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NY 804955

December 13, 1994

CLA-2-95:S:N:N8:224 804955


TARIFF NO.: 9506.99.6080

David Porter
Meyer Customs Brokers
8100 Mitchell Road, Suite 200
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

RE: The tariff classification of sport protective gear from China, Taiwan or Thailand.

Dear Mr. Porter:

In your letter dated November 30, 1994, you requested a tariff classification ruling on behalf of Rollerblade, Inc. of Minnetonka, MN.

The merchandise consists of specialized in-line hockey sports equipment worn for protection by the in-line hockey player: a knee/shin guard and a elbow/forearm guard made of man- made material, molded plastic, EVA foam padding and attached to the body by Velcro fasteners.

Classification of goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRIs). 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.

Heading 9506 of the HTSUSA provides for articles and equipment for gymnastics, athletics, other sports or outdoor games, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; swimming pools and wading pools; parts and accessories thereof.

The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN), although not legally binding are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. They state, in pertinent part:

This heading covers:

(B) Requisites for other sports and outdoor games (other than toys presented in sets, or separately of heading 95.03), e.g.:

(13) Protective equipment for sports or games e.g., fencing masks and breast plates, elbow and knee pads, cricket pads, shin-guards.

In this instance, the knee/shin guard and the elbow/forearm guard have the primary function of protecting the wearer from injury during sporting activities and are classifiable in Heading 9506.

Protective gear of the kind here is classified according to the sport the equipment is principally designed for and used in. This equipment is exclusively designed to be worn by a player while playing in-line hockey. It is not the kind of protective pad accessory designed for use by someone engaged in the recreational activity of in-line skating. Thus, it cannot be classified as you claim in subheading 9506.70.20, HTSUSA, which provides for roller skates and parts and accessories thereof.

Since protective equipment for the sport of in-line hockey or, for that matter, street hockey or roller hockey, is not specifically provided for in 9506.99.25, HTSUSA, which covers only equipment for ice-hockey and field-hockey, or anywhere else in the tariff, protective equipment used in these sports must be classified in the residual provision of Heading 9506.

The applicable subheading for the subject knee/shin guard and the elbow/forearm guard will be 9506.99.6080, HTSUSA, which provides for articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports...: other: other: other. The rate of duty will be 4.64 percent ad valorem.

See Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 955201, dated February 25, 1994, where Customs determined that other protective gear, namely goalie pads, used in street hockey was classified in subheading 9506.99.6080, HTSUSA.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Section 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

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.


Jean F. Maguire
Area Director

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