trade Agreement?


The NAFTA eliminates tariffs on most goods originating in Canada, Mexico and the United States over a maximum transition period of fifteen years. Generally, tariffs will only be elimi- nated on goods that "originate," as defined in Article 401 of the NAFTA. Article 401 defines "originating" in four ways: (a) goods wholly obtained or produced in the NAFTA region; (b) goods produced in the NAFTA region wholly from originating materials; (c) goods meeting the Annex 401 origin rule; and (d) unassembled goods and goods classified with their parts which do not meet the Annex 401 rule of origin but contain 60% regional value content using the transaction method (50% using the net cost method).

As we described in HRL 955201, the goalie pads are assembled in Canada from a Canadian foam pad and a Chinese outer shell, a "non-originating" good. Accordingly, the pads are not considered originating through methods (a) or (b), supra. Article 401(b) of the NAFTA indicates that goods may "originate" in Canada, Mexico or the United States, even if they contain non-originating materials, if the materials satisfy the rule of origin specified in Annex 401 of the NAFTA. The Annex 401 rules of origin are based on a change in tariff classification, a regional value- content requirement, or both.

Upon importation into Canada, the pad shell is already shaped, stitched, and screen printed with an identifying logo. Once in Canada, it is merely stuffed with the polyurethane foam pad and, we assume, stitched closed. It is our opinion that the shell, at the time of its importation into Canada, is an unfin- ished goalie pad, and would be classified on its own within subheading 9506.99, HTSUSA. Annex 401 states that for a good classifiable in subheadings 9506.40 - 9506.99 to be considered originating, it must undergo a change to those subheadings from any other chapter. Since they do not, and since they are not unassembled goods or goods classified with their parts, the goalie pads are not considered originating. Accordingly, duty preference under the NAFTA is denied.


As a result of the foregoing, the instant merchandise is classified under subheading 9506.99.6080, HTSUSA, as other sports equipment. The applicable general rate of duty is 4.64 percent ad valorem.

This ruling letter is being issued pursuant to section 181, Subpart I, of the Customs Regulations, 19 C.F.R. 181.

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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