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HQ 959589

November 17, 1997

CLA-2 RR:CR:GC 959589 ALS


TARIFF NO.: 9506.99.6080

Port Director of Customs
U.S. Customs Service
110 S. Fourth
Room 154
Minneapolis, MN 55401

RE: Request for further Review of Protest No. 3501-96-100082, dated February 29, 1996, Concerning Protective Gear for Use in the Sport of In-line Skating

Dear Mr. Gonzalez:

This ruling is on a protest that was filed against your decisions of December 8, 1995, concerning 2 entries for the subject items.


The articles under consideration are 2 junior protective pad sets for use in in-line skating. One is described as being packaged in a clamshell and the other as being packaged in a polybag. The importer has indicated that these items are the same as protective gear it previously imported which was classified in subheading 9506.70.2090, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA) as accessories for in-line skates. The importer notes that it has relied on New York Ruling Letter (NYRL) 895546 of March 28, 1994, in purchasing and marketing this merchandise.


What is the classification of protective gear for use in the sport of in-line skating?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) taken in order. GRI 1 provides that the classification is determined first in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section and chapter notes. If GRI 1 fails to classify the goods and if the headings and legal notes do not otherwise require, the remaining GRI's are applied, taken in order.

In considering this matter we note that the merchandise covered by this protest is the same or similar to merchandise previously ruled upon by this Office. Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 958924, dated June 20, 1996, to that importer held that its wrist guards protective gear were classifiable in subheading 9506.99.6080, HTSUSA. In HRL 958456, dated April 8, 1996, to the protestant, we noted that protective gear was not an accessory to in-line skates. In that ruling we noted the existence of a ruling on the subject, NYRL 812428, dated July 19, 1995, which held that in-line skating protective gear was classifiable in subheading 9506.99.6080, HTSUSA. That ruling was in conflict with NYRL 894546, dated March 28, 1994, on which the importer stated it relied.

We reviewed these conflicting rulings and other rulings which held that protective gear was classifiable in subheading 9506.70.2090, HTSUSA, as accessories to in-line skates. Based on our analysis of these ruling and our previously noted conclusion that this merchandise was properly classifiable in subheading 9506.99.6080, HTSUSA, we modified the rulings not in agreement with that conclusion. A modification notice was published pursuant to section 625(c)(1), Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1625(c)(1)), as amended by section 623 of Title VI (Customs Modernization) of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Pub. L. 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057). That notice was published September 18, 1996, in the CUSTOMS BULLETIN, Volume 30, Number 37/38.

The importer has not provided any information or documentation which would indicate that the conclusion in that notice was incorrect or otherwise inapplicable to it merchandise. Rather, it claims that it detrimentally relied on the aforementioned NYRL 894546 and that it should be given relief from the increase in duties pursuant to section 177.9(d)(3), Customs Regulations,) (19 CFR 177.9(d)(3)). While such stated reliance is not a protestable matter, we have, based on this and other correspondence and documentation with the importer, advised it that we would separately consider its request for relief based on detrimental reliance. That matter was separately considered and the importer notified of our decision regarding its claim.


Protective gear for use in the sport of in-line skating is classifiable in subheading 9506.99.6080, HTSUSA, and was subject to a general rate of duty of 4.5 percent ad valorem at the time of entry (currently 4.3 percent ad valorem).

Since the classification indicated above is the same as the classification under which the entries were liquidated, you are instructed to deny the protest in full. However, based on a claim of detrimental reliance filed concurrently with the protest, pursuant to section 177.9(d)(3), Customs Regulations (19 CFR 177.9(d)(3)), and relating to the same entries as covered by the protest, we have concluded that those entries should be reliquidated fully favorable to the importer. A copy of our letter to the customs broker regarding this matter is enclosed.

A copy of this decision should be attached to the Customs Form 19 and provided to the protestant as part of the notice of action on the protest.

In accordance with Section 3A(11)(b) of Customs Directive 099 3553-065, dated August 4, 1993, Subject: Revised Protest Directive, this decision should be provided by your office to the protestant no later than 60 days from the date of this letter. Any reliquidation of the entries in accordance with this decision must be accomplished prior to the mailing of the decision. Sixty days from the date of the decision the Office of Regulations and Rulings will take steps to make the decision available to Customs personnel via the Customs Rulings module in ACS and the public via the Diskette Subscription Service, Freedom of Information Act and other public access channels.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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