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HQ 958165

January 31, 1996
CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 958165 SK


TARIFF NO.: 6116.93.9400

Stephen Zelman
Stephen Zelman & Associates
845 Third Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10022

RE: Reconsideration of NYRL 807742 (4/6/95); ladies' dress gloves; glove back of suede leather; palms of nylon/spandex with small leather patches; 50.1% leather v. 49.9% textile; no component imparts essential character; GRI 3(c); 6116.93.9400.

Dear Mr. Zelman:

On April 6, 1995, the New York port issued you New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 807742 in which ladies' dress gloves were classified under subheading 6116.93.9400, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). You have petitioned this office for a reconsideration of NYRL 807742 and request reclassification of the subject merchandise under subheading 4203.29.5000, HTSUSA. Our analysis follows.


The ladies' gloves at issue are identified as style number 85822. The palm side of the glove, fourchettes and bottom of the wrist are composed of 81% nylon and 19% spandex knit fabric. The back of the glove, thumb and small thumb patch and palm patch are of pigskin suede leather. The glove features an acrylic lining and a partially elasticized wrist. You submit that the surface area of the glove is 51.1% leather and

49.1% textile. You also state that the value of leather component is 57.8% and the textile component is 42.2%. In NYRL 807742 Customs determined that the essential character of the glove was imparted by the textile component.

ISSUE: What is the proper classification of style 85822?


Classification of merchandise under the 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.

Style 85822 is constructed in such a manner that its palm, fourchettes and bottom of the wrist are made of a synthetic fiber knit textile material and the back of the glove is made from leather. Two headings potentially govern classification of style 85822: heading 4203, HTSUSA, which provides for articles of apparel and clothing accessories, of leather, and heading 6116, HTSUSA, which provides for gloves, mittens and mitts, knitted or crocheted. GRI 3 therefore provides the relevant analysis.

GRI 3(a) states that when goods are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings, classification shall be effected as follows:

"(a) The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods."

In this instance, headings 4203 and 6116, HTSUS, are equally specific in relation to one another. As we cannot classify these goods pursuant to GRI 3(a), we turn to GRI 3(b) which reads:

"(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), 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 (EN) VIII to GRI 3(b) states:

"[T]he factor which determines essential character will vary as between different kinds of goods. It may, for example, be determined by the nature of the material or component, its bulk, quantity, weight or value, or by the role of a constituent material in relation to the use of the goods."

In applying the criteria set forth in EN VIII to GRI 3(b), we find it is not possible to make a definitive essential character determination in this instance. The surface areas covered by both the textile and leather components are approximately equal. Moreover, the cost of the leather component does not significantly exceed that of the textile component. In past rulings, Customs has often analyzed the role of the palm material in relation to the use of the glove in making an essential character determination. See Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRL's) 951752 (9/2/92); 085561 (12/6/89); 083656 (6/6/89); and 956463 (9/8/94). In those rulings the various palm materials imparted the essential character to the subject gloves because such materials were clearly designed to enhance the wearer's "grip" while he or she participated in such activities as snow skiing, jet skiing, golfing and biking. Some of the palms had specialized features such as padding and a nub-like texture in order to enhance grip. The gloves at issue are substantially different. The textile palm is relatively thin and slippery and does not provide any clear grip enhancement. In fact, it is probably the two small leather patches sewn on top of the textile palm that provide the grip for these gloves. We note, however, that the knit fabric palm may provide desirable attributes for the wearer in that it enables a partially leather glove to have a relatively contoured and snug fit. Style 85822's tag refers to this as "comfort fit."

In your submission to this office you direct our attention to HRL 085398, dated September 15, 1989, in which Customs classified similarly designed men's
dress gloves as leather gloves under subheading 4203.29.2000, HTSUSA. You argue that as the essential character in that case was deemed to be imparted by the leather component encompassing the back of the glove, the same conclusion should be reached in this case. We disagree. In HRL 085398 the gloves were made of leather and textile and the value of the leather component was over 400% greater than the textile component. This fact was in large part determinative of the classification of these articles as leather gloves based on GRI 3(b).

It is apparent that both the knit textile portion and the leather portion of style 85822 contribute to the overall appeal and usefulness of the gloves and this office is of the opinion that an essential character determination would be arbitrary in this instance. We therefore proceed to GRI 3(c) in our classification analysis.

GRI 3(c) reads:

"[W]hen goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration."

Heading 6116, HTSUSA, is the governing heading in this instance, as it occurs after heading 4302, HTSUSA, in numerical order.

Please note that while this ruling affirms the holding in NYRL 807742, we do not reach this conclusiuon on the basis of an essential character determination pursuant to GRI 3(b).


NYRL 807742 is affirmed.

Style 85822 is classifiable under subheading 6116.93.9400, HTSUSA, which provides for gloves, mittens and mitts, knitted or crocheted: other: of synthetic fibers: other: other: with fourchettes. The duty rate is 19.6 percent ad valorem. The quota/visa category number is 631.

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 and changes, to obtain the most current information available we suggest that your client 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 a 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, your client should contact the local Customs office prior to importation of this merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant
Tariff Classification Appeals Division

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